Spawn isn’t a superhero. He’s not here to save the day. He hasn’t appeared on-screen since 1997, and if creator Todd McFarlane’s ideas for a contemporary remake come true, the Hellspawn-human hybrid anti-hero will be unlike any other comic book character we’ve seen.
“The simple answer is yes,” McFarlane told Geeking Out’s Tiffany Smith, confirming that the film was a definite possibility, but it won’t be a sequel or continuation of the 1997 original. Spawn’s story — a U.S. Marine is killed and brought back from the dead by a demonic spirit as a vengeful monster festooned in chains — was never going to be a light-hearted romp, but McFarlane said his planned script is a “dark, R-rated, scary, badass sort of script.”
A few years ago, there was no way Spawn would have had a chance at getting made. But in a post-Deadpool Hollywood, studios know that there’s definitely a market for hard-R superhero movies that don’t fuck around with marketing themselves to the trick-or-treating crowd. With modern CGI techniques and a decent budget, Spawn could be brought to terrifying life in all the ways that the 1997 version couldn’t.
Spawn would be a much different hero than Deadpool, though. Deadpool may be a true chaotic-neutral anti-hero, but he’s still a joker at heart. Spawn isn’t. Deadpool paved the way for Spawn, but the latter hero will lead us down a much darker road. McFarlane told ComicBook.com in February that his vision for a contemporary Spawn is as a menacing terror in the darkness.
“In the background, there’s this thing moving around, this boogeyman. That boogeyman just happens to be something that you and I, intellectually, know is Spawn,” he said. “Will he look like he did in the first movie? No. Will he have a supervillain he fights? No. He’s going to be the spectre, the ghost.”
Spawn isn’t Batman — he has no reservations against killing. Sure, his origin story follows the beaten-dead-horse trope of black ops soldier with a lost love and a terrible secret, but Spawn’s particular affliction is a lot more metaphysical than Deadpool’s Wolverine-with-cancer-sans-claws schtick. He’s literally a black-matter-rage-demon from Hell, who used to be a generally decent dude on Earth. That doesn’t stop him from shredding child molesters and murderers like they’re flesh-piñatas at an eight-year-old cannibal’s birthday party. McFarlane’s script — if it makes it to theaters — will certainly push the boundaries of a hard-R superhero film.