With the current comic book movie boom going on, it's easy to forget that there was a time when comic book movies weren't so successful, either creatively or financially. That time was the '90s, and it spawned such disappointments as the original Judge Dredd, a couple truly awful Batman movies, and, well, Spawn.
Spawn was based on the comic books of the same name created by Todd McFarlane, one of the founders (along with Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld) of Image Comics. It was a darker, edgier franchise than other superhero comics at the time, with the title character being an anti-hero who makes a deal with a demon in order to escape Hell and return to Earth for vengeance. The film was a modest box office success, but like many 90s superhero movies it has aged pretty poorly, a fact that has led McFarlane to repeatedly express his wish to make a new one.
Despite all the years that have passed without Spawn returning to the big screen, McFarlane has not given up hope. Speaking to Comicbook.com, he announced that he has finished writing a script for a Spawn reboot, one he hopes to get the green light to direct himself by keeping its budget as modest as possible. However, McFarlane says there is still some work to be done on it:
"I've finished the script, and I'm in the process of editing. It's 183 pages, and [producers] usually like 120. I still think it's going to end up being about 140, because I'm putting in details for myself."
McFarlane discussed similar intentions when Screen Rant interviewed him back in 2013. At the time, he said that he was pushing to finish a script by the end of the year and start production on it in 2014. Obviously that did not happen, which is cause for skepticism this time around as well. The timing might be right for his creation to return to the big screen now, though, with Deadpool proving that antiheroes can indeed find significant box office success. The studios are more likely to be receptive to Spawn's return now, if McFarlane can turn in a script worth filming. In addition, McFarlane also has a new Spawn action figure in the works, which he hopes will generate additional interest in the character:
"I’m curious to see what happens when we go, ‘Spawn’s back and there’s only one,’ to see if we can get a little stampede, get people interested."
Can McFarlane finally resurrect Spawn from the bowels of development hell? After talking about it for years, now seems like a better time than ever for him to make good on his promises. That, however, is apparently much easier said than done.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on any new Spawn developments.