While Marvel Studios is remaining tight-lipped about what films it has on the docket after Avengers 4, Sony Pictures is firming up its own plans for the Marvel Comics properties it still owns. Venom is coming our way this November with Tom Hardy in the lead role and Gina Prince-Bythewood is in line to direct the female-fronted Silver & Black, based on the Silver Sable and Black Cat comics. Now, however, Sony is aiming incredibly high as That Hashtag Show broke the news that none other than Spike Lee is circling the director’s chair on a Nightwatch movie, with THR confirming.
Sony’s Marvel properties are all connected to Spider-Man, as that’s the main character and IP that Sony still owns, and Nightwatch first appeared in a 1993 issue of Web of Spider-Man. The character is otherwise known as Doctor Kevin Trench, a man who witnessed a costumed crusader die battling terrorists, only to unmask the corpse to learn that it was an older version of himself. A time-travel story ensues.
Per THR, Lee’s involvement in a Nightwatch movie is incredibly early so there’s no guarantee this deal actually makes, but if he does sign on to direct he’d be working from a script by Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker and telling the story of an African-American superhero scientist.
It’s unclear how long Sony has been developing a Nightwatch movie but no doubt the insane box office success of Black Panther gave this project a hefty bump. The Marvel Studios film proved that audiences will not only show up to watch a blockbuster superhero movie with a black cast, but the film can become a bona fide phenomenon. Black Panther continues to break box office records, and if it takes the #1 slot this weekend it’ll be the first movie since Avatar to hold that position for five weeks in a row, and the first superhero movie in history to do so.
Lee is a legendary filmmaker in his own right, who burst onto the scene with ambitious films like Do the Right Thing and She’s Gotta Have It. Most recently Lee hasn’t really had much in the way of zeitgeist-capturing projects, but his Netflix adaptation of She’s Gotta Have It was a hit with critics and audiences alike and he’s currently in the midst of filming the feature Black Klansman with Corey Hawkins and Adam Driver.
Lee had success in the studio system with 2006’s underrated Inside Man, but his 2013 remake of Old Boy was frustratingly bland. Regardless, the mere prospect of Spike Lee making an African-American superhero movie is exciting, and it’ll be interesting to see how Nightwatch shapes up going forward.