Fans and critics agreed that Deadpool had subverted the prevalent PG-13 superhero movie formula, but Todd McFarlane said that was an exaggeration.
Two decades since McFarlane introduced Spawn in the pages of Image Comics, he’s taking the opportunity to write and direct a live-action cinematic adaptation of the character. His previous suggestion that the movie need to be rated R led us to speculate that we were in for something akin to Deadpool and Logan. However, it became clear that the comic book creator wasn't a fan of that particular line of thought.
Speaking at a recent ACE Comic Con panel (via ComicBook), McFarlane criticized Tim Miller's directorial debut for sticking too closely to a PG-13 formula, and added that Spawn will go beyond that:
It's funny in Hollywood, if you say you want to do an R-rated movie, they go, “Oh, like Deadpool or Logan?” For me, no. To me, Deadpool was the PG-13 action movie, it just had some naked butts and a couple of f-bombs. Other than that, I thought it was the same PG-13 formula. When I'm talking R, I'm talking that there won't be a lot of fun, there won't be any stupid lines. I never like my hero to make a joke right when the jeopardy is at its highest. If I feel that my hero isn't afraid right now, why should I be? I want my heroes to go, “S**t, where do I go now?”
During the ACE Comic Con panel, Todd McFarlane reiterated that Spawn would not be a superhero movie. He said he believed that since the trailers were devoid of any evidence that is was a superhero movie, fans wouldn’t go into the theater expecting to see a superhero movie:
It's just going to be a dark, nasty, R-rated, scary, creepy, messed up movie. Now, why? If you were a ten-year-old, and you bought Spawn #1, it's 25 years later and you're 35. You're an adult, and I just think my audience has grown up with me.
McFarlane went on to reveal that he would make a cameo appearance in the Spawn reboot. He’d previously expressed his desire to provide Stan Lee with a "gnarly" cameo (via ComicBook).