- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The comic book creator is developing a live-action TV series based on Sam and Twitch, two detectives that first appeared in the pages of Spawn No. 1 in 1992 and then became stars of their own book.
The indie studio wiip is teaming on the project, with Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg penning the adaptation. The duo are known as the showrunners of Condor, the Epix adaptation of the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor, and they are also writing the upcoming Jennifer Lopez Netflix film The Cipher, an adaptation of Isabella Maldonado’s novel. They will executive produce along with McFarlane for McFarlane Films and wiip’s Paul Lee and Mark Roybal, who both recently launched HBO’s Mare of Easttown.
No studio or streamer is attached to Sam and Twitch, but it comes as McFarlane is mulling shopping a Spawn shared universe around Hollywood. It’s very early days, and he has only begun conversations with his agents. But McFarlane believes he is in a unique position to offer something with a track record built over decades and which has grown to include hundreds of characters and sold hundreds of millions of books.
McFarlane notes that Hollywood’s most successful shared universes — Marvel, DC and Star Wars — had the groundwork laid for them over decades by hundreds or even thousands of creators. In the case of Marvel and DC, movie success didn’t come until decades of publishing, merchandising and general brand awareness in the public consciousness. He believes Spawn, which is nearly 30, is reaching that point.
“Could there be a third or fourth big shared universe? Possibly. But is it going to happen fast with one or two individuals? No,” McFarlane tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s going to be a long, multi-creator group that is just going to spread your creative seeds and stand back and hope it grows into a forest.”
McFarlane, who also co-created Venom during his days at Marvel, has a long history with Hollywood. Spawn was adapted into a film in 1997, and later turned into an HBO animated series that ran in the late ’90s. Since 2017, he has been developing a Spawn feature with Blumhouse that would mark his directorial debut and would star Jamie Foxx as Spawn and Jeremy Renner as Twitch.
The comic creator notes that his partners on the Blumhouse Spawn are soon going to be seeking a studio partner on that movie. Then the conversation will be if that studio just wants Spawn, or if it would like more. MacFarlane plans on coming armed with data that he is privy to as president of Image Comics, which publishes Spawn.
“I’ll be able to load up the data — both on a creative and on a brand-name and a longevity name, and sales data — compared to [other popular comic properties],” says McFarlane.
His upcoming book Spawn’s Universe became Image’s top-selling first issue of the 21st century, and is part of laying the groundwork of building out the universe in the comics.
Says McFarlane: “To be able to say we’ve been published in a meaningful way in France and China and Brazil — I’ve done a lot of groundwork for you.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
Script to Scene