Having wowed with her breakout feature film Booksmart, Olivia Wilde is now zeroing in on the blockbuster realm. Deadline reports that she's set to make a female-led Marvel movie for Sony, which means it would stand apart from the Disney-distributed Marvel Cinematic Universe. The positioning of the film means it would align with the Sony-owned, but Marvel-affiliated, likes of Venom (the sequel for which arrives in 2021) and Morbius (also due for release next year).
Speculation is rife that Wilde will be tackling Spider-Woman. The news follows reports that director S.J. Clarkson (Game of Thrones) would be helming her own Spider-Man spin-off film, rumoured to be centering around Madame Web. Meanwhile, the forthcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 (due out in 2022) is set to expand on the relationship between Spider-Gwen/Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeld) and Miles Morales (Shameik Morales).
It's a sign of ongoing pressures within the industry to address the gender imbalance that's blighted so much of comic book cinema. Further righting the scales is this October's Black Widow, the solo movie debut for Scarlett Johansson's assassin, directed by Cate Shortland. And after that, we're getting The Eternals, directed by Chloe Zhao and starring Angelina Jolie, among others.
The Spider-Woman character has undergone various iterations since her Marvel debut in 1977. Initially conceived and designed by writer Archie Goodwin and artist Marie Severin, Spider-Woman first appeared as a spider who evolved into a human (known as Jessica Drew). It was then revealed that sinister organisation HYDRA (you'll remember them from the Captain America movies) had implanted Drew's memories of being a spider.
Booksmart demonstrated Wilde's ability to elicit terrific performances from her actors (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever), not to mention her skills in mixing absurd, surreal comedy with cutting emotional undercurrents. If she is confirmed as the Spider-Woman director, she can surely do justice to the character.
What do you make of the news? Let us know @Cineworld.