Todd McFarlane, the comic book creator behind Spawn, a filmmaker and entrepreneur, has launched a dedicated television development and production arm of his McFarlane Films, which has a first-look television deal with Studio Wiip (Mare of Easttown), Deadline reports.
McFarlane Films’ initial television development slate, overseen by McFarlane and his President of Television, Sean Canino, includes two projects, McFarland and Thumbs, from Thomas Lennon, co-creator of Reno 911! and co-writer of Night at the Museum; Anders Weidemann, co-creator of Paramount+’s Interrogation; prolific graphic-novel author Sean Lewis; and ShadowMachine, a producer on BoJack Horseman and Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming Pinocchio.
McFarland is a stop-motion, animated event series created by Lennon in partnership with ShadowMachine and wiip. The project is described as Night at the Museum meets Toy Story in Twin Peaks and will feature original McFarlane Toys. McFarlane and Lennon will executive produce the series, along with Canino and ShadowMachine.
Thumbs, on which McFarlane Films has partnered with wiip and Epicenter (Judas and the Black Messiah), is a live-action drama based on the bestselling graphic novel written by Sean Lewis (Coyotes) with art by Hayden Sherman. Weidemann will write the adaptation of the story, which follows 17-year-old Charlie “Thumbs” James, gamer and social outsider, who enters an esports tournament hoping to win a scholarship from tech billionaire Adrien Camus’ gamer academy so he can get his ticket out of his neighborhood. But soon he finds himself fighting real life-and-death battles in a covert war between Camus’ teenage army and a neo-fascist anti-tech movement that is about to take over the U.S.
All in all it is an exciting time for McFarlane, and there is probably no better time for him to dip his toe into a new area of the industry. Who knows, this could lead to us finally getting that Spawn movie that has been tossed around for a decade without moving anywhere. McFarlane was asked about a potential “Spawn Universe”, but will not be rushing into anything.
“It’s possible. It’s the question I keep asking people. Marvel did it. DC did it. Can it be done again? I don’t know. But let’s just be clear. DC started theirs in the ’30s, 1930s. Marvel started theirs in 1960. So, they’ve had 50-, 60-year head starts. It’s not like it’s going to happen overnight, but if you’re looking for properties that are out there that are superhero that are intertwined, or whatever else, and you want to base it on sales and branding and how it’s done over the years, at the top of the chart, it’s Spawn and his world, right now, and nothing is close. Nothing is close.”