Recently it was confirmed that Olivia Wilde, the actress turned filmmaker behind the heavily praised Booksmart film, will be directing an untitled female centred Marvel Movie for Sony. While nothing has been confirmed so far, Olivia’s cryptic spiderman logo tweet implies that the film will be about a Spidey character, leading many people to speculate that we will be getting our first-ever live-action Spiderwoman film.
Obviously, this begs the question of: which Spiderwoman will it be?
It could be the OG SpiderWoman, Jessica Drew who has a similar electric shock ability to Miles Morales and can glide through the air due to her superhero costume. Arriving in Marvel Comics in 1977, she has been through a lot: motherhood, losing her abilities, being a PI and she even was an Avenger at one point (which probably won’t happen for a while due to the rights issue).
Alternatively, there is the Spider-Gwen, who has recently become more popular and even appeared in the Into the Spiderverse film. Spider-Gwen is Gwen Stacy but not the one from Peter Parker’s early years shown in the Amazing Spiderman series. She’s from an alternate universe where she instead gets bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter and eventually becomes that world’s Spider-woman. Her popularity especially in Marvel animated series could persuade Sony to choose her as the main character for the film. There are also stories where Mary Jane or Peter’s daughter takes on the mantle of Spiderwoman in order to save the day when Peter can’t.
While these 3 options would be interesting to see, I think there are two spider characters that would not only be better in bringing further diversity into the superhero world, but also have more interesting stories which would work in a film setting. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jessica Drew and Spider-Gwen would be a good fit. Jessica would be a very interesting take in superhero world especially if they follow her later in life as a parent but I feel this would work better as a series. Meanwhile Gwen Stacy has already appeared enough in films and is probably going to be featured more in the Into the Spiderverse animated films anyway. Hence, Sony if you’re listening, I pitch these two characters instead.
(For transparency’s sake, I saw a tweet about one of the characters and looked her up before adding her to this. This was originally going to be about Silk).
First up Anya Corazon aka Spider-Girl or Araña. Not only would this character be perfect for more Latina representation, an adaptation of her origin story would look so cool and feel so different to the whole radioactive spider story arc. Anya, at least originally, gains her ability from a sorcerer of the Spider Society, a secret society that worship the Spider deities and trains Hunters to fight against another secret society called the Sisterhood of the Wasp. Yes, this story is out there but bear with me. Anya saving the sorcerer’s live is given these abilities as it is believed she is destined to join the Spider Society as a Hunter. She goes through the training, fights the Sisterhood and saves the day a couple of times only to find out that she was never meant to be a Hunter and has to give the ability away to the true Hunter.
A story following this, maybe toning down the ancient societies a bit, would really set this spider woman character apart from Peter and silence the haters. Alternatively, they could follow the story after she gives the powers away but still deciding to fight crime powerless. It would really be telling the story of if a superhero is a hero because of their abilities or because of their willingness to do good. If they do choose to do this, I think what they definitely have to input is part of the story of why she is called Spider-Girl instead of her original hero name Araña which is that certain people kept calling her a different name instead of learning her real name so she changed it to appease them (so relatable). They must also use her original Araña costume because that looked so cool.
Our second candidate, and my favourite choice, for this female centred Spiderfilm is Cindy Moon aka Silk. Again, there is important representation because the character is a Korean American and Asian representation in superhero films is very, VERY, low. In addition, her story, while closer to Peter’s is a lot darker, making it much more interesting.
Introduced in 2014, Cindy Moon was actually a classmate of Peter’s and was bitten by the same radioactive spider as he was. Why haven’t we heard of her? Well, after she gains her abilities a man called Ezekiel Sims shows up to teach her how to control it. Upon learning that her abilities were attracting a powerful villain by the name of Morlun, Sims locked her up in a tower where she could not be found. Of course, Cindy willingly stayed there afraid of the threat, however, Ezekiel died before Morlun was killed which means Cindy was unaware that she could be free. Eventually, Peter found out about the bunker and set her free and after a while, Cindy grew accustomed to the world and became the heroine, Silk.
I think if this character is used, they may have to change up the story a bit to keep it more self-contained within the film, but I think the character is still worth adapting. If I was in charge, I think the story would be a sort of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt meets Supergirl. There’s the element of trying to find your place in the world after losing your childhood and being stuck in a bunker. Plus there is also the learning how to become your own hero in the shadow of a greater well-known hero. You wouldn’t even need to cast a Spiderman but just have nods towards him. Yes, Silk’s character is very much linked to Spiderman in the comics but the film could be a way for to distance the character and make her anew much like with Miles Morales in Into the Spiderverse. (Since writing this I found out that Silk might be getting her own TV series which is epic and probably makes this section irrelevant as they are using the character anyway).
I know in the end Sony is probably going to play it safe and just bring in Spider-Gwen or if we’re lucky a Jessica Drew story. However, I just wanted to talk about the other options out there. Alternatively, they could do what they did with Tom Holland’s Spiderman where they borrowed from Miles Morales storyline to create a new and improved Peter. Maybe the Spiderwoman we get could be a unique mashup of the past iterations.