After the 1997 Spawn movie disaster, there are a few things that the new Spawn reboot will need to get right to appease fans. Blumhouse Productions, most often associated with horror films, will be taking the reins and imbuing the new film with all the darkness of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn comics, where the titular superhero, a morally righteous mercenary named Al Simmons was transformed by the devil Malebolgia into a Hellspawn in order to cheat death and see his wife one final time. The 1997 film starred martial arts star Michael Jai White as Al Simmons and John Leguizamo as Violator, his demonic guardian.
The ’90s Spawn movie had some competent special effects, committed performances, and some iconic scenes, but it suffered from a certain campiness prior to the MCU and DCEU taking the cape and cowl business seriously. Overall, the film lacked the grit of the comic series, and Spawn came across like a Batman clone rather than a terrifying reaper lurking in the shadows. With Blumhouse providing the vehicle and Jaime Foxx now in the driver’s seat as the titular character, the Spawn reboot can succeed and fulfill fan expectations by making a movie worthy of its unique and terrifying source material.
8 The Spawn Reboot Must Have A Dark Tone
The Spawn comics were gritty and dark, and though they occasionally delved into black humor, they were primarily composed of very mature content that incorporated complicated themes about death, grief, and mortality. The 1997 Spawn movie had potential, but it was campy and often unintentionally hilarious, which didn’t do the Spawn character or any of his foes any favors. Neither Spawn nor his nemeses came across as very intimidating, and the subject-matter was approached with a more light-hearted sensibility than its heavy themes about loss, morality, and redemption deserved.
7 Horror In The Spawn Universe
Considering that the original Spawn movie had a Hell dimension and dealt with various incarnations of Satan and other minions of darkness, the new Spawn movie should have a horror component. Since Blumhouse is producing the reboot, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where there isn’t at least some graphic imagery, particularly when it comes to Spawn’s transformation from Al Simmons into the titular character, but it’s not a guarantee. In the past, Spawn was toned down to appeal to a wider demographic and that was a mistake, so Blumhouse must lean into what made its early horror films so successful.
6 The Spawn Reboot Must Include Better Dialogue
The dialogue in the 1997 Spawn has been mocked for being clunky and juvenile, particularly whenever the Clown speaks. While John Leguizamo’s performance is entertaining and often hilarious, many of his lines were very un-PC and wouldn’t be permissible today. The ’90s Spawn series on Max, starring Keith David as Spawn, is a prime example of how to incorporate well-written dialogue into Spawn’s universe, which is one of the reasons why the animated series is considered such a revered part of the Spawn franchise even decades later and the movie is almost universally panned.
5 Better Visual Effects
For its time the original Spawn’s visual effects were considered fairly innovative, with a combination of early CGI and practical puppetry bringing things like Spawn’s epic cape and The Violator to life. Unfortunately, they haven’t aged well, but the Spawn reboot can incorporate the best visual effects of the modern day to make every aspect of Spawn’s world-building even better. Not only does Spawn need to be impressive as a superhero, but the Hellscape he wanders through also needs to feel like a real place, and the city streets where he enacts his vengeance should be as visceral and well-known as Gotham City.
4 Spawn Needs To Battle A Stronger Villain
The Violator was the Big Bad of the original Spawn movie, and while he wasn’t a bad nemesis, he didn’t come across as terrifying as he could have. Part of this was because of the visual effects at the time and budgetary constraints, and part of it was because he only showed up for their showdown at the end. In the reboot, Spawn needs to fight a stronger villain, whether that’s a much more impressive Violator, Chapel, Jason Wynn, or another villain from the comics like Billy Kincaid who, while not a bloodthirsty demon, was a child murderer and the sort of twisted individual that would give Spawn’s brutality purpose.
3 Spawn’s Rebellion Against Hell
Spawn’s eventual rebellion against Hell, which didn’t get much attention in the 1997 film, should be a major focus of the Spawn reboot to help it stand out from other remedial superhero movies today that often deal with Multiverses and intergalactic conflicts. Spawn overpowering The Violator and eventually killing a redeemer would send a message to both factions, eventually teasing a sequel that would lead to the war between Heaven and Hell. Contextually it’s a rich goldmine of lore that the 1997 film only partially tapped into, but a new reboot could make a major focus for fans who always enjoyed that part of the Spawn stories.
2 The Spawn Reboot Needs An R-Rating & More Violence
The original movie had a PG-13 rating, but a Director’s Cut of Spawn released after the fact included previously-removed scenes that would have made it rated R. The McFarlane comics were always incredibly violent, with Spawn acting like a vengeful boogeyman to various demons, hunting them down without mercy and killing them in increasingly graphic ways. The 1997 movie was fairly tame in terms of violence, reserving most of its PG-13 rating for John Leguizamo’s profanity-packed Clown, so the Spawn reboot should focus on making its titular character scary and intimidating.
1 The Spawn Reboot Must Allow For More Spawn Stories
The McFarlane comic series spawned many other versions of Spawn, from one who traveled back in time to feudal Japan, to one that forged a legacy as a gunslinger in the Wild West, and even one who became known as a knight in the Dark Ages. The world-building included the constant inclusion of other characters as well, particularly other soul seekers who worked as allies of Spawn and helped him in the war against Heaven and Hell like Angela, Mammon, and Overtkill. With their abundance of supernatural and fantasy elements, these stories and characters would make the Spawn reboot different from other superhero franchises.