Who is Spider-Woman? by Jerry Whitworth
In August, it was announced Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) has signed with Sony to direct a Marvel film set in the Spider-Man universe with a female lead. Joining their Spider-Man, Venom, and emerging Morbius brands (with the likes of Madame Web, Spider-Gwen, Silver Sable, Black Cat, Kraven the Hunter, Sinister Six, Silk, Nightwatch, and Jackpot in various degrees of development), the mystery project is speculated to feature original Spider-Woman Jessica Drew. Created to ensure Marvel had the rights to the name Spider-Woman (something they did again a few years later with She-Hulk for the Hulk) supposedly from hearing about Filmation’s development of what became a Web Woman animated series, the character is in a unique position among the alleged 900 properties Sony has licensed from Marvel. While Sony have the film rights for the Spider-Woman name and costume, Marvel retained the rights for the character’s backstory. Meaning, if done independently, Sony could produce a Spider-Woman superhero film with an entirely new backstory as Marvel could effectively produce a Jessica Drew project so long as she doesn’t don the iconic red and yellow costume or use the name ‘Spider-Woman.’ The situation is not unlike how both Fox and Marvel had their own versions of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch for their respective X-Men and Avengers brands. However, with the new working relationship between Marvel and Sony over Spider-Man, it’s believed part of this arrangement means a co-produced Spider-Woman film. This begs the surprisingly complicated question of who is Jessica Drew?