Spider-Fans are no doubt still riding high on the fact that the cinematic version of their friendly neighborhood webslinger is finally safe in the hands of Marvel Studios. After all, if anyone can make a Spider-Man movie that could rival Sam Raimi’s 2004 effort, Spider-Man 2, which is still considered by many to be not only the best Spidey movie to date but even the best superhero movie to date, it’s Kevin Feige and his merry band of filmmakers. As the world waits with bated breath for Marvel to reveal the actor that will be taking up the Spider-Mantle, recent activities over at the House of Ideas have some people wondering if that female-centric movie set within the world of Spider-Man may be closer to becoming a reality. Specifically, some fans believe that a Spider-Gwen flick is on the horizon.
Before you get too excited here, this is all merely speculation and, at this point, the only “evidence” that this is even a possibility is Marvel CEO Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter’s decision to give the super fun Spider-Gwen an ongoing series. This move by Perlmutter, who is at least partially responsible for pretty much every smart decision Marvel has made within the past ten years, does happen to fall in line with the previously announced female led project revealed through the Sony leaks but before you hold your breath, there are a few other factors to consider here.
First, while Hollywood is finally on the right track when it comes to female led offerings, female led superhero movies are still a bit of a tough nut to crack. As a matter of fact, as revealed through the Sony leak, in an email from Perlmutter to Sony CEO Michael Lynton back in August of last year, Ike had a few doubts about making a female led comic book adaptation.
As we discussed on the phone, below are just a few examples. There are more.
1. Electra (Marvel) – Very bad idea and the end result was very, very bad. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=elektra.htm
2. Catwoman (WB/DC) – Catwoman was one of the most important female character within the Batman franchise. This film was a disaster. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=catwoman.htm
3. Supergirl – (DC) Supergirl was one of the most important female super hero in Superman franchise. This Movie came out in 1984 and did $14 million total domestic with opening weekend of $5.5 million. Again, another disaster.
The examples that Perlmutter mentions are definitely fair points when discussing the negatives of making a female led comic book flick. A couple of other examples would be the almost universally hated (but, still, somehow a cult favorite) Tank Girl, and Red Sonja, which was hoping to ride on the success of Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer but missed the mark in almost every respect. What Perlmutter forgets to mention, however, is the fact that these movies were poorly written and (mostly) poorly directed and that with the right writer(s) and director(s) behind the wheel, these properties could have been absolutely terrific.
There have been countless hours spent dissecting the films mentioned above and if you don’t know what’s wrong with them by now, no one here can help you. Basing the future of female led comic book adaptations (or lack thereof) on these failures, however, is a ridiculous notion. Right now, audiences are screaming for female centric comic book movie properties and while fans do have WB/DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Captain Marvel coming within the foreseeable future (June 23, 2017 and Nov 2, 2018, respectively), the future of superhero movies still seems more than a bit masculine. Of the 32 upcoming announced comic book adaptations from the Big Two (Marvel & DC), only two will carry female superhero titles. So, of course, there is still plenty of room for a well written Spider-Gwen film and there IS an untitled Spider-Man flick slated to hit theaters on July 28, 2017, that Spider-Gwen could fill quite nicely. Unfortunately, the Spider-Man universe has been steadily losing box office dollars with every entry and the chances of Sony/Marvel taking this opportunity to spend $100mil on another risky proposition is probably not in the cards.
Another factor to consider here is the fact that Marvel and Sony are actually trying to work together on these Spidey projects and while Sony may have confidence in Marvel’s ability to weave a blockbuster, at the end of the day, the characters belong to Sony and if reports are to be believed, this uneasy alliance is already causing issues within the Spider-Verse.
Among the several names being thrown around for the past few months, Ender’s Game’s Asa Butterfield has been mentioned as the frontrunner by almost anyone who is in the know. With the recent announcement that Butterfield is out of the running and that fans are no closer to learning the newest Spider-Man actor, reports are beginning to pop up indicating that the real reason behind the delay is that Sony and Marvel cannot agree on an actor. According to Meet The Press, who has sources close to the project, Marvel is set on Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Plummer, while Sony likes The Impossible’s Tom Holland. Personally, I feel that Holland is a bit too cool to play Peter Parker but, hey, no one is asking me.
This bit of tension is a bad sign, even if the houses haven’t gone full-on Capulet vs. Montague quite yet. If the studios are having this much trouble deciding on the actor to play the character, chances are that making a film together will likely be an uphill battle. With Spider-Man’s first MCU appearance rumored to be in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, which is currently DEEP into production, the studios have to make a decision quickly and most would agree that “quickly” isn’t the best way to make a multimillion dollar decision. From there, discussions as to how the characters in the Spider-Verse will be used in the future can begin, but for now, talking about a Spider-Gwen movie is putting the web before the spider.
Who is your top choice for Spider-Man? Would you watch a Spider-Gwen flick?