The script for Spawn is still being tweaked, prior to the project being shipped around to major studios. The Spawn comic tells the story of Al Simmons, a government assassin who is murdered by his own agency. Al makes a literal deal with the devil to come back as a warrior Hellspawn so he can see his wife again, and avenge his murder. Spawn’s dark themes and bloody violence, combined with creator Todd McFarlane iconic artwork, made the comic a cult hit.
An attempt was made to turn Spawn into a comic book movie franchise in 1997, with Michael Jai White cast in the title role. While White made for a charismatic lead and the film featured some nice visuals, the PG-13 rating, weak screenplay and hammy overacting of the supporting cast made it a disappointing. The film turned a modest profit but not enough to warrant a sequel. McFarlane later pitched his plan to direct a low-budget reboot that would be a dark, R-rated horror thriller. He namechecked movies like The Departed and Jaws but it never seemed to come together. Then it was announced in 2017 that Blumhouse was partnering with McFarlane to bring his Spawn reboot to life.
McFarlane has talked up the project a fair amount since that time, with Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Renner circling the lead roles. That said, the director has hinted the darkness of the project has been an issue with getting a green light, and a release date has yet to be confirmed. Now McFarlane has provided an update to ComicBook, revealing revisions are being made to the script before it gets shipped around to studios.
Yeah, I've got somebody that's doing some tweaks on this script right now. And as soon as we're done with that, we're gonna go full steam ahead.
The director also wants to weigh his options before settling on a studio.
Even if they all showed interest at the same time, are questions are gonna be, 'Well, what kind of marketing campaign are you gonna do with it? And then number two, 'What are your slots that you have?' [And so] Some of them may say, 'Hey I've got this campaign and we've got this slot. We think it would be better, but you have to wait another three, four, five months till we got the opening that we think is right.' And somebody else might say, 'Hey, we can go sooner than that, but maybe we're not gonna pour as much into advertising.' And we'll just have to weight those variables, and then go, 'Which one do we think makes the most sense for the project's success as a whole?'
McFarlane also revealed that if no studio is willing to foot the bill, he’ll opt for outside money to make the movie. The horror genre has been merging with comic book movies a lot in recent years, including Venom and The New Mutants. Aquaman will also get a horror inspired spinoff focusing on the creatures from The Trench, and director James Wan recently revealed he pitched a horror take on Batman. The Spawn reboot has the potential to be one of the most unique entries in the genre, but the delays make it seem like studios is hesitant about the direction McFarlane is taking.
That said, if no major studio will commit to Spawn, McFarlane could feasibly go to independent backers to raise the budget needed. The director has been talking about this movie for so long it feels like he’s itching to finally get it made, so hopefully, it’ll be worth the long wait.