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?
What Could Have Been: Rebirth of the Incredible Hulk by Jerry Whitworth
With 1990’s The Death of the Incredible Hulk, television’s Incredible Hulk featuring Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk was, effectively, dead. While the film’s title alludes to this as being the desired effect, the truth was that a sequel essentially starting off a new series of television films was planned immediately afterward beginning with “Revenge of the Incredible Hulk.” Therein, Dr. Banner was revived and cured of his condition only to be forced to make gamma creatures. Banner would have been forced to repeat the experiment that turned him into the Hulk but Ferrigno claimed he would have retained his scientist mind after his transformations. Sadly, the ratings for Death were so bad, the sequel was shelved. A spin-off in She-Hulk was also planned to the degree filming had begun with former Baywatch star Mitzi Kapture as Jennifer Walters and volleyball player Gabrielle Reece as her green alter ego. Bixby returned as Dr. Banner who was forced to transfuse his blood to a dying Walters to save her life while afflicting her with the same gamma condition he suffered from throughout his television run. Studio executives, however, weren’t confident in Kapture’s star power and abandoned the project (leaving Kapture to become a star instead in the series Silk Stalkings). A She-Hulk film starring Brigitte Nielsen as the titular character was later put into development only to also be dropped. In the wake of the cancellations, Bixby managed to secure Fox (who had already picked up Marvel’s Power Pack pilot dropped by NBC) to produce another television film only for the star to then sadly die from prostate cancer in 1993. But, what could have a new Hulk television film meant for the future of that brand?
Since at least the time of Marc Webb’s Spider-Man films, Sony Pictures has desperately wanted to produce a Sinister Six movie. Toward that end, the Gentleman (who organized the Sinister Six in Adam-Troy Castro’s Sinister Six trilogy) was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) teasing Dr. Octopus, Vulture, and the Black Cat as the series featured the Lizard, Electro, Green Goblin, and the Rhino (subsequently, Webb confirmed the group would have included Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio). For the latest iteration of Spider-Man films, the likes of the Vulture, Shocker, Tinkerer, and Mysterio (whose elementals were based on the Sandman, Hydro-Man, Molten Man, and Cyclone) have been introduced as the civilian identities of the Scorpion, Prowler, Darter, and the Chameleon also emerged. While Venom 2 is filming featuring Carnage and Morbius is coming this summer, Kraven the Hunter is heavily rumored for the next Spider-Man film (as Norman Osborn is rumored to be in other Marvel Studios projects) leaving a wide breadth of Sinister Six candidates. Lets take a look at some of these characters.