Todd McFarlane has said a successful reboot of the Spawn film could lead to the development of a full cinematic universe. McFarlane created Spawn, a lethal antihero resurrected from Hell, in 1992, and the character has enjoyed niched stardom at the center of heroics and horror. Spawn‘s comic book series is still active, and he’s appeared in numerous crossovers as well.
Studios gave Spawn its first crack at the big screen in 1997, but the film was a critical flop with middling financial results. A Spawn animated series that was truer to the comics had an Emmy-winning run on HBO, and the demonic assassin appeared as a guest character in Mortal Kombat 11. A reboot film with Jamie Foxx in the lead as Spawn recently landed a group of talented writers, including Scott Silver of Joker and Malcolm Spellman, creator of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The new Spawn does not have a release date, and its official title is still unknown, but expectations are high.
Speaking to CBR at the 2022 New York Comic Con, McFarlane explained that Hollywood’s tendency to turn well-received comic films into franchises could play to Spawn‘s benefit. A cinematic universe led by Spawn would be populated with characters from Image Comics, with whom McFarlane has collaborated with for decades. Read his full comments on the possibility of a Spawn movie universe below:
Image Comics and the Spawn comic book are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. So, I’ve got well over 300 characters in my universe. Again, they’re not all equal to Spawn, but they exist. Do I think there’s a way to branch out from Spawn into the Spawn Universe? Yes.
The expansion has begun with my characters and is there a natural progression that could go on into Hollywood, the answer is yes… as long as we can launch Spawn out of the gate to start with.
Can A Spawn Cinematic Universe Succeed?
With the massive success of R-rated comic book films like Joker and Logan, there is a clear demand for gory superhero movies. Marvel’s swearing, gun-toting Deadpool remains immensely popular, with a third franchise film in development. DC has also orchestrated a tone shift, as Matt Reeves’ The Batman was heralded for its darker, more sinister approach to hero films. Spawn, loaded with Satanic elements like a grisly ascent from Hell, could be an equally effective vessel for developing a more adult-orientated, blockbuster franchise. The original Spawn film was forcibly watered down to PG-13, but given studios’ new propensity for the R-rated hero, it’s likely the Spawn reboot, and any subsequent films it generates will have the same darker, more violent tone seen in the comics.
Additionally, Spawn, real name Al Simmons, is a Black character in a lead role that will be symbolic of the larger, justified shift towards inclusivity in films. The Spawn comics are also cognizant of Simmons’ lived experiences as a Black man, and analyzing the power structures connected to race are part of the character’s overarching narrative. An extended Spawn universe could further the inroads for Black heroes and serve as an important continuation of films that get audiences to think critically about race.