When Todd McFarlane’s Spawn debuted, the character immediately became one of the most aggressively cool characters of the ‘90s. (After all, McFarlane co-created Venom and gave Spider-Man those cool thick webs.) Unfortunately, his coolness quickly outpaced the capabilities of merchandising companies, so McFarlane launched McFarlane Toys and produced his own endless run of cool Spawn toys.
The company was so successful that McFarlane Toys eventually started making toys based on other cool things, like characters from horror movies, edgy fairy tale creatures, and very stiff versions of the characters from Metal Gear Solid or The Matrix that looked great but were not fun to play with in any way.
Now, with McFarlane’s hard-edged, no-fun-at-all Spawn movie still in development hell, he has decided to tap into the narrative potential of McFarlane Toys itself. According to Deadline, his McFarlane Films label is launching a new TV branch, and one of its first two projects will be the thrillingly named McFarland. Billed as “Night At The Museum meets Toy Story in Twin Peaks,” McFarland will be a (probably) stop-motion animated story featuring “original McFarlane Toys” (meaning probably not Spawn?). Also, it was created by Thomas Lennon from Reno 911! and Night At The Museum. Weird!
The other of the new TV projects is an adaptation of Thumbs, the comic from Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman about an aspiring esports pro who gets stuck “fighting real life-and-death battles” between a “teenage army” and a “neo-fascist anti-tech movement that is about to take over the U.S.” It’s being written by Interrogation’s Anders Weidemann, and it sounds like a very different show from McFarland.
As for the Spawn movie, McFarlane sounds confident that it’s still going to happen, to the point where he’d like to develop a “Spawn film-TV universe” (as Deadline) puts it. McFarlane says “it’s possible,” since “Marvel did it” and “DC did it” (debatable on that one, bud), but at the very least he thinks that Spawn is the only other superhero franchise with that kind of potential since he’s already done so much branding work.