Bet you didn't see that one coming! With all the attention lately focused squarely on Marvel Studios' and Warner Bros.' lack of a scheduled super hero movie with a female lead, dark horse Sony Pictures has stolen their thunder. Earlier this month is was reported that the film studio is considering a female-led movie set in their "Amazing Spider-Man" universe for 2017. They already have a screenwriter, Lisa Joy Nolan, and producers, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, attached. This announcement comes as a surprise following Comic-Con International in San Diego, where many fans had their fingers crossed for one of the Big Two to announce a film starring Black Widow or Wonder Woman. Instead, the con came to a close with only one new Marvel film announced ("Guardians of the Galaxy 2") and merely a picture of Gal Gadot in her Wondrous costume released by Warner Bros.
While Sony may only own the rights to a single Marvel's A-Lister, that apparently hasn't stopped them from mining Spider-Man's supporting cast for potential breakout stars. The shift in focus comes after some changes in the "Amazing Spider-Man" franchise, with films bumped back and producers exiting. Instead of more Spider-Man, a film possibly titled "Venom Carnage" and focusing on two of the wall-crawler's most infamous foes is on the way, and now the studio is eyeing a female-driven film. But which heroine will get the spotlight? CBR looks at some of the possible candidates Sony could pull from the pages of Marvel Comics.
For a lot of fans, the front-runner is obviously Black Cat. As a cat burglar with bad luck powers and sass to spare, Felicia Hardy could make for a compelling lead in a thrilling heist-style caper film. This theory also makes sense when you consider the fact that Felicia's already been introduced on the big screen. Felicity Jones played Felicia in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," except she was merely an Oscorp employee. "Black Cat" could focus on Jones as Hardy as she undergoes a transformation from personal assistant to globetrotting anti-hero. Black Cat also has a bit of cache with comic book fans; she's led five miniseries in the past 20 years, and has appeared in multiple video games and cartoons.
Sony could go into full-on espionage/action mode by bringing CEO/mercenary Silver Sablinova to life. This gun-toting badass hunts war criminals alongside her personal squad of tough guys called the Wild Pack. If there's any director out there wishing to revisit the golden age of '80s shoot-em-ups, then get in line to helm "Silver Sable." This merc might not be as familiar with general audiences as Black Cat, but she has headlined more comics than her silver-haired colleague, with Silver Sable's ongoing series lasting 35 issues in the early '90s. Whatever pre-awareness Silver Sable doesn't have with the general audience could easily be made up for with an action-oriented trailer. If Marvel's not going to make "Black Widow," then maybe Sony can fill that void with "Silver Sable."
The success of the "Hunger Games" films could inspire Sony to build a film around another teenage girl that rises up to beat the odds and take on heroic levels of responsibility. The teenage Anya Corazon, one of Marvel's most prominent Latina super heroes, would make for a perfect lead character, and her struggle to mix homework with her newfound exoskeleton powers would make the movie feel closer in spirit to the more successful "Amazing Spider-Man." We also can't forget the power of May "Mayday" Parker, Peter Parker's teenage daughter in an alternate future timeline. As Spider-Girl, Mayday headlined an ongoing series for over a decade, evading numerous cancellations thanks to her devoted fanbase. Sony might not be willing to jump into the future and present a fully grown-up Peter, but they'd be wise to do something to tap into the popular Spider-Girl brand.
We could have another Quicksilver here. While yes, Jessica Drew's codename is entirely derivative of Peter Parker's, the character really fits in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Sony's Spider-Verse. Still, Sony most likely has some level of dibs on the character, meaning they could bring at least some iteration of her to life. The most likely couldn't use any of her history with the High Evolutionary or HYDRA, as they're firmly in MCU territory. They couldn't make her an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. or S.W.O.R.D., as the former is owned by Marvel and Fox probably owns the latter. Her vendetta against the Skrulls couldn't be fodder for film either... as those rights are possibly owned by Fox, or maybe Marvel. But Sony could at least use the Spider-Woman name -- even though the character debuted in a non-Spider-Man title, has nearly none of the same powers, and only appeared in maybe a dozen of the hundreds (and that's stretching it) Spider-Man comics published before 2010. If Sony exercises their right to Spider-Woman, it's entirely possible that Marvel will in turn exercise their right to Jessica Drew, Quicksilver-style. Still, Jess is one of the premier super heroines in the Marvel Universe, so Sony would be smart to use her, even if her big screen debut might be incredibly watered down compared to the comics.
Spoilers ahead for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", because here's a crazy thought. Just because the third act of this summer's Spidey sequel saw fit to include a tragically classic comic book moment doesn't mean Gwen Stacy's story is over. Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy was easily one of the best reviewed and received parts of both "Amazing" films, and leaving her six feet under would be a crime. Sony should capitalize on Stone's star power by positioning her as the lead in a super hero spinoff film; after all, a return from the dead via newfound super powers sounds like a solid start to an origin story. The studio could even choose to bring Gwen Stacy back as Spider-Woman, a moniker she'll soon be picking up in the Marvel Comics event "Spider-Verse." After all, fans have gone nuts over the new Spider-Woman's costume -- almost as nuts as they went over Stone's pitch perfect portrayal of the character on the big screen. Put Emma Stone in that ultra hip hooded Spider-Woman costume and watch the fans line up outside the theater.
Stay tuned to CBR News for more on Sony's upcoming Spider-Man movie plans.