Todd McFarlane has apparently taken recent news that moviegoers want more R-rated superhero movies to heart. The comic book writer and artist took to the stage at an Emerald City Comicon panel this weekend to promise that his long in-development movie reboot of “Spawn” would be dark, gritty and nasty.
“The movie’s going to be a dark R,” said McFarlane. “If here’s PG-13, and here’s ‘Deadpool,’ and here’s ‘Logan,’ we’re going to be here. It’s going to be dark, and it’s going to be nasty.”
McFarlane shared the panel stage with comic book legend Stan Lee. McFarlane said he was interested in seeing Lee in the film, and voiced some very specific ideas about Lee’s proposed cameo. Lee has made cameo appearances in nearly every movie adaptation of a Marvel Comics property since 2000.
“Spawn” is a creator-owned property published by Image Comics, but both Lee and McFarlane worked together on Image Comics’ “Blood Red Dragon.” McFarlane got his start in the comic book industry as an illustrator at Marvel Comics in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s working on “The Amazing Spider-Man.” He illustrated the first full appearance of the Spider-Man villain Venom, and became so popular Marvel launched the standalone “Spider-Man” series for McFarlane write and illustrate the sort of stories he wanted to.
“Spawn” was adapted once for the big screen, back in 1997. Directed by Mark A.Z. Dippe, the film starred Michael Jai White as the eponymous former Black Ops operative turned demonic avenger. Columbia Pictures was originally slated to produce the film before it was eventually passed on to New Line Cinema, which demanded the film maintain a PG-13 rating. The film was considered a moderate success at the box office, despite being critically panned.
McFarlane has been talking about a “Spawn” reboot for the better part of 10 years, first announcing his intentions to bring the character back to theaters in 2007.
“Spawn” #1 was published in May 1992. The series recounts the story of Albert Francis Simmons, a CIA operative who is recruited into the shadowy world of covert operations. Simmons is murdered by one of his squad mates on a mission and is sent to Hell because of his murderous life choices. In Hell, Simmons is contracted by the demonic Malebolgia to become a Hellspawn, the foot troops of the fiery dimension.
Infused with dark energy, called necroplasm, Hellspawn are powerful warriors clad in symbiotic armor. Sent back into the living world, Hellspawn can dwell on Earth until they have used up their finite allotment of dark energy, at which point they are sent back to Hell and must serve in Malebolgia’s army.
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