Sony’s Spider-Man universe is getting a little bigger.
The studio, already in deep development on villain offshoot Venom, is now developing a feature project centered on the female characters Silver Sable and the Black Cat.
Chris Yost, who worked on the upcoming Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok, is writing the script, building on a previous version written by Lisa Joy, the co-creator of HBO’s Westworld.
The studio is hoping to go to directors soon with an eye toward a fall start date. Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal are producing the project, which was previously known as the "secret female spinoff project."
Silver Sable, created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz in 1985, is a mercenary who runs a company that hunts war criminals. The character has been both antagonist and ally to Spider-Man.
Black Cat, an acrobatic cat burglar whose real name is Felicia Hardy, has a long and tangled romantic history with Spider-Man in the comics. The character was cut from scripts for the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, and a "Felicia Hardy" (played by Felicity Jones) briefly appeared in Amazing Spider-Man 2, though no Black Cat connection was ever made explicit.
Sony has a new and rebooted Spider-Man movie coming this summer, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the superhero and his universe of characters are seen as a bright spot on a rather meager slate. But the problem with having rights to the character and universe is that, while Spider-Man is the most popular Marvel character, the other standouts tend to be the villains from his rogue’s gallery.
Hence, Sony is developing Venom, based on the popular character who already appeared onscreen in Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 and who has sometimes acted as an antihero in the Marvel comics. The studio has penciled in an October 2018 release and is meeting directors on the project.
Black Cat is a major supporting character in the Spider-Man universe, though Sable is less known.
(The spinoffs are not offshoots from the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming but rather projects spun from the overall franchise and based on Marvel’s Spider-Man universe.)
Yost has deep Marvel ties, having worked on not only two Thor movies, but also having gotten his start writing on Marvel animated series such as Wolverine and the X-Men. He is also known for comic book work on X-23, better known as Wolverine’s cloned daughter who is a headliner in the hit Wolverine movie Logan.