Olivia Wilde is set to direct a Marvel movie for Sony that centers around one of the female comic book characters controlled by the studio, with insiders pointing to Spider-Woman as the likely heroine.
Deadline reports that Wilde will co-write the superhero movie with her Booksmart partner Katie Silberman, and that Amy Pascal is onboard to produce, which seems to indicate that the property will indeed be related to Spider-Man. Rachel O’Connor will serve as an executive producer, and Gary Spinelli penned a previous draft of the script.
Spider-Woman has been used as the alter ego for several Spider-Man characters since the late ’70s, when Jessica Drew was first introduced as the character. Since then, Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy have taken up the moniker. It’s unclear which character is at the center of Wilde’s project, though I’ve always heard that Sony wanted to do something with Jessica Drew, since MJ and Gwen have already been introduced in past Spidey movies.
According to Deadline, Wilde was offered the Marvel movie earlier this year but her busy schedule nearly forced her to pass on the project at one point, as she’s set to follow Booksmart with the starry New Line thriller Don’t Worry Darling. She’s also developing the gymnast drama Perfect at Searchlight, and she and Silberman are already working with Pascal on a Christmas movie in the works at Universal that Deadline expects will go before this Marvel movie — so this Spider-Woman film is clearly a long ways off. Having said that, the chance to build a new female superhero movie from the ground up proved to be an opportunity that Wilde simply couldn’t resist. She’s a bold choice for a Spider-Woman movie, though part of me would’ve loved to see her direct Beanie Feldstein in a Faith movie based on the Valiant comic.
Wilde is the latest female filmmaker recruited to take the reins of one of Sony’s Marvel movies. S.J. Clarkson is developing a Madame Webb movie for the studio, which had also hired Gina Prince-Bythewood to direct a Black Cat and Silver Sable movie, though that project stalled out and it appears Sony is going back to the drawing board on that one.
Marvel has made its own concerted effort to hire more female filmmakers. After Anna Boden co-directed Captain Marvel, which grossed over a billion dollars, Kevin Feige hired Nia DaCosta (Candyman) to direct the sequel starring Brie Larson. Meanwhile, Chloe Zhao is in post-production on The Eternals, and several female directors have been lined up for various Marvel series in the works at Disney+.