Spawn creator and the founder of McFarlane Toys, Todd McFarlane recently confirmed that many of the companies that he partners with to create toys are requiring the toys not come equipped with firearms.
McFarlane’s confirmation came in an interview with YouTuber ShartimusPrime.
ShartimusPrime brought up the subject asking, “One thing that a lot of people have been talking about recently is the banning of plastic guns coming with the action figures.”
He then shows off his Thomas Wayne figure before continuing his thought, “I feel like for the character it’s important. It’s a key part of the character. I wanted to get a little insight from your perspective on — are there no guns to be allowed anymore?
ShartimusPrime continued, “I remember being disappointed that the Peacemaker figure that you made did not come with a gun. I was like ‘Ugh, that’s a part of the character.’ When it’s a part of the character and the story I feel a little bit of frustration right there and I’m kind of curious to know your perspective on that.”
McFarlane answered, “We’ve done hundreds of licenses over the years. And the people who own the brands and the IP, the intellectual properties, they are the boss. And they basically dictate to us, not the other way around.”
“So, if we say, ‘Hey, we want to make this character,’ and they said, ‘Nope, we don’t ever want that character made.’ You never get to make them. It’s just that simple,” he asserted.
McFarlane continued, “So, sometimes things come from higher up that are just given to us and we just have to abide. And I long ago stopped worrying about whether I agreed with them because when you are dealing with big, big, big, big billion dollar companies and they make their decisions they assume they’re doing it for the betterment of those brands, and their company, and their strength, and all the above.”
“Have they made a decision about guns and action figures? Uh-huh. Are we abiding by it? Uh-huh. Did they ask my opinion? Nope. Would I have done it otherwise? Of course, what are you talking about, right?” he declared.
“We’re doing the best we can given that we have a new application towards the toys. It could alter some of the figures and characters we make because if you’re doing the Punisher and you can’t put a gun — I guess he’s still cool in his costume. We’re coming up with alternative ways of putting other props that work or don’t work,” he said.
McFarlane then reveals his creative workaround to this apparent edict from companies like Marvel and DC Comics, “Is there a workaround? I think so. Will we be coming up with some generic weapons packs? Yeah. Will they coincidentally fit into some of our toys? I don’t know. You guys as the customer will have to see.”
“Then I just gotta sell stuff separately and then we’ll go there. Look in the future, here on Spawn.com or McFarlane Toy Store, or something like — we’ll just put out a weapons pack and let people decide whether they want some,” McFarlane concluded.
It’s interesting that McFarlane specifically brings up the Punisher given Marvel Comics also appears to be embracing this agenda as the most recent Punisher series from writer Jason Aaron sees Frank Castle become the leader of the Hand, get an entirely new symbol, and eschew his firearms in favor of swords.
Marvel explained in their announcement of the series, “After a shocking secret pushes him to become the warlord of the Hand, he now serves the Beast, a role he’s been fated to fulfill.”
They added, “Tragedy, war, and rage come together as he takes up his sword and his new armor with the most notorious clan of assassins in the Marvel Universe. Will it mean an end for the Punisher? Or a whole new bloody beginning?”
On top of this apparent corporate agenda being dictated to McFarlane and his company when it comes to the licensed toys they make, it’s possible his attitude about not questioning the corporations is why the long-gestating product is embracing Hollywood wokeness.
Back in September, McFarlane revealed in an interview that one of the key things the film was looking for was a non-white writer, “We were looking ideally for someone that could bring a voice to the character on two levels: I’m just a white, Canadian kid. I haven’t lived the life of a man in America of someone with dark skin.”
“We thought it was important to get the perspective of somebody who has, someone with that perspective coming in and adding a slightly different bent to what you and I, as comic book readers, already know as to what Spawn is about,” he added.
From there McFarlane detailed that he also wanted the film to be “relevant today” in terms of its social content.
He explained, “We saw that movie, that movie came out 20+ years ago from New Line. So what haven’t we seen that would be interesting and relevant today, both in terms of filmmaking and social content.”
What do you make of this revelation from McFarlane that these giant corporations appear to have an anti-gun agenda when it comes to action figures and they are requiring toy makers to create figures without firearms?