Spawn creator, director/producer Todd McFarlane is launching a dedicated television development and production arm of his production company, McFarlane Films. Announced on Tuesday, McFarlane Films has a first-look television deal with wiip (Mare of Easttown) and McFarlane along with his President of Television, Sean Canino, will identify and new emerging talent, creator-owned properties, independent brands, stories, and characters. McFarlane Film's initial television development slate includes projects from Reno 911! co-creator Thomas Lennon, graphic novel author Sean Lewis, Bojack Horseman producer ShadowMachine, and more. It was previously announced that McFarlane films had partnered with wiip to develop a live-action Sam & Twitch television series as well.
"Having been in development with Jason Blum at Blumhouse, along with attaching Jamie Foxx on a potential SPAWN movie franchise, other opportunities both in film and television came forward which led to this expansion in entertainment," Todd McFarlane, McFarlane Films CEO said in a statement. "Films, television, and video games are all areas I intend to spend my creative energy on a steady basis.
He continued, "I've spent decades succeeding in other business fields, going up against some of the biggest names in those industries (Marvel, DC Comics, Hasbro, and Mattel toys) and have been able to bring to market many successful products and ideas those larger companies were not able to give to consumers. I now intend to take those same creative and business practices into Hollywood full-time. As a creator first and CEO of my businesses, I pride myself on finding talented creators and inspiring ideas... then bring them to the world. Two of our newest projects, (one live-action the other stop-motion animation) have talented folks that will help get these new concepts onto the airwaves. Thomas Lennon, Anders Weidemann, Sean Lewis, our partners at wiip, and ShadowMachine are but a few of the folks we've begun this journey with."
Additionally, McFarlane Films revealed two new premium series in development in its television division, McFarland and Thumbs. McFarland is a stop-motion, animated event series created by Lennon in partnership with ShadowMachine and wiip and is described as "Night at the Museum meets Toy Story in Twin Peaks" and will feature original McFarlane Toys. McFarlane and Lennon will executive produce the series along with Canino and ShadowMachine.
"It is a good bet that when you combine the forces of Todd McFarlane and Tom Lennon, good things will happen...and that those things will most likely happen in stop-motion animation. We're thrilled to be a part of the fun!," ShadowMachine's Alex Bulkley said.
Based on Lewis' best-selling graphic novel, Thumbs is set to be a live-action drama series. McFarlane films partners with wiip and Epicenter (1BR, Judas and the Black Messiah) on the project with Anders Weidemann adapting the project. The series will follow 17-year-old Charlie "Thumbs" James, a gamer and social outsider who enters an esports tournament hoping to win a scholarship from tech billionaire Adrien Camus' gamer academy so he can get out of his neighborhood. However, Thumbs soon finds himself fighting real life and death battles in a covert war between Camus' teenage army and a neo-fascist anti-tech movement about to take over the U.S. Weidemann. McFarlane and Canino will executive produce, along with Allard Cantor and Jarrod Murray through Epicenter, with Lewis on board as a producer.
"We were looking for a way to bring Sean Lewis's timely graphic novel to life, and we thought entrusting comics legend Todd McFarlane to lead the charge would be a great start," Cantor and Murray said. "We also couldn't ask for better studio partners than ours at wiip, who are some of the smartest and most supportive creative minds in town. So, we turned to accomplished premium series creator, Anders Weidemann, to develop a serialized narrative that will captivate audiences everywhere."
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