Todd McFarlane’s San Diego Comic-Con announcement that he was not only working on, but also directing, a new Spawn movie was wonderful news for fans who love to see one of their favorite characters get the kind of broody, scary movie he deserves. And who better to produce it than Jason Blum of Blumhouse, who was responsible for this year’s creepy hit films Get Out and Split? At New York Comic-Con, McFarlane offered a few updates on how the process was going.

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the new Spawn, McFarlane said that while he doesn’t know an exact release date yet, he and Blum are hoping to get into pre-production by early 2018.

The release date, if we make that deal, will be the next big news for the fans. Once they see a date, it’ll be real to them. And then it forces everything else into an accelerated rate, as we’ll hire the cast and crew and get into pre-production. Jason and I don’t want to give ourselves any artificial dates, but we’re thinking we can get into pre-production by next year, after Christmas.

As for what this new movie will draw from the old one, McFarlane says the two will ultimately be entirely different animals.

Let’s just put them in buckets. The first one was a superhero, effects-driven, action PG-13 movie. This one is now gonna be dark, drama, R, supernatural thriller in which there’s only one element that will be out of the ordinary, and that’s the thing you and I know is Spawn. And so, although at times people get confused when I say that, every creepy movie you’ve ever watched is like that. There aren’t eight sharks in Jaws, there aren’t nine Things in The Thing. Those are the movies I grew up with, I was never an action-movie guy.

Definitely a far cry from today’s big-budget, multiple-heroes-vs-multiple-villains comic book superhero movies we’ve gotten used to, but for the tone they want, this sounds like exactly the direction to take. It also won’t be an origin story.

I’ve had 25 years. I don’t think my fans, who are also 25 years older, want me to go back and do that original thing. If you want that, go back and watch the original or the HBO series. If you want the origin of this dude, it’s there. I want to do a movie that says, for this brand, after 25 years, this is what he looks like and feels like, this is the tone of him today, not 25 years ago.

So, there you have it. Rest easy knowing that, while we don’t know when it’s coming, McFarlane is definitely working as diligently as possible at getting Spawn up and running.

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