Last month, we found out Booksmart director and TRON Legacy star Olivia Wilde would be taking the helm of a mysterious Marvel Comics project at Sony Pictures. It’s believed that the project in question is a Spider-Woman movie that doesn’t connect to any of the existing cinematic universes based on Marvel Comics. However, if a recent comment by Wilde is accurate, that hasn’t stopped Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige from being involved with the project in some capacity.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Wilde was inevitably asked about what fans can expect from this Marvel project she’s working on with her Booksmart writer Katie Silberman. Though she couldn’t even confirm that the project was based on Spider-Woman, even after tweeting a spider emoji following the news coming to light, she still appeared to give something away. Wilde said:
“All I can say is that this is by far the most exciting thing that’s happened to me because not only do I get to tell a story that – listen to me, trying to avoid Kevin Feige’s pellet gun. We are seeing this incredible influx of female directors and storytellers getting to take hold of this genre, this superhero space, and infuse it with their own perspective. Not only do I get to tell the story as a director, but I get to develop the story, and that was what made it so incredible for me. I get to do it with the aforementioned Katie Silberman. She and I love to do all sorts of things together, but our love started with Booksmart. To know that we went from telling a story about female friendship in high school to this other stratosphere now is just super exciting.”
That’s mostly a lot of tapdancing, but the mention of Kevin Feige is an intriguing one. Sony and Marvel famously had a spat about extending the deal to share the rights to Spider-Man so that they could work together on keeping the wallcrawler in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a little while longer. That deal was reforged but only in a limited capacity for one more Spider-Man movie and an appearance in another unknown title in the MCU. There has also been some discussion about Tom Holland’s Spider-Man eventually meeting up with Tom Hardy’s Venom at some point, but we’re not sure when/if that will happen. Either way, Kevin Feige’s further involvement with Spider-Man seemed to have an endpoint.
When reports about Olivia Wilde working on this secret Marvel project surfaced, it was said that her take on Spider-Woman would be a sort of “revamp” of what we’ve seen in the comic books. It hasn’t been confirmed which version of Spider-Woman might hit the big screen, but since Jessica Drew is the most popular version and the character has yet to be seen in a comic book movie, she seems like the best bet. Because of that description, this was believed to be a standalone movie, so maybe it won’t be connected to any of the other Spider-Man comic book adaptations. At least not yet.
So why would Kevin Feige be involved here? Could he be involved merely as a producer to help shepherd what could become a new franchise for Sony Pictures? Perhaps Wilde convinced Sony to let her bring Feige in to produce so she can work with the man who changed the game for comic book movies over the past decade. Or maybe Sony has expanded their partnership with Marvel Studios and we just don’t know it yet.
As for the rest of the Spider-Man universe projects, those all fall solely under Sony Pictures. In addition to the animated world of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, they’ve also been working on expanding the big screen presence of characters from the Spider-Man comics that Sony holds the rights to. That includes the upcoming but delayed Morbius starring Jared Leto, and a recently announced movie focused on the obscure supporting character Madame Web. However, Morbius seems to have connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe too, so how separate will Sony’s expanding roster of Spider-Man inspired movies really be?
Honestly, every new development that comes out of Sony Pictures regarding the the various Spider-Man franchises and spin-offs is more perplexing than the last. They’re hungry to take advantage of all the Spider-Man characters they have the rights to, but they don’t really seem to know what to do with them. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the only exception, but it took the genius of its filmmakers to make it happen. Perhaps trusting another up and coming auteur filmmaker like Olivia Wilde will yield even more favorable results.
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