While no concrete details of what character (or characters) may star, Deadline states that screenwriter Lisa Joy Nolan (working on HBO's adaptation of "Westworld") has been hired to pen a script, with Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach producing. Female Marvel characters within the scope of Sony's film rights include Spider-Woman, Black Cat and Silver Sable.
This news comes during a time of flux for Sony's "Spider-Man" franchise. This year's "Amazing Spider-Man 2" failed to outperform its predecessor at the box office, and the third entry in the series has moved from a 2016 release date to 2018. Additionally, "Amazing Spider-Man 2" co-writer Roberto Orci announced last month that he's no longer involved with the franchise.
The villain-centric "Sinister Six" now has a scheduled premiere date of Nov. 11, 2016, from writer/director Drew Goddard. A long-mused "Venom" spinoff film -- now reportedly titled "Venom Carnage" -- is also possible for 2017, Deadline says.
A female-led comic book-based superhero movie has been a frequent request from fans and observers in recent years. The few that have been produced were critical and financial disappointments, dating back to 1984's "Supergirl," and subsequent efforts like "Elektra" and "Catwoman." A "Wonder Woman" movie starring Gal Gadot is largely expected following the character's live-action big-screen debut in 2016's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," but has not officially been scheduled. A "Black Widow" film has also been reported as being under some form of development at Marvel Studios, and last month's strong showing by the Scarlett Johansson-starring "Lucy" was interpreted by a number of Hollywood pundits as a solid example of the time being right for a female-led superhero film.
Last month, CBR News asked "Amazing Spider-Man 2" co-writer Alex Kurtzman about the possibility of a "Black Cat" film, following the character's civilian identity appearing in this year's film. "Anything is possible," Kurtzman said. "We are always looking for opportunities like that. I can't say a whole lot about it, but I wouldn't rule anything out."