“Spawn” Creator on Avoiding Character’s Origin Story

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Todd McFarlane, creator of the comic book Spawn as well as its upcoming movie, took some time to explain why he doesn’t want this new adaptation to be an origin story.

“I can’t do it. I can’t do it,” he said in an interview with Comicbook.com. “I’ve seen too many movies that spend way too much time for the set up.”

He compared the upcoming movie to this year’s A Quiet Place, which begins 89 days into its apocalyptic event and does not bother totally filling in the gap. Leaving out Spawn’s origin could thus increase his mystique, McFarlane claims.

“Why do you think Wolverine was so popular? Because we didn’t know who he was for a long, long time. And that’s what made him cool,” he said. “And you can argue that… he became a little less cool once you actually gave the origin away, right? So, I sort of liked him when he was like a mystery.”

In the comics, Spawn was once a CIA agent named Al Simmons, who was betrayed and killed by one of his friends. Sent to Hell for having knowingly killed many innocent people, he sold his soul to the demon Malebolgia in order to return to Earth and hopefully see his wife again. He returns as a demonic creature to discover that five years have passed since his death, and his wife is now remarried with a daughter.

McFarlane created Spawn for Image Comics back in 1992, and the series quickly became one of the company’s biggest sellers. That said, he was never quite as recognizable as Batman or Superman, especially not these days when his popularity has declined; for better or worse, one cannot really expect the average moviegoer to know the character’s backstory.

Spawn was already adapted into film back in 1997, and that version did tell his origin. This new movie, however, seems to be very different; McFarlane has previously claimed that Spawn would not even speak in it, though he has since implied that the character will talk, if only a little. He has described it as more of a horror movie than a superhero flick, which could indeed make the lack of an origin compelling, assuming that we are supposed to be see Spawn himself as the monster.

Spawn is expected out in 2019.

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