The world is too big for one Spider hero.
You have to hand it to Sony. They're trying their best to turn the Spider-Man movies into a true franchise. In the years ahead, we can look forward to spinoffs focusing on the Sinister Six and Venom. And as we learned earlier today, Sony will even release a female-driven Spider-Man spinoff, likely in 2017. Considering that there aren't really any female-driven superhero films right now (at least until Wonder Woman gets her own movie), this is definitely a positive step forward for superheroes in Hollywood.
But the question right now is which female character will star in this untitled film? Sony only has access to very specific portions of the Marvel Universe, but the good news is that they still have plenty of options open. We've put together a lineup of five female characters who not only could star in the movie, but deserve to star in their own movie.
(Note that ultimately we don't know which characters Sony has at their disposal, and the studios tend not to be too open about such matters, but the following at least appear to be possibilities…)
Spider-Man doesn't have a lot of iconic female villains (Peter Parker isn't the type to punch a girl if he can help it), but he does have Black Cat. Black Cat is similar to Catwoman, both in the sense that she's a skilled thief who dresses with a cat motif and because she has a complicated and sometimes romantic relationship with Spidey. That's not to say Felicia Hardy is a carbon copy of Selina Kyle. She's a complex character who looks out mostly for herself and struggles to move forward from a rough youth.
A solo movie could be just what Black Cat needs to stand out and not be defined simply in terms of her connection to Spidey. Her troubled past could allow for a great conflict that avoids the usual superhero movie tropes. And her superhuman ability to conjure up good luck could result in some great heist and action sequences. Where Catwoman's solo movie stumbled, Black Cat's could hit all the right notes.
And don't forget, Felicity Jones appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has someone named Felicia… a pretty clear set-up for Black Cat.
Spider-Woman seems like an obvious choice for spinoff. Her name is marketable enough. But which version of Spider-Woman should make the cut?
We imagine the classic Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, is off limits to Sony. Her ties to the Spider-Man franchise have been pretty loose over the years, and she may fall under the Marvel Studios umbrella instead. But Sony could adapt the Ultimate Universe version of Jessica, who's actually a female clone of Peter Parker. Maybe a name change would be in order, but it could be a fun way to spin out from the core Spider-Man films without leaving Peter completely out of the picture.
Another option is Mattie Franklin, a heroine with a crush on Spider-Man who briefly filled in for the wallcrawler in the late '90s. She also has a father/daughter relationship with none other than J.Jonah Jameson, which could be an interesting way of introducing JJJ into this rebooted franchise. Then there's May "Mayday" Parker, the daughter of Peter and Mary Jane and the Spider-Girl of an alternate future universe. After X-Men: Days of Future Past, superhero fans might be open to more time-travel adventures.
There's even the Charlotte Witter version of Spider-Woman, a human/spider hybrid created by Doctor Octopus who stole the powers of the other Spider-Women. She might make for a good villain.
Speaking of which, the new movie could star Doctor Octopus. While the male version of Doc Ock is the one most Spidey fans are familiar with, there was also a female character named Carolyne Trainer that took up the mantle after her mentor Otto Octavius was (temporarily) killed in the late '90s. While the signature tentacles of Doctor Octopus have been glimpsed in the new Spider-Man films, we have yet to meet their owner. So who's to say Doc Ock couldn't be a woman in this universe?
Male or female, we really hope to see Doctor Octopus debut sooner rather than later. Always one of Spider-Man's best villains, Otto reached a new level of greatness thanks to the recent Superior Spider-Man comic, where he temporarily took over Peter Parker's body and tried his hand at the superhero game. Doc Ock was the best villain in the original Spider-Man trilogy, and he could easily achieve that same distinction in this franchise. But by going with the so-called "Lady Octopus," the producers could repeat that success while also taking the villain in a new direction.
There's also always the chance that Sony and the filmmakers will take another familiar Spidey character who's always been male in the comics and gender-swap them for the big screen…
Firestar will always have a special place in the hearts of many Spider-Man fans. She was created as a partner for Spidey and Iceman in the animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. What began as a way of circumventing the rights issues with the Human Torch resulted in a great new character in her own right. And while in the comics Angelica Jones is a mutant and now a member of the X-Men, there's no reason she can't thrive in a mutant-less Spider-Man universe.
Firestar's ongoing struggles to balance a desire for a normal life with the call of superheroism could make for a great superhero film. Like Peter Parker, Angelica struggles with the idea of "With great power must come great responsibility." And seeing as how the Human Torch starred in the most visually memorable sequences in the Fantastic Four films, we have little doubt that a Firestar movie could deliver some amazing action sequences.
Silk is a very new addition to the Spider-Man franchise, having just made her full comic book debut last month. But even with one issue to go on so far, it seems like she'll be a worthy addition to Spidey's mythos. So far, we've learned that Cindy Moon was also bitten by the radioactive spider that gave Peter Parker his amazing powers. But until now, Cindy has been kept in total isolation to protect her from the spider-devouring villain Morlun. Now freed by Peter, Cindy is currently exploring the world, her powers, and her growing attraction to Peter in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.
Despite her newbie status, Silk makes sense for a solo spinoff. Her origin makes her a logical offshoot of the main film series. The script won't have to waste much time explaining her superhero origin. And the fact that her spider-powers aren't identical to Peter's would allow the film to tackle new villains and new types of action sequences. And if a Silk spinoff eventually leads into a crossover where Cindy and Peter team up to battle Morlun, so much the better.
Who do you think the mysterious female character is that Sony has big plans for? Let's discuss respectfully and intelligently in the comments!
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.