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After spending years establishing herself as an impressively talented dramatic and comedic actor, Olivia Wilde entered a new phase of her career last year with the release of her directorial debut, the coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, and boy, did she make one hell of an impression. Not only did the film get rave reviews upon its release and has earn a sizeable fandom, but now Wilde has been enlisted as the latest filmmaker to get creative in the superhero genre. She is now is the process of working out a deal with Sony that could see her direct an untitled Marvel movie that is expected to center around Spider-Woman (or at the very least a character sporting the name "Spider-Woman")
This news comes to us from Deadline, which adds that in addition to having Olivia Wilde in the director's chair the project is also bringing aboard Booksmart writer Katie Silberman, who will be penning the script. What's not entirely clear at this point, as hinted above, is exactly what version of Spider-Woman will be featured in the blockbuster.
The original Spider-Woman was Jessica Drew – a character introduced to Marvel Comics in 1977 that wasn't created with any kind of significant tie to Spider-Man. Instead, her original origin involved her being injected by her father with a serum containing irradiated spiders' blood (though the story was later retconned to see her pregnant mother's womb hit by a laser containing DNA traits of several different species of spiders. Over the years she has worn a number of hats, including being a brainwashed HYDRA agent, a member of the Avengers, and a private detective.
Jessica Drew is the character that Marvel fans think of when they hear the name Spider-Woman, but what makes this development tricky is that there is another prominent hero who also goes by that name: the alternate universe Gwen Stacy who was bitten by a radioactive spider and is most commonly referred to as Spider-Gwen. Of course, while Spider-Gwen may be the name of her solo series comic, in the actual continuity the character goes by the moniker Spider-Woman (which is something that was notably included in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse during the character's official introduction).
Beyond those two established characters, we can't even say that Sony won't pursue another totally new direction, perhaps establishing a significant canon where Mary Jane Watson gains the powers of a spider.
We have a lot more questions at this point than answers, but it's worth noting that Sony is reportedly very excited to get the film made. According to the trade report, Olivia Wilde nearly passed because her slate is getting full, but she apparently ultimately decided that she couldn't give up the opportunity to launch a new female superhero on the big screen. Of course, given the way things currently are in the world, it's not entirely clear right now exactly when the project is going to get up on its feet. It's also notably now one of two live-action projects with a female protagonist now being developed in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, with the other being the Madame Web project that we learned about this past May.
We will keep you posted here on CinemaBlend with all of the latest news and updates about the film – but for now hit the comments with your thoughts on the project and answer our poll below!