Todd McFarlane Explains How 'Spawn' Will Be Different Than DC and Marvel Superhero Movies

Spawn is heading back to theaters, but don't expect this hero to be like the other Marvel and DC [...]

Spawn is heading back to theaters, but don't expect this hero to be like the other Marvel and DC ones you're used to seeing in theaters.

Todd McFarlane's ever-popular Spawn is getting a new movie that reboots the universe for the big screen, and it is taking a very different tact than other superhero films you've seen over the past few years. McFarlane spoke to's Charlie Ridgely about the big differences between his vision for Spawn and current superhero films.

"Well, you know, I'm gonna do some simple stuff that isn't with the norm," McFarlane said. "Even just going R-rated takes it out of the PG-13 category. Now, with it being R, we've now seen a couple of examples of that. Deadpool and Logan seem to be. Venom, I think Venom is gonna be R-rated. So, I'm hoping that our category succeeds. So that it will broaden the thought process of the studio executives to go, "Oh, it doesn't have to be something onscreen that sells a bunch of toys and T-shirts. It can just be a something that's a little more gritty."


"For me, I know that I'm at the far end of R. Like, true drama, dark, serious R. I'm treating it as a real movie, minus the one thing that's in there that will be fantastic with this R. So, minus that, everything is gritty. There are no arch villains. There's no headquarters. There are no big ray guns. There are none of some of the trappings that we're used to in some of the other big movies."

Some of that comes down to the films smaller budget, something that was important to McFarlane.

"Part of it is just, I don't have the budget to write that kind of movie," McFarlane said. "So, I go, "Okay, if I'm gonna do my own movie, then what does it have to be, to be able to convince Hollywood that I should be directing it?" Because if I wrote a big-budget movie, then not only would they not let me direct it, I wouldn't even ask to direct it, because I don't think that would be a deal that I'd personally take myself. 'Hey, Todd, as a CEO in running your own corporations, we want you to spend $100 million budget, and we want to put a first time director.' I wouldn't take that deal."

"So, I knew that if I was gonna try and, basically, put myself into the director's chair, I have to make it as risk-free as possible," McFarlane continued. "And, the way to do it risk-free from my perspective, is to do this type movie that's based on the formula of creepy movies. And, again, that's a big departure. But, look at one that just happened a couple weeks ago, which is A Quiet Place. That's a $17 million budget that opened it up to 50 million dollars."


Going with a smaller budget brings its own challenges, but it also opens things up to higher profitability.

"That's a giant success, right? So, did it open up to $200 million like Star Wars, and Black Panther, Avengers? Of course not. But, if you're only spending 17, you basically open up to triple your budget. That's a giant success. Because that would be the equivalent to the Avengers open to 600 million, right? So, you go on percentage-wise, it's a giant success. So, you can do it. You can do it if you just are willing to basically say we're not gonna compete with the big movies. I think it's a fool's game, Charlie. I think it's a fool's game for anybody who doesn't have the money to even try to do Marvel-like. Because, the audience will know. The audience will know," McFarlane said.

"We've seen examples of it," McFarlane said. "We've seen Arthur came out. We saw Universal try to do it with The Mummy and the Tom Cruise one. Those movies were big budget. And they're going, "Hey, we're gonna do all this cool action. And we're gonna try to do this cool Marvel stuff because we like Marvel, it's gonna be like Marvel." And, eventually, the audience has said, "Well, why wouldn't I just go to a Marvel movie?". Right? I mean, if it's just gonna be a knock-off of a Marvel movie, why wouldn't I just go to a Marvel movie? It doesn't make any sense to me."

McFarlane compares it to the toy industry, an industry he's quite familiar with.

"The equivalent, Charlie, that I've experienced in my life is my choices," McFarlane said. "So I've got the retailer. I suddenly had smaller companies come in and they go, "Hey, that toy is like McFarlane, using some of the McFarlane factory, you got some of the McFarlane sculptors, and blah blah blah blah". The retailers eventually go, "If everything you're doing is looking like McFarlane, why wouldn't I just go get a McFarlane product?" All right, so at some point, you have to just accept that they own that lane on the freeway. So, I'm not trying to go into their lane. I'm trying to just create another lane."

The Spawn reboot has no release date, but will be comign from Blumhouse Productions.