While the upcoming Venom movie had been rumored for awhile, there’s also some Spider-Man spin-off news you likely never saw coming: According to the Hollywood Reporter, it seems that long time Spider enemy turned love interest The Black Cat is getting a movie, along with longtime Spider-Man ally (and also sometimes nemesis) the Silver Sable. While Warner Brothers may be teaming up their female Batman villains for Gotham City Sirens, it seems Sony had this little ace up their sleeve involving the super women in Peter Parker’s life.
Writer Chris Yost, who has long worked for Marvel and created a very popular version of X-Force, as well as having worked on the upcoming Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok, is writing the script. The current script is being built on a previous version written by Lisa Joy, the co-creator of HBO’s Westworld. This was previously known as the “secret female spinoff project,” and now we know it’s these two platinum blonde femme fatales.
Like Venom, this project has a tentative fall start date for production, but here’s the catch that could make this whole thing suddenly seem like a bad idea: neither of them are said to have any ties to Marvel’s upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, or the overall MCU. While that might change, right now that’s seems to be the plan.
Hopefully, Sony will work something out so these characters can remain, at the very least, tangentially related to the Spider-verse. Someone should point out that time Warner Brothers decided to make a Catwoman movie totally divorced from the Batman mythology, and remind them of just how well that little movie turned out for them. In the meantime, here are some Marvel Comics that should serve as inspiration to the producers, and serve a primer for fans looking to know more about both these formidable ladies.
Although initially created as a Catwoman-like, sexy cat burglar villain for Spider-Man to fight back in 1979, much like her DC counterpart, Felicia Hardy had a soft spot for the hero she battled the most. Eventually, Felicia got romantically involved with Spidey, and she learned his true identity long before his main squeeze Mary Jane ever did. Over the years, she has had several stories which focused on her and developed her backstory, making her way more than just “Marvel’s Catwoman.”
It should be noted, not all of these characterizations over the years have been exactly feminist. For example, after she and Peter Parker dated, they broke up for some time, and she gave up her costumed identity. Eventually she returned to her Black Cat persona, went to seek out Peter, and when she learned that Peter had married Mary Jane Watson, was very angry and jealous. Felicia then began harassing the couple, taunting Peter as she dated his friend Flash Thompson. She even began physically threatening Mary Jane, confronting her and swearing to ruin their marriage. This is the kind of depiction of her I hope we don’t see. But there are more positive examples of Black Cat, like the following comic series:
Civil War: Heroes for Hire (2007)
A series that painted Felicia in a better light was 2007’s Civil War: Heroes for Hire. As the civil war between Iron Man and Captain America was at its peak in the Marvel Universe, an rag tag group of heroes joined forces together to track down and capture criminals who refused to sign the Super Human Registration Act. Among those heroes were Misty Knight and Colleen Wing (who have received new fame due to their use on Netflix series Luke Cage and Iron Fist), and the Black Cat.
In the series, Misty Knight never really believes that Felicia is in this for any other reason than the money, which creates a bit of tension between the two. But it’s one of the few Black Cat stories that doesn’t revolve around whether or not she loves/hates Spider-Man, and shows how badass Miss Hardy can be in a fight. Considering this potential movies deals with Black Cat working with, and maybe taking orders from, another hero, maybe this book should serve as inspiration to the film’s producers.
Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do
This mini-series from Kevin Smith and artists Terry and Rachel Dodson is notorious for how long it took to come out. Only six issues long, it began in 2002 and didn’t end until 2006. Although the series is kind of just OK overall, it did give Felicia Hardy a serious new motivation for why she is the Black Cat in the first place. Towards the end of the series, flashbacks reveal that Felicia was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend as a freshman in college. She never reported the rape – as many real life women sadly don’t – and instead trained in different fighting techniques, hoping to get revenge on her attacker.
Robbing Felicia of her revenge, her attacker dies in a car accident before she fulfills her mission to see him brought to justice. Of course, something like this backstory would have to be handled really delicately, because it can become exploitation in the wrong hands. But if handled properly, we could see a heroine who has survived something many real women go through, and come out the other side stronger.
Silver Sable, real name Silver Sablinova, made her debut in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man not too many years after Black Cat. Portrayed as a European mercenary and a hunter of war criminals, as well as the leader of the Wild Pack, she also became the CEO of Silver Sable International. After many appearances in Spidey books as well as in the pages of Captain America, she graduated to her own title in the early ’90s.
Silver Sable and the Wild Pack (1992-1995)
Marvel Comics gave their notorious and deadly bounty hunter her own series called Silver Sable & The Wild Pack in 1992, written by Gregory Wright and penciled by Steven Butler. This series lasted for 35 issues and three years, and although dated in many ways, it is an early example of showing a woman in charge of a team and headlining her own book.
In the series, she originally focused on bringing Nazi war criminals and other terrorists to justice, as payment for the crimes they had inflicted on her family. And who doesn’t like seeing a mercenary going after Nazis? (especially these days). This alone should be a good foundation for any movie depiction of Silver Sable. It’s not collected in any trade paperbacks, but back issues shouldn’t be hard to find online or at your local comic shop.
Sable and Fortune #1-4 (2006)
This is a mini from 2006, which sadly is also not in print, but is worth hunting down the back issues. In this four-part limited series, Sable finds out about a traitor within her Wild Pack, and hires a cocky private detective named Dominic Fortune to find out who it is. Fortune is out to prove himself, and make a name in the world of international espionage.
And at this point in her history, Sable has been branded a bit of a has-been, and Fortune is a rising star, so the tension is palpable between the two. But of course, Sable comes out on top and shows him that she’s nobody’s has been. Written by Brendan Cahill and drawn by British artist John Burns, this comic shows readers even more of how badass Sable is, including when working with a partner.
Which Marvel books do you think would be good source material for a Black Cat/Silver Sable movie? Let us know down below in the comments.
Images: Marvel Comics