Todd McFarlane Says New Spawn Movie Could Become Streaming Series (Exclusive)

Todd McFarlane's long-in-the-works Spawn movie could escape development hell as a streaming series. Since 2017, the comic creator has been developing the R-rated reboot as a low-budget horror movie with The Purge and Halloween producer Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions. McFarlane announced at that year's San Diego Comic-Con that the new Spawn movie would mark his feature directorial debut, which has since attached Jamie Foxx to star as the hellspawn and Jeremy Renner as detective Twitch Williams. McFarlane's long-running Image comic book was previously adapted into a PG-13 live-action film from New Line and an HBO adult animated series in the late 1990s.

Sitting down with ComicBook's Jim Viscardi at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, McFarlane revealed he's "had that conversation" about developing Spawn as a streaming series instead of a movie.

"The answer is you should probably think about it. What if one of the big networks come out and draw up a ton of cash and say they want to make it a streaming movie?" McFarlane said. "My only hesitation for that kind of deal right now is that there's no data that I can think of that somebody's been able to build a [movie] franchise starting as a streaming [series]."

He continued, "[Franchises] start in the theaters, then you can do side movies, then you can go to a series spun off from it."

Last year, McFarlane announced he's shopping a Spawn Universe and that his McFarlane Films' TV division is developing a live-action Sam & Twitch television series as part of a first-look deal with wiip, the studio behind Mare of Easttown and Dickinson. In 2019, he revealed two new Spawn animated series — one for children and one for adults — would follow the movie that the Image Comics co-founder is confident could launch a multi-media franchise.

"But to just go, 'We're gonna build a franchise in a big, big meaningful way from streaming,' I don't see any evidence of that. If anything, I would argue, I see a little bit of the opposite," McFarlane said. "Some big series come out, they're hot as heck, then two years later, they're forgotten because there's a hundred other series that are out. These fantastic shows are in and out in a year or two."

McFarlane, who previously described the new take as a dark and gritty supernatural thriller, said in 2020 that the box office success of Warner Bros. and DC's R-rated Joker reignited investor interest in the Spawn reboot movie. 

Still, a live-action Spawn streaming series "depends [on] the offer and what we're talking about." 

The creator also weighed whether to announce live-action Spawn news at Comic-Con or hold off until New York Comic Con later this year, closer to the release of the new Batman/Spawn crossover comic just announced in San Diego. 

"We had a big debate about whether we were going to make an announcement [at San Diego Comic-Con] ... I just thought it might be a little bit early, because I'm trying to make another one, two big announcements just as we're going into Hollywood to sell," he explained. "And the buzz of Spawn will be at a bit of an apex ... there will be a couple things that are buzzing, and I thought, '[San Diego] might just be a hair too early.'" 

Watch ComicBook's full interview with McFarlane above.