Todd McFarlane's upcoming Spawn reboot still doesn't have a release date, but if it lands the right distributor, he's got some big ideas about where the character could go next.
McFarlane announced during San Diego Comic-Con last year that he will write and direct a new, R-rated film starring his iconic Image Comics character, with fan favorite horror studio Blumhouse producing. Jamie Foxx has already signed on to play the title character and his human alter ego Al Simmons, and fan anticipation for the years-in-the-making project is high. That said, the film still doesn't have an officially announced distributor. McFarlane, ever the business-savvy creator, doesn't see that as a drawback right now, though. He sees it as a possibility for something even bigger.
In a recent interview with Comic Book Resources, McFarlane was asked if he had any advice for Sony Pictures as they prepare to release their upcoming Venom film (McFarlane drew the first full appearance of the character in 1988 during his run as the Amazing Spider-Man artist). After emphasizing the idea that the film should embrace the character's horror elements ("scare the s**t out of them"), McFarlane brought up a big hypothetical question that's definitely going to intrigue a lot of fans.
"Here’s a big 'What If.' What if Sony distributes Spawn? Then is it possible that in the future Sony could have a crossover with Venom and Spawn? It’s possible," he said. "So, I will be presenting that possibility to the Sony executives when we get ready."
McFarlane did not elaborate on what "when we get ready" means in terms of a specific timeline for distribution of Spawn, but he did go on to let the hypothetical play out a bit more, emphasizing what could happen if Venom does well at the box office.
"My conversation with them would be, why wouldn’t you? Here’s what I know," he said. "Let’s say Venom is huge — I hope it is — then no matter who distributes Spawn, the first thing you will see in every trailer will be, “From the co-creator of Venom.” So, then my question to Sony is, why would you let one of your competitors use that line, given that it was your effort that made Venom work? Your money that made Venom work? Your marketing that made Venom work? I think it’s worth asking, then, what happens if they both work? And then what happens ten years down the line, when they want to do a Spawn/Venom crossover and they get the guy who helped create both those characters to direct it? Might be kind of cool."
Again, McFarlane is clearly thinking in terms of a long game here. At this point Sony is in the middle of developing several Spider-Man spinoff properties, and Venom is only the first piece of that strategy, so it's not clear how flexible they might be in terms of crossing over with another comic book franchise. If both parties feel like there's enough money to be made, though, who knows what could happen?
Venom hits theaters October 5. Spawn's release date is still unannounced. What do you think? Is McFarlane on the right track for the future of both characters?