If you’re still excited for the upcoming Spawn movie that will star Jamie Foxx as the titular character and creator Todd MacFarlane in the director’s chair, you might be in luck. It’s been a while since we’ve heard news about the progression of this film and fans question whether or not if it will even happen. First they got Jamie Foxx as Al Simmons/Spawn and casted Jeremy Renner as the detective nicknamed Twitch, but then apparently Todd MacFarlane was putting the project on hold because he wanted to do the movie “his” way. That does sound fair, considering he is the creator of the famous anti-hero demon slayer, but then again, he lacks serious live-action directorial experience. If you think otherwise, just remember that Frank Miller directed the live-action The Spirit movie. Yeah, that wasn’t very good, so don’t rely too much on the credibility of the creators.
It seemed like the plug was going to be pulled on this new Spawn movie, but then the 2019 Joker movie happened. A rated-R comic book movie that actually made truck loads of money? Well, if Deadpool wasn’t enough to convince them that it could work, then the Joker movie sure did. At that point, a bloody comic book movie with a violent character like Spawn in the spotlight seemed like a good idea. I mean, sure they tried it already back in 1997 with Michael Jai White (which was really entertaining in my opinion), but I’m in the minority. That’s okay, but if you ask me, a second shot at giving Spawn another live-action adaptation is long-overdue.
I want this movie to happen and now it looks like it’s back on track. The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that screenwriter Brian Tucker has been hired to pen the script for this upcoming Spawn movie. Tucker was the writer behind the 2013 neo-noir crime thriller movie Broken City starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. It’s been a while since I’ve watched that movie, but I remember it being decent. That’s fine, because all I’m interested in is this Spawn movie actually landing a new screenwriter. Todd MacFarlane himself wrote the initial script, fittingly so, but bringing a new writer on board speaks volumes. Was Jason Blum (the producer of the film) of Blumhouse Productions unsatisfied with Todd MacFarlane’s script? Possibly, but a new writer who was never attached to a Spawn-related project in the past can be interesting.
You can bet that Todd MacFarlane will still have a lot of creative say on this project. Who can say otherwise? Spawn is his baby and he wants the character to be treated with complete respect. Now according to Michael Jai White, MacFarlane’s new vision for a Spawn movie would’ve had him not really appearing much in the movie. Think of it as a horror movie where the monster stays unseen for ninety percent of the movie as he picks off each victim. And by the end of the movie, we finally get to see what the monster actually looks like.
Would that vision work for a new Spawn movie? I would say no. It does make sense, because Spawn is a character who operates in a manner similar to Batman. In other words, he sticks to the shadows and uses that to terrorize criminals. We’ve seen Batman do that many times in movies and games, and it certainly works. The thing is, we were still able to see Batman for most of the movie or game. He didn’t stay hidden in the shadows and didn’t show his cowl-covered face in the end. That wouldn’t be a good idea, because we all want to see Batman. Guess what? It’s the same case for Spawn.
I mean, let’s be real, Spawn just looks awesome. He’s got to be one of the coolest-looking characters that has ever popped up on a comic book page. Like ever. And what does he look like underneath the mask? Well, he doesn’t technically wear a mask, but beneath the iconic Spawn face is the hideously burned and deformed face of Al Simmons. Keep in mind, he’s actually dead, so the face of a resurrected hell spawn warrior shouldn’t be the handsome face of your average superhero. That’s fine, because he’s one of the perfect examples of what an anti-hero comic book character should be.
Al Simmons, once a deadly CIA black ops operative, was betrayed and murdered by his superiors, then had his soul sent to hell. Desperate to see his wife again, Simmons made a deal with the devil. Once he awakens and finds himself once again on Earth, he learns that five years has passed and his wife has moved on and remarried. Alone and deeply depressed, Simmons found himself wandering the Earth as a disfigured agent of hell with powers he didn’t understand.
We saw many of these elements in the 1997 movie, but if you want to see them fully developed, check out the Spawn animated series on HBO Max. This was a “cartoon” that was released back in the late ’90s and crossed many boundaries. While the live-action movie kind of kept it superhero-level appropriate, the animated series was all gloves-off. In other words, there was a lot of cursing, a lot of blood being shed, and a lot of sex and nudity. Make no mistake, this was no animated series for children.
But if there’s another live-action Spawn movie happening, then the animated series should be the guidelines for how it should be done. For one, it ended with Spawn finally decided that he wanted his humanity back and the best way for him to do that was to take the fight to hell itself. That would’ve been an awesome finale, but sadly, it never happened. However, what the series did well on tackling most was showing Spawn trying to cope with his new life as a hell spawn. Throughout the series, he learns how to hone his powers, discover the truth behind his murder, and even makes friends with a group of homeless men. What was most interesting about watching Spawn develop was watching him accept that he can use his powers for good and become more selfless as the series went on.
This is something that Brian Tucker should take note of when he’s writing the new script. Yes, Spawn should be a scary force of nature that terrorizes criminals from the shadows, but we want to actually see him. On top of that, developing him as a sympathetic anti-hero is crucial to making this movie work. Show us that he deserved to go to hell, then make him work for redemption. Then we will have a Spawn movie that (hopefully) everyone will enjoy. And please, don’t forget the clown.