Ever since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 grossed a mere $700 million worldwide, Sony has been shifting its plans for a Spidey-centric mega-franchise. Amazing Spider-Man 3 moved to 2018, a delay that would seem to scotch the previously announced Amazing Spider-Man 4. In its place, Sony fast-tracked The Sinister Six, a spin-off focused on Spidey’s nemesis superteam, to be helmed by Cabin in the Woods’ Drew Goddard. And now there’s an even more intriguing project in development: EW has confirmed the Deadline report that Sony is developing a Spider-Man spin-off starring a female superhero. This would be the first female-superhero comic book film ever—besides Supergirl and Catwoman and Elektra—so for the sake of argument let’s pretend this would be the first female-superhero comic book film ever.
It’s unclear who would be the lead character of this potential Spidey spin-off. Pure brand recognition might point to the character Spider-Woman, a.k.a. Jessica Drew, a character with a byzantine comic book history. (She has variously been a clone of Peter Parker and a double-agent alien imposter.) The most likely candidate is almost certainly the Black Cat, an amoral superthief who was also Spider-Man’s most intriguing love interest by far. (Mary Jane, shmary jane.) Black Cat was kinda-sorta introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man 2; her real name is Felicia Hardy, and Felicity Jones played a character named Felicia, although she was such a non-entity in the film that a recasting/retconning would be inevitable.
If Sony is looking to put a new spin on a recognizable character, there is a history of female versions of the Venom character–though apparently Sony is still developing a different Venom spin-off, because one rule of modern day Hollywood is that someone is always developing a Venom spin-off. Personally, I would advocate that the time is ripe for a Silver Sable movie, which would basically be like Commando starring, let’s say, Jessica Chastain in a white wig and a white jumpsuit.
Per Deadline, the superheroine spin-off is being written by Lisa Joy Nolan, who also wrote the hot script Reminiscence and is working on HBO’s Westworld series. (She is also Christopher Nolan’s sister-in-law, so Nolan family reunions must have a lot of fun superhero conversations.) On a purely financial level, Sony’s current Spider-Man scheme looks a bit wild: If people didn’t want to see a Spider-Man movie, why would they want to see a Spider-Man movie without Spider-Man? On the other hand, you could argue that Sony is finally taking the right page out of the Marvel Studios handbook, launching new franchises Thor-style instead of constructing entire feature films as spin-off advertisements. (Coughcoughcough Batman vs. Superman vs. Wonder Woman vs. Cyborg coughcoughcough.) And since Marvel Studios doesn’t seem interested in launching a female-centric franchise, the Untitled Spider-Man Superheroine Spin-off is already by default one of the more interesting projects on the distant horizon. So come on, Silver Sable Origins!