Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man Franchise Plans, Part Three: The Female Superhero Spin-Off

SpideyWomenSo after reading those Sony e-mails which were hacked last December and posted by WikiLeaks during the past week, we’ve seen one marketing executive’s proposal for future Spider-Man films, and that based on what Drew Goddard was proposing for his Sinister Six movie, he was either an ambitious, mad film-making genius or was just plain mad. However, as was rumored last summer, there was superhero film Sony had planned which could potentially beat both Marvel Studios and DC/Warner Brothers to the punch—a Spider-Man spin-off staring a female superhero, or an all-female superhero team.  The question was who, or whom, would those characters be?

Sony code-named this proposed superheroine Spider-Man spin-off project “Glass Ceiling,” which included a packet containing bios, images, and comics of possible characters to consider. In an e-mail sent to actor and director Paul Feig dated March 20, 2014, Amy Pascal appears to have been ecstatic over the proposed film:


In another of Pascal’s e-mail dated May 5, 2014 to producer Matt Tolmech, when she wasn’t expressing concerns over not wanting the Sinister Six film to cost over budget, and how they could gently tell producer Avi Arad “he needed to take a back seat…because he isnt good or no one likes him,” Sony appeared to be exploring several options, especially given the reception towards The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

we do need to lay out release  schudule [sic] targets for all these movies….sinister six in june of 2016
venom maybe  october 2016 or spring of 2017.  even im being real i dont really know when a spiderman 3 goes at this point….is it summer 2017 fall 2017 is it 2018 …in a way i dont really see it before then…and then of course what  is  it? spidey now fights the sinister six? or venom? who directs it?when do we need them? we need to  think  about budgets for these  movies…..i dont want to   spend 200plus on sinister six…..we need drew [to] knowthat [sic] ….. what about venom im seeing that in the lower range of these movies and the same wit girl  version….im worried we have [too many] of [the] same charracters [sic] in ss and peoplle [sic] are gonna say  same old  same  old….i know we can t have ss in 2016 and spiderman in 20117? am i right?

However, there was one character Sony appeared to have settled on, a character who would not only be the lead for an Amazing Spider-Man spin-off film, but also a spin-off, if not a direct sequel, for The Sinister Six. Someone who could also lead a team of her own. That female superhero was…

SilverSableSilver Sable!

Yes, Spidey-fans, the gun-toting, blade-throwing, platinum blonde mercenary from the fictional European country of Symkaria was going to get her own comic book movie. And she would also be leading a version of the Wild Pack made-up predominately of female members.

As I mentioned at the end of “Part Two,” screenwriter Lisa Joy, who did previous work on television shows such as Pushing Daisies and Burn Notice was hired to write the script, and she appears to have been just as enthusiastic about the project, as well. Or least she would indicate as such when Sony decided to give Deadline writer Anita Busch an exclusive. Based off a July 31, 2014 e-mail exchange, Joy, Pascal, and executive Rachel O’Connor were considering the following talking points for Joy to tell Busch:

O’Connor: i spoke to lisa about the anita piece. she is happy to talk or NOT talk to anita — whatever you prefer. she’s so sweet and if she did talk to anita would really just want to underscore that this was idea you brought to her because you loved it and were excited about not in some cynical reaction to post comicon calls for a female super hero movie. if you want her to speak to anita, she was thinking of saying something along these lines:

Joy: As a first-generation Asian American woman and, in general, a bit of a dork, I spent much of my childhood feeling like an outsider.   The superhero stories and myths I loved and continue to love the most were stories I could relate to:  stories that showed how even the unlikeliest of candidates, the most overlooked and underestimated of people could surmount great odds and become heroes.

When Amy told me she wanted to tell the story of Silver Sable and her motley crew — I knew it was a chance to make the kind of movie and write the kind of heroines and heroes I’ve been waiting my whole life to see.

It’s their character journeys — their struggles both internal and external that interest me most creatively.
We’re weaving classic heroes from the Spidey-verse into an epic modern mythology infused with fresh voices,  a fresh perspective, and a villain the likes of which has never before been seen on film.

And when the published article entitled “Sony Launches Female Superhero Movie Mining Spider-Man Universe” was published, the folks at Sony were quite pleased:

Jean Guerin [Vice President of Media Relations] to Amy Pascal:

Hi Amy,

Overall, it makes us — YOU– look very smart.

Love these pieces of it…

“It was only a matter of time that someone would announce a female superhero movie — and it happens to be SONY who is the first out of the gate.”

“This is a wise move for Sony because it’s capitalizing not only on the audience’s changing appetite, but also the studio is digging into its powerful asset base and mining other characters — thereby extending the asset and keeping the rights.”

“(Amy and Michael [Lynton])… are clearly making aggressive moves in a concerted effort to right the ship.”

Don’t like some other jabs.

So who was Sony considering to play the lead? Well, not only was Sony considering Rose Byrne as a possible choice for playing Black Cat in The Sinister Six, she was their top choice to play Silver Sable; so much so that Joy and O’Connor were “obsessed with her” for the part. As for Sable’s “motley crew,” the characters Lisa Joy and Sony were considering included:

  • The Black Cat. Yes, Sony thought about having Felicia Hardy in this movie, as well.
  • Angelina Brancale, aka Stunner. Who, as Clone Saga aficionados can tell you, was a video-game store clerk given a makeover and super strength via virtual reality courtesy of her boyfriend, Doctor Octopus. In explaining the concept behind her to Tolmach, O’Connor, describes Stunner as: “think Jillian bell whose alter ego is Eva Mendes.”
  • Raul Quentino. In this version, is described as “the only member of silver’s father’s team who [was] left behind/ the rock in a wheelchair who is now the Q of sable industries.”
  • Obax Majid, aka Lightbright, a Somali mutant who could fly, manipulate light and heat, and, according to Marvel’s official bio, “emits…a glow which can calm people.”
  • And everyone’s favorite nano-tech-powered getaway driver from The Superior Foes of Spider-ManOverdrive. Or, if not him, “some other ‘token’ male character who’s underestimated and left behind by the villain.”

Sony was also aware of Sable and Sandman’s past partnership in the comics, as Pascal, in a September 12, 2014 e-mail, wrote to writer/director Drew Goddard, “[Sable] could find sandman very annoying.”

MisterNegativeAs for the villain for the movie, Joy was thinking Sable and her Wild Pack could go up against at least two of them, one of whom would be…Mister Negative.

Now at this point, you’re probably thinking to yourselves that while there does appear to be a few potentially oddities here and there, there’s nothing which seems all that crazy. If anything, a Silver Sable movie could be a kick-ass version of Charlie’s Angels with superpowers. But what if I told you that Sable, as a prerequisite of any potential Hollywood summer blockbuster, also has some daddy issues?

Silver wants nothing more than to be in the WIld Pack…but her father has her heading up recruiting — she’s frustrated, doesn’t realize her father is trying to teach her something about leading that she will learn later.

That “later” would be Sable having no choice but to go on a rescue mission to save her dad and assembling her own team. Though there appear to have been a few folks at Sony who thought her dad was Silvermane instead of Ernst Sablinova based on this September 12, 2014 e-mail to Pascal.  Understandable considering how Sable’s father was Silvermane in the Sony produced Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon series.

Also, remember how I said a few paragraphs ago how Silver Sable wouldn’t just be an Amazing Spider-Man spin-off, but also would be a spin-off, if not a sequel, for The Sinister Six? Because along with recruiting potential heroes to help her save her dad, she was also assembling the Wild Pack to save Spider-Man. And the other villain working alongside Mr. Negative would be none other than…Doctor Octopus. Or at least, according to Joy, “some other villain we can borrow for sin six.”

So what, you may ask, was Doc Ock doing in this movie?

silver sable’s father and the wild pack are taken out early on along with spiderman by the villain (possibly Ock trying to retrieve find a n alive version of his wife in a parallel universe starts the movie by trapping the people he expects to get in his way i.e.; spiderman, silver sable sr., will have to think of some others).

That’s right kids—even more wacky shenanigans involving Pandora’s Box and inter-dimensional rifts in the fabric of time and space!

In addition, this would also be used to underscore yet another prerequisite of any potential Hollywood blockbuster—the group of misfits and underdogs who come together for a common cause:

Our heroes are the ones who are left behind, those who are underestimated… Big theme of the s up to sable to assemble her own wild pack and stop mr. Negative and Ock or whoever opened the portal.

And there’s more. When Sable and her Wild Pack first go up against Mr. Negative, things wouldn’t go very well, until Spider-Man would swing in to save our heroes. However, this Spidey wasn’t the same one Doc Ock captured; this Spidey came with a bit of a twist:

Negative he brings out their opposite nature.Likes the idea that when silver’s wild pack faces their first battle and are getting there asses kicked when spiderman shows up to get them out of jam. But when she takes off her mask reveal its a woman.

Edge of Spider-Verse Vol 1 2That’s right—not only was this going to be a Silver Sable movie, this was technically going to be a Spider-Woman movie, as well. A Spider-Woman who, to quote from Lisa Joy’s idea: “slipped through portal opened by the villain,” from a parallel universe in which there was “maybe no spiderman, no peter and gwen romance in her reality.” And I’m sure you’ve already guessed who Sony was thinking about for who this Spider-Woman could be…Gwen Stacy!

As I’m sure some of you having read that Bleeding Cool article from last week know, the folks at Sony were already thinking about coming up with their own version of “Spider-Gwen” right around the same time as when Dan Slott, Jason Lautor, and Robbi Rodriguez were planning on having her appear in “Spider-Verse.”   Apparently, Lisa Joy came up with this idea after watching the premiere of The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

congrats on a fantastic opening weekend! Jonah and I snuck out for a date night to see the movie and had a blast. RIP Gwen Stacy — gone but never forgotten. Can we bring her back as Spiderwoman? Or can I just be best friends with Emma Stone?

Also, in that same May 5, 2014 e-mail I quoted from earlier, were Pascal was wondering where The Amazing Spider-Man franchise could go, the idea of a Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman was also on her mind:

does spider girl just fit in where it fits in ?if and when  it comes to fruition? do you produce it alone?  with avi? does anyone have time  to really even t hink  about it?

does emma come back  as spidergirl(no?) does gwen come back as another charaacter? should black cat be the main  character? is it silver sable  and cat and spider girl  and stunner ? do we bring in whole gang alex [Kurtzman] jeff [Blake] ed and drew [goddard] (that seems nuts) just you [Andrew Tolmach] and drew? someone else?

is it siniser than venom and girls in 2017 and spiderman in 2018….will we live that long? can you evendo t hat?

At least the idea of having Emma Stone reprising her role as Gwen Stacy, albeit one from another dimension who had spider-powers, isn’t nearly as outlandish as what Sony was initially thinking of doing with Gwen according to this November 18, 2013 e-mail:

We were just talking about the fact she doesn’t have her next movie and she really wants to play a “bitch”… we started talking about how Gwen Stacey comes back as Carnage in one of the comics. We had a good giggle looking at the sexy red Gwen/Carnage images on line. Definitely a thought to consider for the future… could be really cool/sexy/intense to see her and Spidey fight. Or her and MJ…

Yep, just like that Carnage story from the Ultimate Spider-Man comic. Thanks, Brian Michael Bendis!

However, Pascal would have other concerns once the Sinister Six and Silver Sable projects were underway, especially once Sony was in talks with Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige. Mainly that, what with potentially having Spider-Man and various characters be mixed up in alternate realities, Pandora’s Box, and creatures from another plane of existence in two different movies, whether or not it was becoming too much like another Marvel Universe character:

Obviously about what is the genie Sin SIx unless from Pandora that they have to put back in the discussed, I’m worried dr. strange may also be exploring the characters ability to manipulate dimensions and parallel worlds. Maybe ask Kevin to tell you about Dr. Strange (JULY /8/16)…since they come out before sin six or the lisa joy we have to be careful about any possible similarities?curious what the movie they have scheduled btw dr. strange and guardian s 2 is , Untitled Marvel on 5/5/17…i would ask him what he thinks about recasting, he talks about it the press vis a vis Ironman but hasn’t really done it with a main character (except the hulk, but those movies weren’t that big)i also don’t know if you ever told him about the animation idea or feel ready to.

And if you’ve been following the news posted on the front page and across the internet, we now know what the result of that “animation idea” became, don’t we?

(18) Comments

  1. Pingback: Sony Goes For Hail Mary, Announces ‘The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’ Movies – Spider Man Crawlspace

  2. Stillanerd - Post author

    @#4 Cheesedique -- Thanks, Cheesedique! :) And thank you, everybody, for all the great compliments I've been getting on all three of these articles. @#10 Mr Fig -- Based on what WikiLeaks has archived, Mr. Fig, most of them relating to Spider-Man do date back to around 2013. Not sure though when the earliest of the Sony emails dates to, though. #9 @RDMacQ -- That's exactly what I've gleaned from these emails as well. Sony knew Emma Stone as Gwen and her genuine chemistry with Andrew Garfield was the strongest selling point. Not to mention I believe that, like Garfield, she had a three film commitment when it came to Spider-Man, and the question was if they were killing Gwen off in the second, how were they going to bring her back in the third? Hence the whole "Let's bring her back as Carnage!" or "Let's bring her back as Spider-Girl!"

  3. DCordo74

    I would have preferred that the director and leading actress didn't undermine MJ in order to do that. By spreading shit like: "Gwen loved Peter, and MJ loved Spider-man" or my favorite which was said by the bloody director, "In the comics, Gwen loved Peter and MJ chased after Spider, Gwen loved Peter despite the fact that he was Spider-man." How the fuck did he get this job? Lol. I would have also preferred if they didn't steal MJ's relationship with Peter to make Gwen relevant. But such is life. And now the public confuses Gwen with MJ. And it annoys me. Ok...I feel too many emotions about this.

  4. Ben

    @14 - Yeah, exactly. Would you really have cared about Gwen’s death if you’d just watched a 100% accurate depiction of her go nowhere character arc and dull romance she has with Peter in the comics unfold over two movies?

  5. DCordo74

    @13 So...if she had been portrayed anything like the actual Gwen Stacy, no one would have cared? Lol.

  6. Ben

    @12 - I think Emma Stone was chosen to be Gwen because she’s such a likeable personality, it was probably designed that way to make her death seem more impactful. If they’d chosen a bland actress to play Gwen no one would have cared when her big death scene happened because no one would have been invested in the character. Garfield’s performance in ASM2 is interesting because unlike most other comic book movie leads, who usually seem more comfortable/act better when they’re in the civilian identity (i.e Bale as Batman, Downey Jr, Maguire), Garfield was actually more enjoyable when he was in the costume.

  7. DCordo74

    @9 I didn't say casting Emma Stone was a bad decision. I said casting her as Gwen Stacy was a bad move. Gwen Stacy dies, that's her whole point in the narrative. They knew that, she was chosen for that reason. They shouldn't have cast a charismatic and lovable actress as the character who SHOULD die. But that's just me. I agree. They sidelined Andrew Garfield. But he lost his grip on who Peter Parker was, whether it be lack of direction or piss poor writing, who knows? But he didn't feel like Peter Parker AT ALL during the second film. He just seemed like he was there to progress Sony's story plans and franchise. And not be a character in his own right. He was there to move Gwen's death along, Harry's story along, and his parent's story along. It was frustrating. They relied to heavily on Gwemma Stone's charm and chemistry. It's fairly obvious that they had NO IDEA who Peter Parker was. Otherwise the parents story line would have been dropped before they made Peter "destined" to be Spider-man. He's just some dude from Queens that got bit. He's motivated by responsibility. His uncle dies because he didn't intervene. It's simple, they overcomplicated it. But whatever...they're over. Let's see if Marvel can rein Sony in.

  8. Frontier

    @#9 - It doesn't help that Emma Stone's performance, and her chemistry with Andrew Garfield, were one of the only aspects in the Amazing movies that had a majority of positive reception too it from both general audiences and critics. I agree that the movies shouldn't have hinged on that, but it's how things ended up and partially why we're not getting another Amazing movie.

  9. Mr Fig

    I'm curious, does anyone know how far back these email leaks go? For the most part it seems like 2013 or 2014. It would be interesting if they went even farther back.

  10. RDMacQ

    @#5- There's nothing really wrong with casting Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. From the reaction alone, it shows that it was one of the better moves by the creators. The problems came from behind the scenes, when the creative parties clearly became too enamored with her character to the point where they were planning on hinging practically half of the franchise around it. I get it- Emma Stone is a great actress, and she put in a great performance. But the series is about Spider-Man, not Gwen Stacy. So it should have been about him.

  11. Phantom Roxas

    I'd have taken Carnage!Gwen, because if they got Orci and Kurtzman, I wouldn't put it past them to use the symbiote as a means to revive her. Definitely better than trying all the parallel universe stuff. Then again, them having come up with Spider-Gwen before the team that made her comic sounds fine with me.

  12. hornacek

    "“he needed to take a back seat…because he isnt good or no one likes him" Aw, that's mean. Wait, they're talking about Avi Arad? Never mind. :P From the description of the Silver Sable movie (forming a team, learning about leading a team) it seems like someone *really* liked The Avengers movie.

  13. DCordo74

    The amount of hoops they were gonna jump through for Gwen Stacy. Lol. And that ladies and gentlemen is why you should never have cast Emma Stone as the "one who dies". That's kind of Gwen's narrative. Otherwise why else have her at all?

  14. Cheesedique

    Not really feeling the idea of Silver Sable movie, and I'm not sure she could carry her own film. Not without totally re-arranging and dismantling the character, which Joy and Pascal sound like they were more than willing to do. I think most of these people behind Sony Spidey had good intentions, but these articles make me really, really glad Spider-man is back at Marvel where he belongs. Also, these articles have kicked ass! Thanks for taking the time to put these together, Stillanerd. Great work!

  15. Ben

    "RIP Gwen Stacy — gone but never forgotten. Can we bring her back as Spiderwoman? Or can I just be best friends with Emma Stone?” - To be fair, that entire sentence sounds more like a joke than an actual request. But all of this stuff is just seriously weird. Stunner and Mister Negative, errughghh!

  16. RDMacQ

    Jeez... we GET it. Emma Stone was great in the role. But can we please stop obsessing about Gwen Stacey already? Emma did a great job- that doesn't make the character some revolutionary figure to base an entire franchise on. With the Spider-Woman proposal, PLUS the whole Spider-Man 1.5 nonsense, it really shows why it's a good thing that Spider-Man is back in the hands of Marvel, since the creative parties couldn't seem to get past this ONE aspect of the series to the point of hinging the ENTIRE franchise around her in several ways.

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