Ever since the explosion of comic book/superhero movies there has been calls for a female led movie. At times it has looked like no studio would take the chance on such a project, but there could now be a race to see who gets there first. There are three major players in comic book movies, the Disney owned Marvel Studios, DC/Warner Bros. and Sony who own the rights to Spider-Man (and many associated characters) thanks to license agreement between Marvel and Columbia (a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment).
Sony could be first out the blocks, it appears Amazing Spider-Man 3 has been pushed back and will follow a Sinister Six movie in 2016 and an female led spin-off possibly in 2017. Lisa Joy Nolan (Pushing Daisies, Burn Notice and the forthcoming Westworld) has been hired to write but no announcement has been made about who the main character will be. The most obvious options are Spider-Woman and Black Cat, the latter being the frontrunner as her alter ego, Felicia Hardy (Felicity Jones) was introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I know nothing about the character, a little research tells me she was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man No. 194 (1979) and has been both an adversary and love interest of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I know about as much (or little) about Spider-Woman. It appears several woman took the name, most notably Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter and Mattie Franklin. originally introduced in Marvel Spotlight #32 (Feb. 1977) she went on to have her own self-titled series (1978 – 1983).
DC have two options, Wonder Woman or Catwoman. A Catwoman movie is unlikely at this time thanks to the last attempt, Catwoman (2004). This leavers Wonder Woman. First appearing in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941, Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior princess, known in her homeland as Princess Diana of Themyscira, she uses the pseudonym Diana Prince. She has a range of superhuman powers and an array of weapons as you would expect for a comic book hero. Gal Gadot has been cast to play the part in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (set for release March 2016) with a possible Wonder Woman and Justice League movie to follow, no dates announced.
Marvel already have their character but don’t seem to know what to do with her: Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow made her first comic book appearance in Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964). She was introduced into the current Marvel film universe in Iron Man 2 (2010) played by Scarlett Johansson, also appearing in Avengers Assemble (2012) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and will appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Little more than window dressing in Iron Man 2, she and Clint Barton / Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) were the most interesting characters in Avengers Assemble and added a further dimension to the character in Captain America: The Winter Soldier this year. Anyone concerned about the star power of Scarlett Johansson should take a look at the numbers for Luc Besson’s Lucy.
Is it a question of who gets there first, or who gets it right? The success of the rubbish Transformers: Age of Extinction and the failure of the excellent Edge of Tomorrow there is more to success than quality. With budgets of up to $250million studios are more interested in fanatical success than art or critical acclaim. With this in mind, it isn’t a case of who has the best character, script or idea, but the one who thinks he can turn a profit. It might be a case of wait and see what the competition do.