Marvel and DC may have the market covered for superhero movies, but once in a while fans demand something a little different, and they get treated to something from another company. For Image Comics, Spawn is no doubt their most iconic and famous character and he’s still leading his own comic series after nearly two decades. With that said, his theatrical debut in 1997 was not well received, and that’s putting it mildly. There’s some good news for Spawn fans as the Hellspawn is finally getting his chance at redemption in Hollywood.
It was announced back at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con that Blumhouse Productions were finally moving forward with their Spawn reboot. Since this announcement, we’ve learned some details on how the movie will stand out against the original Spawn movie from so long ago. With that said, here’s a look at what we know about the new Span movie so far.
When Will Spawn be Released?
There isn’t an official release date for the Spawn movie yet, but it looks like it shouldn’t take too much longer to see it. Before the main star was cast for the reboot, it was reported production would begin in August. Now that we’ve found out who our leading man is (more on that later!) it looks like we’ll soon learn who else is on the cast. That means that Spawn could begin production by the predicted date in August. Given that the movie has a smaller budget (as is the case with Blumhouse), the post-production process shouldn’t take too long. It’s possible that the movie could be ready to go by the end of 2019. We predict it could be as soon as September or October.
What is Spawn’s Rating?
Spawn hasn’t been rated by the MPAA just yet, but it’s almost guaranteed that the movie will have an R rating. Just look at the source material. The Spawn comics are filled with violence and demonic influences. It’s not something one should expect to get a PG-13 rating for. This is one reason that the original movie from 1997 didn’t do so well. It tried to appeal to moviegoers of all ages (although they did release an R-rated director’s cut down the line). Blumhouse have learned from history and will likely not even bother trying to get something lower than an R rating. Spawn is scary and gritty, and Blumhouse Productions have a good track record with that kind of thing. So, things aren’t looking too bad for the new Spawn movie.
Who is Directing the New Spawn Movie?
Todd McFarlane, the original creator of Spawn, is going to oversee the production of the reboot personally this time. The man who originally brought Spawn to Image Comics all those years ago personally wrote the script for the new movie and is on hand to direct it. As well as creating Spawn, McFarlane has other notable credits in comics including being an illustrator for The Amazing Spider-Man at Marvel (where he co-created Venom alongside writer David Michelinie), as well as being an illustrator for Batman: Year Two with DC Comics. While McFarlane has some experience with television (which we’ll get into later), the Spawn reboot will be his first time directing a movie. There is a precedent for comic creators directing their own movies though. Frank Miller directed the Sin City movie, although he had some help from Robert Rodriguez. McFarlane will be handling everything by himself, much like Miller did for his other movie – The Spirit – which was a commercial and critical failure. Let’s hope that McFarlane does better with Spawn.
What is Spawn About?
We haven’t heard any specific details about the plot of the reboot, but there has been some information about how the movie will be different from the original one. For a start, instead of showing Al Simmons being turned into the demonic antihero in Hell and thrown back to Earth, the new movie doesn’t include the origin story. The story starts with Spawn already being back on Earth for some time now. We don’t even know how much of Spawn’s past, if indeed any of it, will be looked at in the movie. Even though the movie is named “Spawn” and he’s a major part of the story, he technically won’t be the main character. Rather, the movie will focus on two human characters that will serve as the eyes and ears of the audience, so to speak. Outside of that we don’t know for sure what will threaten Spawn and his human companions. No matter what kind of craziness Spawn deals with though, it’ll all be going down in New York City (even though Todd McFarlane has confirmed the movie will be shot in Cleveland, Detroit, or Toronto primarily).
Before becoming the deformed Spawn that we know and love, he was Al Simmons; a marine who became a member of a CIA black ops program. When Al began questioning the morality of what he – and the CIA – were doing, Jason Wynn, the head of the United States Security Group, assigned Al’s friend and partner Bruce Stinson – AKA Chapel – with killing Al. Al was sent to Hell as punishment for having killed so many people in his lifetime. However, Al was able to return to Earth by selling his soul and becoming an entity known as a Hellspawn. Unfortunately for Al, not only did he come back as a caped demon, but he returned five years after his death. In those five years his wife, Wanda Blake, had married his best friend Terry Fitzgerald. The couple had also had a daughter, which they named Cyan. Al was also amnesiac and had forgotten most of his life, but he regained his memories in time. Now Spawn, Al has several special abilities including invincibility, a healing factor, super strength, phasing, shapeshifting, and control over necroplasmic energy.
As mentioned before, the Spawn movie won’t cover the origin story. Even if there is a little bit of Al as a human, don’t expect for the story to be centered around his past. As for the leading man playing Spawn, the role has gone to Jamie Foxx. Foxx already has some superhero movies under his belt, playing Max Dillion/Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 back in 2014. Foxx is still a major Hollywood star, so it was quite the coup for Blumhouse and McFarlane to get him to work on Spawn. With that said, Foxx has expressed an interest in playing Spawn since 2013, so he’s sure to bring plenty of enthusiasm to the role. One interesting thing to note about Spawn is that he won’t say a single thing throughout the whole movie, but McFarlane says that Spawn will have his own way to communicate with other characters.
Maximillian “Twitch” Williams is the only other confirmed established character for the Spawn movie. Williams is a New York detective who has been a part of the canon since the very beginning. In the comics, Twitch Williams is partnered up with Detective Sam Burke. Twitch is the brains of the pair, with Sam serving as the muscle. While Sam and Twitch are best known for being supporting characters to the main Spawn canon, they did have their own spinoff series for a time.
The role of Twitch hasn’t been cast just yet, but we do know that he won’t be paired up with Sam like he is in the comics. At least not initially. McFarlane has said that Twitch will be paired up with someone who is “quasi-Sam”. We also know that Twitch is to be the main human character of the movie and is sure to be a featured player. There’s no word on who might be playing Twitch yet, but it shouldn’t be much longer given that production is set to start soon.
What Other Characters Might Appear?
As well as announcing Spawn and Twitch, McFarlane has confirmed that there will be a female lead in the Spawn movie. She will be “not a love interest or any of the typical movie tropes” according to Todd, but he wouldn’t say much more on who she is. That’s all we’ve got to work with in terms of the cast. However, with 286 issues – and several spinoffs – there are plenty of characters in the Spawn mythos that could make an appearance. Though, if there won’t be a deep look at the man Al Simmons used to be, there’s a good chance that characters such as Wanda Blake, Jason Flynn, and Terry Fitzgerald likely won’t be appearing.
There are three main characters that are likely to appear at some point, but maybe not all of them together. The first of those is Malebolgia, who was the demonic entity that created Spawn in the first place. Malebolgia is one of many rulers of Hell (he rules the Eight circle in particular) and, while he initially assumed that Al Simmons would join the ranks of his army, Spawn would go on to enter Hell and decapitate Malebolgia himself (with the demon being resurrected later on). Even if there’s not much information about Spawn’s origin in the movie, Malebolgia could very well be the main threat that Spawn is trying to take out.
Next comes The Violator, who is known by the name “Clown” when in his human form. The Violator is the eldest of five demonic siblings called the Phlebiac Brothers, and he was initially responsible for training freshly-born Hellspawn so that they could lead the armies of Hell. Since first laying eyes on Al/Spawn though, Violator has aimed to prove that pure blooded demons are best suited for the task. Violator became a recurring villain for the Spawn comics, manipulating and toying with Spawn. Much like Malebolgia, he could easily be inserted as the main antagonist of the movie. Though we feel he would be better suited to being a supporting villain who can go on to become a bigger bad in a potential sequel.
Last but not least we have Cogliostro. He was initially Spawn’s mentor as a Hellspawn who had managed to evade Malebolgia. First presenting himself as a homelass man, he used the last of his necroplasmic energy to remain on Earth for centuries. After crossing paths with Spawn though, he began advising Spawn on how to best use his powers for good instead of evil. It was later revealed that Cogliostro was more than he appeared though, as it was revealed he was Cain. Yes, that Cain, the one who killed his brother Abel in the Bible. It emerged that Cain was working to become ruler of Hell and he managed to succeed in the end. For the sake of a Spawn reboot, it may be best to keep him as the initial mentor he was. He could have his darker side revealed in a later movie if needed. Of course, should Cogliostro appear in the movie, Todd would need to reach an agreement with Neil Gaiman – who owns half of the character.
It's worth noting that Spawn won’t have a massive budget, just like most other films from Blumhouse. It’s hard to tell how much money will be needed to make Spawn look the best – and most terrifying – he can. While there’s always a chance that several other magical characters will appear, you shouldn’t expect the kind of effects you’d get from a Marvel or DC movie. With that said, perhaps Blumhouse will still be able to work their magic and a little will go a long way.
Previous Spawn Depictions
As mentioned before, this isn’t the first Spawn movie to be released. Spawn was made into a movie five years after his debut as a comic. It was a blockbuster movie with Michael Jai White in the leading role with a supporting cast including Martin Sheen, Nicol Williamson, John Leguizamo, and Theresa Randle. The movie was an origin story, but it was met with a plethora of negative reviews and only garnered $87.8 million worldwide. The good news is that the rebooted Spawn movie should be quite different from the original movie, similar to the differences between Batman Begins and the Tim Burton Batman movies. Spawn also appeared in Ready Player One as part of the battle at the OASIS.