Remake & Reboot: The Spawn Movie

Upon his inception in 1992 as one of the flaghship characters of Image Comics, Spawn defined a moment in time and a career for Todd McFarlane. For years the long-running creator-owned title has been one of the top selling comic books outside Marvel and DC, and it's success spawned two animated TV series,  numerous video games and a live-action movie. Launched with significant publicity in 1997, the motion picture Spawn failed to break open the box office. But just like Al Simmons was given a second chance at life, so too should a feature film adaption of Spawn.

The Concept:

The first Spawn film in 1997 saw the character as a supernatural super-hero. And although that’s what the original comic series started as, it’s strengths lie in something different. From McFarlane’s early portrayal of media influence and coverage of the emergence of something like Spawn to how horror became a part of the series as early as issue’s #5’s Ice Cream Man story. Imagine if a new Spawn film took that further and emphasized the horror elements and eschewed the superhero in favor of a more supernatural drama.

In fact, what if you take that original storyarc and expand it into the new Spawn feature itself. A pair of NYPD homicide detectives named Sam Burke and Twitch Williams (Sam and Twitch) are on the losing end of a long-term investigation of a serial killer known as the Ice Cream Man. Through a mix of inventive subterfuge and tinges of supernatural fingerprints on the case, Sam & Twitch hit dead-end after dead end until they find out the government knew about the killer years before – and even sent a spec ops agent named Al Simmons to kill him (unsuccessfully). At the same time, a supernatural force known as Spawn (with ties to the original Al Simmons they find) enters into the hunt for the kid killer known as the Ice Cream Man while the media plays havock on the case.

McFarlane himself has spoken at length about his plans for a new Spawn movie along these similar lines, turning it into less of a hero-driven story and into a horror story with Spawn has a more ominous force with the cartoonist comparing it to Jaws. Imagine it as one part The Crow and one-part Saw but as a police procedural.

Only in a sequel would you get into Spawn’s origins, mixing a rollicking war movie starting Al Simmons into his eventual death and resurrection in the eyes of the Devil himself.

The Director:

Although McFarlane himself has expressed interest in directing a new Spawn film, I’d take that measure by half and partner him with an experienced feature director akin to what Frank Miller did with Robert Rodriguez on Sin City. Imagine pairing McFarlane up with musician-turned-director Rob Zombie: they both have an immense appreciation for off-kilter art and horror, and they might turn out to be kindred spirits. This unexpected duo would be catnip for both hardcore and casual horror fans and could bring out the best in both creators.

The Cast:

  

Al Simmons / The Spawn – Idris Elba: Although Michael Jai White filled in the role for the first film, a new Spawn film needs a more popular actor and one with more experience. Elba fills that role admirable with his parts in The Wire and the forthcoming Thor. Although he’s got several comic book adaptations already on his resume, a role as Al Simmons and Spawn could be his first lead role in a big feature and use both his memorable voice and his action chops as seen in The Losers and Luther.
 

  

Sam Burke – Michael Madsen: Although Madsen may not be an A-List talent according to Hollywood, he has a storied past both on- and off-screen and would bring a lot to the role. He’s played characters on both sides of the law and knows how to work the camera, and would be a convincing Sam Burke.

 

  

Maximillian “Twitch” Williams – Dominic Monoghan: Filling out this role would be tough, but I’d give actor Dominic Monoghan (Lost, Lord of The Rings) a chance to stretch himself as an actor. This role would require Monoghan to stretch himself a bit, but given his track record of working on major projects he seems more than willing for the challenge.

 

 
 

Billy Kincaid – William Petersen: Kevin Spacey’s role in as Se7en’s killer really put him on the map, and although CSI alum William Petersen could retire now and be remembered famously he has a lot to give the right part. Petersen is known to really get into his roles, and giving him this monstrous role could be very appealing for the stage-trained actor. It would be a real shocker to see the heroic CSI lead take on this murderous role – and take on the weight.

Comments

  1. I agree with all of it save for Petersen. You need a real douche cannon…Sorry, lose cannon like Vincent D’Onofrio or Mandy Patinkin.

  2. Haven’t revisited it in many years but I remember loving it when I was younger.

  3. @LondonCraig  – D’Onofrio would be perfect.

    Chris, Elba never even occured to me, but he’d be perfect. Not only does he look the part, the dude, can, like, act.

  4. This sounds great but I still would want Clown to appear.  As for Twitch I think Michael Emmerson would be a better choice for the part.  Dom Monoghan would be better choice for Clown.  Billy needs to be played by Matt Lucas.

  5. This sounds like a great movie! That casting is pretty spot on!

  6. the should black-up john hamm or nathan fillion to play spawn!

  7. You know someone has to ask, so it may as well be me- can anyone recommend a Spawn trade?

  8. call me crazy, but i think Michael Jai White did a fine job as Al/Spawn. and th guy is still in phenominal shape and i think he’s got the chops to pull it off again.

  9. ps Rob Zombie as a director of this would KILL. i’d be first in line.

  10. @hailscott: They are re-releasing Spawn in 6 issue trades called Spawn Origins. I’d start there if I were you. They’re very cheap to buy and you’ll know if it’s your thing after the first trade.

    I’d also very, very strongly recommend the first volume of the Sam & Twitch: Bendis Collection. It was the first thing I read by Bendis before he arrived at Marvel and I still rate it as one of his best works ever.

  11. Ditto on Sam & Twitch comics.

  12. “Although Michael Jai White filled in the role for the first film, a new Spawn film needs a more popular actor and one with more experience.” So this nobody is more popular than MWJ? He was in a TV show hardly anyone ever heard of and unjustly gets a part in Thor (another horribly done movie) and he’s more popular than MJW?

    Sorry, I’ll side with Black Dynamite on this one.

  13. Is Spawn even popular enough to warrant a movie these days?

  14. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @SirCox  You could say the same of Thor and Green Lantern. 

  15. @PaulMontgomery  okay, so maybe not thor, but GL?! HELLO!! BLACKEST NIGHT! BRIGHTEST DAY! WAR OF THE GL’S ! three major events in the space of two years, and that doesnt warrant a movie?

  16. Sorry, Spawn was/is such a convoluted mess comapred to the elegance of characters like Thor Captain America, and even the Green Lantern that i would bet my house that any movie coming from it would be an even bigger mess.

  17. @Zarathos81  You saw Thor already? You must be quite the hollywood insider.   
    But your right about the Wire, an HBO show that made it five season… obviously it was a thud on the radar. 

  18. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Checkmate  I didn’t say GL was undeserving of a movie. 

  19. @Zarathos81  You are saying that ‘The Wire’ is a show that “hardly anyone heard of”?  This would be true if you only hung out with/talked to TV ‘bottom feeders.’ 

    The Wire got big, big critical acclaim.  It was hailed as ‘the best show on TV’ by; Time, EW, Chicago Tribune, SF Chronicle, Philadelphia Daily News, and Slate. 

    But maybe you meant that it was not nominated for awards.  But wait, it was nominated for Emmy’s, WGA’s, and DGA’s, so that is not accurate either.

    Maybe you meant that it was not taken seriously.  Yeah, only small-time community colleges like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Duke, and Berkeley offered courses based on the show.

    Seriously, broaden your horizons.  Just because you did not hear about it, it does not mean that it was not known or, more importanly, good.

    Also, how did you get your hands on an advance copy of Thor??  Or are you just ‘comic book guy’ who hates anything that makes him examine another P.O.V.

  20. @THX7168  i remember loving it too untill i saw it like a month ago,what a piece of crap.

  21. @PaulMontgomery  no, im sorry, youre right. i just re-read the context of that post i commented on. my bad

  22. You had me at Idris Elba.

  23. @davidtobin100  I either forgot or didn’t know Bendis wrote Sam and Twitch for a while.I agree, really great stuff, well written and I liked the art style a lot. Recommended. Case Files was pretty good too.

  24. I don’t think I’ve ever read a single Spawn comic, but I would be down for just about anything starring Idris Elba and Dominic Monaghan.

  25. @HailScott  Buy the 1st hardcover trade of Spawn Origins. The hardcovers and paperbacks don’t line up, and you’ll get more from the hardcovers.  If you like what you see, they’ve released vol 2 and 3 in Hardcover already with plans to keep going.

    The original movie of this was fun at the time if you were 16 (as I was) but re-watching it now… it hurts… so bad.  It’s terrible.  The animated series was great though.

  26. I would LOVE to see this cast in a Spawn movie! And if not Dom Monaghan, then it should be Ben Foster as Twitch.