The film will center on Spawn, obviously, but there will also be a "significant" police presence, including longtime supporting character Twitch. There are two other major players that McFarlane did not identify by name.
"There is a big police component in this movie, but Sam is yet to be his partner in the story that I'm writing," McFarlane said, referencing the BBC America Sam & Twitch TV series he is developing with Kevin Smith. "The big role is Twitch and Spawn, and then we do have another police role, his current partner in this movie, who is our quasi-Sam but it' s not Sam….And then there's a female lead that's in there. It's not a love interest or any of the typical movie tropes."
McFarlane said that the movie, which will feature a modest budget and will be a hard-R rating for horror elements, will be more of a drama and less of a superhero action movie.
McFarlane will direct Spawn himself -- something that he set out to do when he was shopping the script around last year. Eventually the movie landed at Blumhouse with a commitment to make a version true to McFarlane's vision, which will see a more monstrous, menacing Spawn who does not speak in the traditional sense.
Early Spawn comics were marked by a version of Spawn that rarely spoke, although Al Simmons, his human side, would provide narrative captions that informed the reader of backstory and motivation. Given some of McFarlane's comments, it seems possible that could be adapted to the film in some way.
Spawn was adapted to the big screen once before, in a CGI-heavy 1997 effort that earned mixed reviews and has not aged particularly well. The film featured a caped Spawn battling a grease-painted clown Violator played by John Leguizamo. That version had an R-rated cut that came to home video after its PG-13 release in theaters, but McFarlane expects that the next version -- which he thinks will hit theaters in early 2019 -- will be a director's cut unto itself.
Per McFarlane, he does not expect to shoot material that he does not plan to use, so an "extended cut" would likely be poorer than the version he plans to release through Blumhouse.
News on casting should be coming along soon.