Could we finally be reaching a turning point where female directors are getting the chance to helm superhero movies? The Patty Jenkins-helmed Wonder Woman arrives in theaters next week, Marvel Studios just tapped Anna Boden to co-direct Captain Marvel, and now Sony Pictures has set a talented female filmmaker to helm one of its first Spider-Man spinoff movies. Per Variety, Beyond the Lights helmer Gina Prince-Bythewood has been set to direct Silver Sable and Black Cat, which could very well be the second Spideyverse film after Venom.
The film will team up the titular Marvel Comics characters—Silver Sable is a mercenary who hunts war criminals, while Black Cat is a burglar also known as Felicia Hardy. Sony previously looked to set up Black Cat with Felicity Jones playing Hardy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but the franchise was subsequently rebooted with this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, a co-production between Sony and Marvel Studios.
While the Sony/Marvel deal also includes a Homecoming sequel, Sony is also building out its own Marvel Universe that will exist separate from the Tom Holland-fronted Spider-Man movies, but will utilize other characters from the Spider-Man comics since that’s the only major superhero property Sony owns outright. It was recently announced that Tom Hardy will be leading the long-developing Venom movie with Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) directing, and that film is due for release next year.
In addition to directing, Prince-Bythewood will also rewrite the script for Silver Sable and Black Cat, which was most recently penned by Thor: Ragnarok scribe Chris Yost with a previous draft written by Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy. Prince-Bythewood is a veteran of the industry having broken out with her first feature Love & Basketball in 2000, and she also directed 2008’s The Secret Life of Bees. Recently she’s been working in television, spearheading the limited series Shots Fired, and she also has Marvel experience having recently helmed the pilot for the upcoming Freeform Marvel TV series Cloak & Dagger.
This is a major get for Prince-Bythewood and is a positive sign that studios are starting to hand the reigns to the most popular genre around to diverse voices. Ava DuVernay was famously courted for Marvel Studios’ Black Panther before turning it down, but with Jenkins, Boden, and now Prince-Bythewood, we’re hopefully seeing a trend.