No character is as synonymous with Image Comics as Spawn, whose massive success upon release established the publisher as the third-largest in the industry and market share, after Marvel and DC Comics. Spawn debuted alongside the company and made it to the list of several top comic book characters of all time.
This led to the release of a massively successful animated series, followed by 1997’s movie Spawn, which, despite doubling its production budget in earnings, was deemed a flop by the critics. Still, the film made history, as it starred Michael Jai White as the first African American actor to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture. With that said, he wasn’t the first African-American to portray a superhero on film — that honor belongs to Robert Townsend in Meteor Man.
Regardless, the fandom has been clamoring for a Spawn reboot for over a decade, especially since Spawn’s creator, Todd McFarlane, announced the reboot in 2007. Well, 15 years have passed, and we know for sure that things are happening behind closed curtains since the reboot was finally pushed out of development hell and set into production.
The details about the upcoming movie are still shrouded in mystery and no official release date has been revealed, so we don’t actually know what to expect from the upcoming movie, besides the fact that Jamie Foxx was attached to the project as a lead. Still, there are several things the fandom would like to see in the reboot, and here are five of them:
Leetha of the Seventh House of K
Though it sounds just like another Hellspawn character, K7-Leetha is, in fact, Spawn’s living armor. We’ve already seen it in the 1997’s Spawn, where it was deemed a living armor capable of manifesting any kind of weapon Spawn envisions, but no other detailed explanation was given. Considering that the upcoming reboot might not be an origin story, a 5-minute explanation of how the armor interacts with Spawn and Necroplasm would be nice.
According to comic book history, the K7-Leetha is a sentient neural parasite that’s bonded with Al Simmon’s central nervous system, and it’s continuously evolving. The armor is Necroplasm-based and feeds on Necroplasm (green stuff Spawn’s made of) for power.
Additionally, considering that Spawn is basically undead, the armor can also feed on carrion insects and dark energies to replenish Necroplasm. It’s a symbiotic organism that’s directly connected to Simmons’ brain, which is why it’s capable of great reflexes and weapon manifestation.
In the 1997 film, Spawn’s powers were all but unlimited, and he could’ve used them indefinitely. So why did he rely on guns so much? Being a former government military assassin might explain his reliance on guns and ballistics, but are they really necessary considering the overpowered armor? Well, as it turns out, Spawn’s powers aren’t unlimited.
Each Hellspawn is created with 9,999 units of power contained in their Necroplasm, which are being depleted when Hellspawns use their abilities. Once that energy is consumed, Hellspawns must return to Hell to replenish, which is the failsafe of Malebolgia (the creator of the Hellspawn army), ensuring that all Hellspawns must eventually return to Hell.
Spawn eventually learned how to replenish his Necroplasm energy from other sources like carrion insects and dark energies, but even then, the process is slow and time-consuming, which is why he must rely on weapons such as guns to overcome his enemies.
Though we had a few glimpses of Malebolgia in the previous film, as one of the main villains and the Violator as the comedic relief, the fans would also like to see the Redeemer, much more so than the previously mentioned villains.
Redeemers are Heaven’s answer to Malebolgia’s Hellspawn, carrying much of the same powers as their hellish counterparts, but instead of Necroplasm, these angelic warriors are infused with the heavenly matter. The first of the Redeemers was actually Jason Wynn, one of the antagonists of the first film and the man who had Al Simmons killed.
Wynn’s appearance in the reboot would be a nice nod towards the first film, where he actually survived and was escorted by detectives Sam Burke and Twitch Williams, who also appeared in the comics and were so popular that they’ve got their own comic book series.
Batman’s and Spawn’s collaboration to stop a criminal enterprise surrounding nuclear weapons was successful, but the Bat ended their team-up by throwing a Batarang in Spawn’s unmasked face. However, the story remains canon in the Spawn universe, and in Spawn #21, we see Al’s face stitched together with a dirty shoelace by a fellow homeless person.
Spawn preferred this over spending more Necroplasm to heal the wound, and the laces remained there until Spawn #51. Eventually, he removed the laces, spent the last of his Necroplasm, and returned to Hell, while the laces were turned into a necklace for his ex’s daughter, and his connection to the laces helped him find the child when she was kidnapped.
Admittedly, the addition of shoelaces would imply, at the very least, mentioning the Bat, which might not be as convenient. However, having a facial scar as a result of a Batarang to the face would be a nice Easter egg for the die-hard fans of the comics. Actually, if the upcoming film isn’t an origin story, why not start the movie with Al removing the shoelaces from his face?
Michael Jai White
It’s a known fact that Jamie Foxx is starring as the next Spawn and that Michel Jai White expressed interest in returning to the role. Admittedly, Michael Jai White would’ve been our first choice, considering that he’s still in great shape and given Jamie Foxx less than glorious appearances in comic book adaptations. But what if we can do both?
In the comics, consumed by the hellish nightmare of his existence, Al Simmons commits suicide and gets sent back to Hell, indefinitely this time. However, at the same time, Jim Downing, a man who spent years in a coma, wakes up imbued with Spawn’s powers and actually becomes the next Spawn.
In the meantime, though, Simmons rose through Hell’s ranks and obtained Malebolgia’s powers, which, when combined with his own, made him more powerful than both God and Satan. So, if we can’t have Michael Jai White as a lead, why not have him star as the antagonist? He was already a bad guy in Universal Soldier: The Return, so why not tie the reboot with the previous film by turning Spawn against Spawn?
Nobody knows just how far along the Spawn reboot is or when the project will be officially revealed due to production difficulties spawned (no pun intended) by Todd McFarlane’s creative ideas and opposing views on the script. So, even though the hype surrounding the reboot is at an all-time high, the longstanding uncertainty about a project that spent 15 years in development hell is concerning. Hopefully, the next Spawn will emulate more of McFarlane’s vision.