‘Spawn’ Reboot Details from Todd McFarlane

The creator of this supernatural comic series calls ‘Spawn’ the ‘Jaws’ of superhero films.

Todd McFarlane talks Spawn reboot
Todd McFarlane talks Spawn reboot
1997's Spawn was a decent film that still has its fans, but it never registered upon its initial release, and New Line Cinema never moved forward on a proposed sequel after lackluster VHS and DVD sales. Todd McFarlane, creator of the supernatural comic book upon which Spawn is based, has plans to bring the character back to the big screen with an Untitled Spawn Reboot. And for the first time, he has come forward to talk about his plans for the upcoming cinematic reintroduction of this popular superhero of sorts.

McFarlane, who is writing the screenplay, hopes to make a dark, low budget action film, and compares his vision to Alien and Jaws.

Here is what Todd had to say:

"One of the things that happened is after the first movie came out I started the toy company and sort of got distracted. But these days, as you might imagine, with the [Hollywood] success of Batman and Spider-Man and some of the Marvel titles, everybody's on a comic-book buying binge and the phone constantly rings. My attitude toward it is I can't get my head wrapped around some big special-effects movie with a supervillain in there. There will be plenty of those and they've done pretty well. I've always seen Spawn as being cut from a different cloth. It's more of an urban, psychological story that's being told. The answer I've given the last few years is that Spawn should be a small-budget movie in which the only thing that's out of the ordinary is this thing that intellectually we know as Spawn and there would only be a handful of people that see it. I call it "it" because it never talks, it's just a force of nature. Really, the story revolves around the people who are trying to decide: "Is the ghost alive? Is the shadow actually moving?" When I give that pitch, some of the executives scratch their heads. To a lot of people, a movie where the [title] character doesn't talk doesn't make any sense. There have been a few movies like that. "Alien," you know, that guy didn't say much. Or " Jaws," the shark didn't have too many speaking lines. "Jaws" is the closest example, the movie wasn't about the shark, it's about the people chasing the shark."

McFarlane went onto talk about the film he is currently trying to get made:

"The idea I pitch is that the movie shouldn't be about superheroes and laser beams - it's about the id of people and the group of people caught up in the story and seeing things out of the corner of their eye. And when I give the pitch, I also say that I will write and direct it. There's the nonnegotiable pieces of it. Then I have four suitors who say, "Yeah, cool, when do we start?" It means we're not looking for a $20-million actor and we're not looking for a big-budget extravaganza with lots of special effects. The story that I pitch is very tight, very contained, but done right. I want a movie that gets people's hearts racing. I want to scare them. Spawn, done right, is a creepy character. Instead of a superhero who just stands there. That's why Batman was always the coolest of all the good guys. I never had one moment of affinity for [Superman]. He was a Boy Scout right from the moment he hit the ground. He was always polite and said the right thing. I never felt like he was in danger because he could spin planets on his finger. Batman is a guy who could die if you threw him out of a window. More than that, even though he had women throwing themselves at him and millions of dollars, all he wanted to do was to wait until 3 a.m. and the pitch of black and say, "time to put the costume on and scare the bad guys." I relate way more to that guy. Spawn is Batman untethered, without the corporation behind it. Batman without limits, Batman who kills the Joker."

To read more with Todd McFarlane, Click Here!

Spawn was released August 1st, 1997 and stars Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle, Nicol Williamson, D.B. Sweeney, Melinda Clarke, Miko Hughes. The film is directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé.

Untitled Spawn Reboot was released in 2013.

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Comments (68)

  1. the Narrator

    Lol, gratz @incmob, but the Rorschach comparison was actually @Supes'. Overall, I think fans like us (with our heads out of our ass), and the ability to see the clearer should definitely let our voice be heard, and put our ideas to good use.

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  2. Dan

    It has the word "c*m" in it :P

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  3. incmob

    lol... funny... MW edited circ*mstance

    4 years agoby @incmobFlag

  4. incmob

    @Narrator... great comparisons to three great films! its interesting the relation you give Rorschach and spawn... in watchmen, i really did care for Rorschach at the end of the film, of course i thought it was a very strong performance from JEH that helped it as well, but your exactly right about how it should not be a sam and twitch film with spawn being the secondary character, almost the story being seen through his eyes without much depth from him at all... if this is indeed what mcfarlane still plans to do with the story... then he has already failed.

    superman raised on a farm by great people gave him the purpose to do good, batman feels by tragedy this is what he needs to do so this doesnt happen to others, spider man loses his uncle, and takes to heart the last piece of advice his uncle will ever give... the list goes on that superheros have been directed, molded by circ*mstances to make the right decisions in their lives based on who they are, and the people around them that ultimately creates that choice for them, by chance.

    then there is spawn... who ultimately becomes what he is by the person he once was... the choice was his when he could have made other choices. he makes the choice of being spawn by his own selfishness, and needs to have the time to blossom into something great, i really felt they captured that in the comic, as well as the cartoon, but the film never gave that sense to me.


    4 years agoby @incmobFlag

  5. the Narrator

    Definitely agreed fellas. Sh*t, the ideas are pouring out of you guys, eh?

    @Supes, definitely prefer a psychologically tormenting and dark hell, versus the usual lake of fire. It just hits us harder, and leaves room for originality, and as you mentioned keeps the cheese away. Also, fan-f*cking-tastic idea; letting the city and such be a villain in and of itself is definitely the right way to go.

    @incmob, I agree, a 6 hour epic trilogy would indeed be perfect for the character. Don't rush the tribulations of Spawn, or his redemption, etc. Instead, start off with him being a character we nary care for or hate, but through his ordeals have him grow emotionally and mature into the true anti-hero he can be. That way, by trilogies end, we have the audience caring for him as much as we did Rorschach at the end of Watchmen (amazing scene, btw). Also, I think a Sam and Twitch side-story would definitely benefit the film, and give audiences a breather from all the hard core/disturbing scenes that Spawn may appear in. It's like we see the crime, and follow up on them right away, ala The Town. Or even better, we see the Spawns encounters with enemies, and such, and it's just intense and terrifying, and we cut to a scene in which Sam and Twitch are following up on it, ala The Dark Knight, with the Jokers scenes being radial and chaotic, and the other scenes flowing and giving us room to breath.

    Also, I don't know how McFarlane plans to keep Spawn a hidden figure or whatever, so I'm not quite sure how much emotion, etc, we'll really get from him. I think he needs to make a compromise with his ideas and what fans like us want, because we can't just focus on Sam and Twith the entire time, with the film being titled Spawn. Ya know? It's an original idea, but it won't be as satisfying ,nor will it draw the crowds. Another reason the film needs a co-writer/director like Del Toro and such helping this possible franchise. They really will need to sell the film well to get in cash.

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  6. Dan

    @incmob Think along the lines of Candyman, but with today's film making capabilities. Candyman was great because it messed with your wits intellectually, and its use of Chicago's Cabrini Green projects area for its setting (which doesn't exist anymore, it has since been torn down) is exactly how I imagine Al's world to be.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  7. incmob

    abso-f*cking-lutely @supes... the psychological aspect of hell is far more interesting then brimstone and fire, which makes for a great world for the comic but comes off cheezy in cinema. The torment of Al in hell being fed the memories of all the horror he has done, the type of man that he was... bring that back to the fold when he is resurrected as the hellspawn, give him that selfishness, the creature that does not care, only looking out for discovering the truth finding the mystery, the anti hero, the hero you dont know whether to love or hate, build it on a trilogy arc... i think the first film tried that... but by the third act of a 90 minute movie spawn was saying "lets go kick some motherf*ckers asses old man"... no build up, not redemption or tragedy, i could care less if violator tore him apart at that point, because the mystery wasnt there... and on top of all of my jibberjabber...lol... have two stories in one, spawn trying to figure out who in the hell he is, why he is here, and what has he done, while having a story within a story, and let mcfarlane write his sam and twitch in... (i always pictured goodman as sam... twitch... well maybe william H. macy.) with their own storyline, have the ending just a to be continued, stretch it out as one big 6 hour epic series with three films where the final confrontation is at the third arc of the story, but have easter eggs thrown in throughout the other two if that makes any sense. what captured me with spawn, and yes i bought the first comic the first month of its release was the build, the character development, and the against like odds that mcfarlane had come up with this dark behemoth of madness that was not real acceptable for a comic. this might even be a more tortured soul than batman or hulk, the choices he made created the path that he was forced to follow.

    I TOTALLY AGREE @supes... you so get it... the alley, the environment... that is one of the most essential characters of the comics... from colorful suburbs, to wet, decrepit run down alley ways, that every shadow moves yet nothing is there... the abyss of hells torment, smoky filled apartments with blinds slicing light through the haze... it is all what encompasses the lore, and thanks for bringing that up as well...

    4 years agoby @incmobFlag

  8. Dan

    Also, to further expound on my thoughts for how they should make Hell look, they could take a page from Dante's Inferno. If you guys have read that, you know that it is incredibly detailed with its descriptions of the horrors of the abyss. I want something similar like that. I remember reading the book and thinking the entire time "yep, this is why I DON'T want to go there".

    For city locations, do it on location either New Orleans or Detroit, or mix of both, and shoot it in some of the most drab, decrepit areas you can find to capture Spawn's dark world. Make the movie so choked in darkness that Spawn's environment also feels like a villain.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  9. Dan

    @incmob Thanks, man. I appreciate that.

    For the reasons the 3 of us have outlined, I think it is agreed upon that Snyder wouldn't be a good fit. My biggest reason for pushing Del Toro is his creature designs. Hellboy/Hellboy 2 could have been incredibly cheesy, and to some extent, they are (unavoidable when your protagonist is a big red devil dude), but they have wicked cool monsters and characters in them, and the casts acted accordingly to the material. Likewise with Pan's Labyrinth.@incmob is right when he says McFarlane's ideas alone are not enough. Would any of the three of us see it if it was solely him? Most likely, but our 3 measly tickets won't turn a profit for Spawn, which by all accounts is franchise worthy.

    What I would like to see is a rendition of Hell that isn't so grandstanding as seen in the first film, but something more psychologically intense. You can get away with a set featuring tortured souls hanging from black trees, crying out why they shouldn't be there, hands coming from the ground trying to pull Spawn down with them, and go light on the hellfire segments, and scare the sh*t out of people. Half the fun of the movie for me would be to see the film maker's take on Hell (it is a morbid fascination of mine). Then as we discussed, when Spawn is back in the mortal world, have him piecing things together Rorschachian style, on
    trying to figure out everything, leading up to a non-cheesy confrontation with whatever villain they go with (no John Leguizamo antics, either. While he made me laugh a couple times, he totally ruined the seriousness that should have been in something as dark as Spawn. This isn't "play time", Spawn's world is no joke).

    I know that sounds similar to the first movie, but I'm envisioning it without the dumb humor and corny "Wanda!!!!!!", and today's special effects, on a District 9 budget.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  10. incmob

    @narrator... i always appreciate what you and @supes have to say as well, and no matter what it is nice to be on forums where we might agree to disagree but can have respect for each others opinions as well. Shame to say i have not see children of men... however is now on my queue on netflix thanks to your enthusiasm, as far as azkaban, although it was the beginning of the franchise for going for a more darker and adult approach, but i have steadily liked each installment more than the last.

    as far as snyder, i cant agree more, that i dont think he should or would direct. i think snyder although he is becoming a great contender for mostly making superhero movies, has always made films or projects that he has alot of love for. and stylistic i think that he has a much different approach then what is needed for a first spawn reboot, especially... again the way mcfarlane wants the direction to go. Personally if he wants a good blueprint the cartoon would be the perfect thing to mimic. But snyder could possibly go lower budget, some filmakers flip do big budget then a film that is smaller in scale, even some actors capture an oscar for a perfomance then flip and do the biggest pile of garbage of their careers (think halle berry and charlize theron...lol). In all reality though my opinion is this without some credibility... high profile actors, or director, that this film will only be sold on the product name alone, and that may not be enough bring it to audiences. spawn is well known to comic fans primarily and lets face it, if it doesnt make money then the franchise that was will be dead in the water, if it doesnt make at least its budget back, it is a flop, and has no future. again i come back that if mcfarlane is only trying to sell the product alone, then this is where this will fail. bringing in a high profile director with someone like del toro's caliber much more attention would be brought to the film as well, because he has a huge fanbase, and reputation for delivering the goods, and helping you escape this world and embrace the one that he creates for his audience.

    4 years agoby @incmobFlag

  11. Dan

    See? Peeps running with the Del Toro idea :)

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  12. Everton

    Guillermo del Toro could make one outstanding film with Spawn, I love Hellboy 1 & 2 and I think if he's allowed to make a real horror 18+ film del Toro could get it right, I love Pan's Labrynth and the Orphanage is amazing, even without del Toro this has potential to great.

    4 years agoby @macca-paul-87Flag

  13. Dan

    @Luthor Pretty cool, man.

    @Narrator Cuaron could work as well. While I didn't feel Azkaban was the strongest Potter entry (I give that distinction to Goblet, but only cuz I love action, and it had dragons, come on, you can't f*ck with that), he definitely has the right stuff as well. I've always felt that Spawn should get a do over, for being such a different, cool character, and any of the names we threw out there would work.

    To the guy that whined about us talking too much Blade... hey, they're both black superheroes, those are a rarity it seems, so in a way their connected :P

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  14. The Real Lex Luthor

    I enjoyed all 3 blade movies even own a replica of the sword of the day walker! :)

    4 years agoby @thajackalFlag

  15. Cyn

    The first Blade was good, the second was pretty good and the third was only watchable for Ryan Reynolds abs...

    I did enjoy Spawn - at least what I can remember of it, its been a while.

    4 years agoby @cyn-de-harvenFlag

  16. the Narrator

    @incomb and @Supes, I can't say how good it is to have a healthy logical discussion with no trolls and sheep getting in the way. Props to you guys. I too must say that I found Blade 2 superior in every way, except it's ultimatum, to Blade 1. Hellluva lot funner, and the ending scene, as Supes mentioned, where Blade takes the chick out onto the roof to see the sun for the first time/die... beyond epic. As for the previous director comments, I couldn't agree more. Del Toro and Proyas are more than logical choices. Both have done films with decent sized low budgets, both have mad creativity, and both seem to bring forth a dark aura to their films. As for Snyder directing, he simply could not do low-budget after his past few films, which have all had over a hundred mil, plus he's doing Superman. Lol. Do you think he'll do superman, with a say, $200 mil budget, and then revert back to a District 9 budgeted Spawn? Lol. So yeah, agreed again.

    @Josh, to reiterate what Incomb said, a lot of people are douches in the industry. I make it a point not to bring one's personal life onto the critiquing table. Some people say Heath didn't deserve the Oscar for The Joker, since he was using drugs. I say f*ck that. He played a mind blowing role ,and deserved the win. Hell, all of Hollywood's been guilty of almost the same thing. Some say Bale is an over-rated douche. So what?! He had a temper tantrum towards an idiot crew member in over a hundred degree weather. Doesn't make him any less of an actor. I may not care for McFarlane that much, but I have to respect his creation of Spawn. However, I do thank you for pointing out that fact to me, since I was unaware at the time.

    Back to @Supes and @incomb, another good director pick would be Alfonso Cuaron. While I've been wanting him to do a number of projects lately (my pick for Bioshock) I feel he would do great with this opportunity. He had a rather appropriate budget with The Prisoner of Azkaban, and many fans would say that was the best adapted book in the series, and one of the most entertaining. Then he did Children of Men a very subtle but epic film, that I almost can't get enough of. He did that with a relatively small budget, being less than your average blockbuster. The atmosphere and cinematography in the film was great, the scope managed to stay grand with such a small number of characters, etc. I think with the proper balance of the approach he took to those films, with Todd's material, he could bake for a fine adaption.

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  17. bud2fresh

    Well this Spawned some interesting comments lol sorry I couldn't resist.

    4 years agoby @bud2freshFlag

  18. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    HOLY SHIZZZ, with that last paragraph I'm SOLD!!!!

    4 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  19. Justhim_sir

    A lot of you guys talked about blade more then the spawn news it seem, spawn in pretty much all of our eyes should have been rated R and should have been more character driven. The director should have dug into the backstory before putting Micheal into the suit since it was a superhero that not many hear before, but anyway the idea if done right could be rememberable if not then he should look into anime feature.

    To the blade comments the first was great of course, the second was ok (imo), the third just plan sucked. Yes Westly did a good job with the charactor but I feel they should do a young blade within his 20's, an actor that could do marshal arts and seem intimidating, also haven't really seen.
    back to the spawn thing I really hope it looks good and do well to have sequels and a household name.

    4 years agoby @justhim-sirFlag

  20. WongFu

    If Del Toro worked on this then I'll be a happy camper.

    4 years agoby @instead8909Flag

  21. Dan

    Camp *fests*.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  22. Dan

    And for those that would argue my logic with actors being associated with roles, such as Tobey with Spider-Man (something I argued in my own head as I typed my statement lol), I only really felt happy with him in Spidey 2. The first and third were camp rests for me, and mostly forgettable. So in my mind he only had one solid turn as Spider-Man, and even then, when he makes that hideous grimace of his as he slows the train down, I still cringe :P I know it'd be hard to look good stopping a NYC train like that, but damn... lol

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  23. Dan

    @incmob Oh, most certainly. There are some characters and actors that are just symbiotic of one another. You don't f*ck with them by trying to replace them, that is blasphemy. No, if you wish to use the character, then use the actor/actress that we associate with that role, or don't do it at all and come up with a new idea.

    Having said that, though, Spawn has only had one live action film (that I know of), and while I like Michael Jai White, I think he's a bad ass for sho, I don't necessarily correlate or believe through a single movie that he can be the only Spawn. It was a mediocre movie at best. You know what I mean with the differences?

    And Snipes wouldn't put or allow any gay tattoos, he's too cool a cat for that sh*t, man :P

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  24. incmob

    @supes... lol... hopefully no tattoos of "i love mom" or "vito was here" i think that would totally distract me from snipes slipping back in the blade role.

    Goyer is a great writer, no doubt about it. in fact i thought the invisible was really well done and personally i enjoyed that film which was only his second film to direct, so yes i have forgiven him as well, and like you said his heart was in the right place with blade III, and i really wanted to like it, certainly i dont feel because of that they should reboot it though. i think snipes owns blade, like ford owns indy, like bridges owns lebowski, and would not feel the slightest hopelessness if goyer returned to write it, i think every writer has their one turd in the bunch, and that might have been goyer's.

    4 years agoby @incmobFlag

  25. ejk1

    Never read the comic, loved the HBO Animated series, hated the movie. Whatever they decide to do in the future will more than likely be not getting my money, but when it comes on cable, I might check it out.

    As for McFarlane, I feel sorry for the guy. He spent three million bucks on a worthless baseball(Mark McGuire's 70th home run ball from '98, I believe). That's just gotta sting.

    4 years agoby @ejk1Flag

  26. Dan

    @incmob I believe Goyer's heart was in the right place, he just wasn't the man for directing duties. I've forgiven him since, and still have mad respect for the man's writing abilities, though.

    I'm not against another Blade movie with Snipes again in the future, either. I know he's doing time right now, but when he gets out, I think that'd be a cool role to come back to. Maybe show off some 'real' tattoos lol.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  27. incmob

    @supes... could not have said it better myself. and i totally agree with blade II, that the ending was fitting for who blade is... what he stands for, it was a statement that he is alone, and will always be alone, except for whistler of course, that is when i truly became a del toro fan. blade 3 was just a heaping pile of steam covered poo. It felt forced, and as far as biel and reynolds, i think david goyer was trying to find a formula that was similiar and worked for blade II. it didnt work for me. I tried watching it again a couple of weeks ago and i couldnt even make it through half way. And THAT my friend is a perfect example as to why mcfarlane should not direct spawn... goyer as great a writer and conceptualist as he is, blade III was his first foray into directing and f*cked it up. what could have been a great trilogy or a continued great franchise, goyer got too caught up in it and should have let someone else do the dirty work... although i am not even sure how the script got greenlit.

    Personally though i could care less whether or not todd mcfarlane is a dickhe*d @josh, although your opinion is noted... chevy chase is apparently a pompous ass as well (i actually have heard this personally from a guy locally that used to deliver scripts to actors in hollywood, as well as countless forums online... john candy however was a very warm guy from what he said) ... but i personally think that caddyshack, nationals lampoons vacation, three amigos, and fletch are great comedies that are classics by todays standards, and michael bay... look at his reputation for ego however most of his films have all been box office hits and actors still work with him. so my point is that nobody is not going to work with mcfarlane if the property is something that will make money, and is viable for a studio to pick up the costs. mcfarlane is a business man... maybe shrude... but a businessman nonetheless, and if it is worthy of being made, and is worth seeing... mcfarlane may still be a dickhe*d... but spawn may be a great cinematic experience.

    4 years agoby @incmobFlag

  28. Dan

    There are 3 types of people in this world. Dicks, pussies, and *ssholes. Pussies think that everyone should get along, and *ssholes sh*t all over everything. Then you got your dicks. Sometimes pussies get mad at dicks, because pussies get f*cked by dicks. But dicks also f*ck *ssholes, and if they didn't f*ck them, then you'd get your dick and p*ssy all covered in sh*t!

    Explains why I prefer a dickhe*d over a p*ssy or *sshole.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  29. Josh

    Spawn is badass. But the man is actually a terrible person. Ask anyone who has met him at conventions. He's a huge dick to fans, he notoriously considers himself God's gift to the industry to which he's done in reality more harm than good, and he's a pompous primadonna who has started and maintained a ridiculous lawsuit with Neil Gaiman, one of the nicest and most important genre writers of this generation.

    Yes. Todd McFarlane is a dickhe*d.

    4 years agoby @shuabertFlag

  30. Dan

    @incmob I also felt Blade II was better than the original. SFX-wise, story, everything felt like an upgrade to me. It was rated R goodness, back when our heroes killed vampires, not f*ck them. I even liked how the vampire chick that Blade liked in it died, I thought it was the better move then some corny, romantic ending. It was still a tad sentimental with how he carried her outside, but certainly tolerable and respectable. Just a solid, fun movie all around, one of my favorite Del Toro flicks. Too bad part 3 was weak sauce, even with Reynolds and Biel. Blade didn't need sidekicks, that never sat well with me. But it did show off Reynolds in a big way, which prob influenced his landing Deadpool and Green Lantern.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

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