Spawn Reboot: Seven Actors Who Could be the Star

Todd McFarlane said earlier today that he's lined up an Academy Award-winning actor to play the lead character in a prospective Spawn sequel/reboot, but that he couldn't elaborate past that. Here's the thing: Al Simmons, who will almost certainly be Spawn in any film adaptation since he's the original and best-known iteration of the character, is an African-American character (or was, before he died). In the previous film adaptation, he was played by African-American actor Michael Jai White, who went on to star in The Dark Knight. It seems unlikely that the character will be race-swapped; not only is that unpopular with fans, but it's a difficult sell, especially when you're "whitewashing" a black character. Warner Bros., who distributed the first Spawn, already dealt with allegations of this during the marketing for Green Lantern, since so many fans knew the character best as John Stewart from Justice League Unlimited. Assuming, then, that McFarlane is not mistaken or exaggerating about his lead being an Academy Award-winning actor, and that he will indeed keep Simmons as the main character, the number of possibilities is actually remarkably small. Per Wikipedia, here are the names of the black men who have won Oscars for Best Actor:

  • Denzel Washington
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Sidney Poitier

...And for Best Supporting Actor:

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  • Louis Gossett, Jr.
  • Denzel Washington
  • Cuba Gooding, Jr.
  • Morgan Freeman

That's a whopping seven potential candidates, and even that presupposes that age is a non-issue. If age were a disqualifying factor (which it may be, since McFarlane mentioned talking to the actor and saying, "You don't have to be twenty-two forever"), the list narrows, losing Louis Gossett, Jr. and Sidney Poitier. Even both Washington and Whitaker would be borderline, except that both of them have continued to do physically-demanding roles into their forties and fifties. Age would certainly seem to disqualify Freeman, although certainly having him do voice acting for an animated series or animated films would be a coup given how recognizable his voice is. Still, not likely. That leaves us with Cuba Gooding, Jr., Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and Jamie Foxx. Given his status and the demands on his schedule, it's unlikely that Washington would have had time to record anything like 90-minutes' worth of an animated series without word getting out. Also, based on age and build, it seems unlikely that Washington or Whitaker would be taking on a cape-and-tights role at this juncture. So...

  • Denzel Washington
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Louis Gossett, Jr.
  • Cuba Gooding, Jr.
  • Morgan Freeman

Foxx, of course, is currently starring as the villain in Amazing Spider-Man 2, which will likely induct him into the fraternity of actors whose name come up for every big genre movie for the next five years--he'd be the likely pick. Well, that and because it's hard to picture Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s voice as something to be feared--he could overcome that in live-action when there's other stuff going on, but in an animated show, your voice kinda has to sound like the role. Or, you know, they could go with the lesser-known and less-popular Spawn, meaning it would be a white guy, which expands their field to like 30 guys. But probably not.