Op-Ed

Sony doesn't need Spider-Man to make a female-led superhero movie

Gina Prince-Bythewood reveals why Silver & Black, featuring Silver Sable and Black Cat, never moved forward.

It’s been two years since Sony canceled plans to make Silver & Black, while the studio continued to move forward with Spider-Man spinoffs like Venom and Morbius. But with a new movie to promote, would-be Silver & Black director Gina Prince-Bythewood is finally speaking out on what went wrong with her superhero movie.

Her answer may come as a disappointing shock for anyone hopeful that Sony will eventually catch up with DC and Marvel by releasing a female-led superhero movie of its own set in its growing Spidey-universe.

Speaking with GamesRadar to promote her new movie, The Old Guard, Prince-Bythewood revealed that the path toward Sony’s first female-led feature was still uncertain and that the studio wasn’t sure the movie would even work without a certain web-slinging superhero. Here's what she said:

“My honest answer is I don't know. I really love those characters, I loved having them together. I thought, what we came up with was a really good, really organic way to have the two together. That world is changing so much because of the success of the Spider-Man films. There's a question of, 'Can you really have these films with Spider-Man not in them? Should he at least have some sort of part in them?' That's always the question.”
Black Cat and her thieving ways.Marvel

The excuse that Spider-Man is necessary for a Silver & Black is flimsy at best, especially given the success of Venom. There may be wanted posters of Spider-Man littered throughout Morbius, but the friendly neighborhood superhero won't be a major part of that film either. That didn't stop Sony from bankrolling the movie, so why would Silver & Black be any different?

What’s more, the critical praise heaped upon Birds of Prey proves female characters don't have to be connected to their male counterparts to work (the movie's box office failures seem to be a marketing issue more than anything else). When Warner Bros. first announced that film, some were skeptical that Harley Quinn could sell tickets without the Joker. After all, the two were often inseparable, and the Joker historically dominated their toxic relationship.

However, Birds of Prey, which included a memorable cast of female characters, turned out pretty great. It could even be argued that the movie told a more effective story because the Joker wasn’t involved, instead shining a light into other corners of Gotham City.

Silver Sable is an interesting character who doesn't need to have Spider-Man around.Marvel

Silver Sable and Black Cat, both of whom have been allies and enemies to Spider-Man in the past, can carry a movie in their own right too. In the comics, Silver Sable is a skilled mercenary and hunter of war criminals, while Black Cat has the ability to bring bad luck to her adversaries and is a highly-trained fighter and thief. There’s no doubt that they would have made an amazing team in a live-action adventure.

Ultimately, the idea that Silver & Black wouldn’t work without a male hero is backward-looking and rooted in the outdated notion that female-led superhero movies won’t be as popular or make as much money. Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel alone blow that myth right out of the water. For now, there doesn’t seem to be a future for Silver & Black. Either way, Sony needs to come up with a better excuse.

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