Don’t expect the upcoming reboot of Spawn, Todd McFarlane’s Hellspawn antihero, to have much in the way of levity. McFarlane said in a recent interview that the movie is “just gonna be this dark, ugly two hours’ worth of movie.”
Speaking with Nerdist, McFarlane explained that Spawn isn’t going to feel like the lighter (although still serious) fare of superhero movies that have come out of Marvel Studios and the like in recent years. The Spawn reboot is being written and directed by McFarlane and produced by Blumhouse Productions, which is best known for horror movies like its Conjuring series. McFarlane has likened the movie he wants to make to a horror film, and his latest comments double down on just how dark Spawn will be.
“There’s no joy,” McFarlane told Nerdist. “There’s gonna be no fun lines in it, and it’s just gonna be this dark, ugly two hours’ worth of movie, which is essentially what a lot of supernatural/horror movies are anyway. There’s not a lot of funny in them. And that seems to be a weird hurdle for a lot of people in this city to get over because they sort of go into a superhero/Avengers default all the time.”
And to be sure, Spawn is a dark character in the comics from which he originated. His alter-ego, Al Simmons, is a CIA operative killed in a fire, whose soul is sent to hell for knowingly killing innocents as part of his government work. He bargains his soul with a demon to return to Earth to see his wife one more time, only to find that years have passed, she’s moved on, and he’s now a demonic creature. Things go more antihero from there, and there’s angel and demon mythology for Spawn to deal with–which is pretty fitting with McFarlane’s supernatural, R-rated take.
But dark and gritty superhero movies have struggled of late, at least in some cases. Darker takes on DC superheroes, mostly from the creative direction of Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, have been met with derision from fans and critics, while the lighter, funnier Marvel movies have seen massive success. The most recent DC superhero movie, Aquaman, takes things in a bit of a lighter direction, and it has overtaken the highly successful Wonder Woman at the global box office. So Spawn might face an uphill battle with audiences by going in super dark direction.
We know a few more key things about Spawn, which is currently in pre-production and due out in 2019. McFarlane has said the movie won’t be an origin story, territory which the lackluster 1997 adaptation of the comics, directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé and starring Michael Jai White, already covered. This time out, Simmons will be played by Jamie Foxx, who has wanted to play the role for years. Oh, and it’s possible Spawn won’t speak out loud in this adaptation, in order to make him all the spookier. The movie is expected to start filming in Summer 2019.