Everything We Know So Far About Todd McFarlane's R-Rated 'Spawn' Reboot

Legendary comic book creator Todd McFarlane will sit on the director's chair for 'Spawn.' Here's what we know. 

When U.S. Marine Al Simmons is killed in cold blood, he makes a deal with the devil Malebolgia to come back to life as his personal assassin. But when he rises as Spawn, all hell really breaks loose.

Famed comic book creator and founder of Image Comics, Todd McFarlane, is sitting in the director’s chair for the very first time in a new movie adaptation of his cult ‘90s icon, Spawn. Since 2016, McFarlane has spoken publicly about his movie, which has crawled its way to development at a snail’s pace.

Overall, McFarlane wrote and intends to direct Spawn as a grounded, gritty horror movie than a big blockbuster superhero flic. In his first interviews about Spawn, he used Steven Spielberg’s Jaws to illustrate how he intends to portray his title character, which is that of a figure in the background who looms over the human characters.

“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 told ComicBook.com in 2017. “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.”

Here’s everything we know so far about Todd McFarlane’s Spawn.

When Is the Spawn Release Date?

There is currently no release date for Spawn. Production was most recently scheduled to begin in January 2019 in New York City, but that did not happen. It is unknown when photography will begin.

Is There a Teaser Trailer for Spawn?

No. Principal photography for Spawn has not yet commenced.

Spawn Image Comics Todd McFarlane
Cover of 'Spawn' #1, published in 1992.

Who Is Writing and Directing Spawn?

Todd McFarlane, who first came up with Spawn as a teenager, wrote the script and will direct the movie. The project will mark the first time McFarlane directs anything (the 1997 movie starring Michael Jai White was directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé).

On making his directorial debut, McFarlane says he’s felt little to no nerves about his first feature film. At Fan Expo Canada 2019, McFarlane said (via Comic Book Resources), “I’ve directed this movie a thousand times in my brain.”

“If any of you saw this movie called A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper directed that,” McFarlane said. “First-time director. You tell me if that movie looks like a first-time director. He was smart enough to surround himself with good people. I’m gonna be the least experienced person on that set, they’re gonna make me look good all day.”

Who Will Star in Spawn?

In May 2018, Deadline reported that Jamie Foxx was cast to lead the film as McFarlane’s title character, Spawn. The casting was confirmed by Foxx as well as producer Jason Blum, of Blumhouse Productions.

“We are thrilled Jamie Foxx will be playing the title role in our movie adaptation of Spawn,” Blum said in a statement. “He is an incredible actor and a huge fan of the Spawn Universe that Todd McFarlane created. With the depth of talent Jamie can commit to the role and Todd at the helm bringing the world of Spawn to life, we could not be more excited for this film.”

Later that summer, in July 2018, Avengers: Endgame star Jeremy Renner signed on to play Sam Twitch, a city police detective from the Spawn comics who investigates strange cases that often traces back to Spawn.

In a statement, McFarlane praised Renner as his ideal Sam Twitch, saying: “As a first-time director, I wanted to surround myself with the most talent and the most skilled people I can on all fronts. I knew the person on screen the most is this police officer, Twitch Williams. We needed as strong a person as possible because he will be the face of the film. Jeremy [Renner] was at the top.”

Spawn Image Comics Todd McFarlane
Cover of 'Spawn' #297, published May 2019.

What Is the Plot of Spawn ?

Story details for Spawn are under wraps. But based on existing interviews, we know that the film will focus less on Al Simmons and his transformation into Spawn and more about an array of human characters who get tied up into Spawn’s supernatural activities around the city. Detective Sam Twitch, played by Jeremy Renner, will anchor the film as one of the movie’s human leads.

Is Spawn a Superhero Movie?

Todd McFarlane is insistent that his film, budgeted at a microscopic $10 million, will not be like a typical superhero movie. While Spawn is a comic book anti-hero, the film will not resemble anything audiences are used to from Marvel or DC.

“It’s impossible for me to believe that anyone will go to this movie and think it’s a superhero movie if they watch the trailer once,” McFarlane said in a 2017 Vulture interview. “It will say, without using bold words, ‘This is not a superhero movie. Period.’ If you think it is, don’t go. Because it won’t act, talk, feel like any of it. What it will act and talk and feel like are creepy little low-budget movies that scare the shit out of you.”

In a separate interview with ComicBook.com, McFarlane compared the Spawn character to the shark in Jaws.

“Although it was called Jaws, Jaws didn’t really talk a lot in his movie, right? He just kind of showed up at the opportune time to make the movie worthwhile. It was Sheriff Brody, the humans talking, chasing the fantastical thing that sort of made the movie, and to me there’s that element.”

He added, “Everything else is normal in this story, other than … the shadow moves, and at times, even when it moves, the cop just sort of thinks he’s losing his mind, so he doesn’t even trust that the shadow’s moving. If you’re a bad guy, then this thing is going to come, and it’s going to get you.”

Where Can I Go for a Spawn Fix Before the Movie?

There are literally hundreds of Spawn comics to read and enjoy; the historic issue #300 of Spawn will be released this Wednesday. Elsewhere, Spawn will be added as a downloadable playable character for Mortal Kombat 11 in March 2020. Keith David, who voiced Spawn in the short-lived but acclaimed Todd McFarlane’s Spawn on HBO, will reprise the role for his appearance in the game.


There is no release date for Spawn.

Media via Image Comics, Warner Bros. Games Interactive