Will Marvel’s Silver & Black & Sony’s Spider-man Spin-Off ever be made?

Silver & Black is an unproduced American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters Silver Sable and Black Cat. It was to be produced by Columbia but what happened? Who owns the rights and why is nothing being done to put things right?

In the late 2010s, Sony passed on the chance to have Prince-Bythewood deliver a Marvel Comics adaptation when it canned Silver & Black.

Whilst The Woman King, director Gina Prince-Bythewood has solidified her status as a filmmaker who can deliver films that are as lucrative as they are acclaimed. Considering this success as well as how her 2020 title, The Old Guard, spawned a franchise and how the cult following surrounding her 2000 feature Love & Basketball continues to grow, it may sound absurd that anyone would ever reject a passion project from this filmmaker?

When Did ‘Silver & Black’s Development Begin?

In 2013, Sony Pictures began development on a female-centric Spider-Man spinoff set to feature Felica Hardy, aka the Black Cat, who was played by Felicity Jones in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The original script, written by Lisa Joy, survived the Sony/Disney deal and evolved over the years as new writers put their own spin on it until finally, in 2017, Gina Prince-Bythewood, who had been hired to direct what had now become Silver and Black, went to work on finalizing the script. Production on the film was set to begin in March of 2018 in preparation for a February 2019 release, but was delayed as Prince-Bythewood continued to tweak the script to her liking. By August of 2018, Silver and Black was dead with Sony planning instead to make two films, one for Felicia Hardy’s Black Cat and one for Silver Sable. In April of 2020, Prince-Bythewood indicated that Sony had, once again, shifted gears on the project, now hoping to develop it as a limited streaming series which she indicated might be headed for Disney Plus (I’m not entirely sure that’s possible). Alas, here we are, in June of 2020 with neither a Silver nor a Black and no indication that we’ll ever see one, the other, or both. In it’s place, I offer a look at what the film might have been had in gone into production in March of 2018.

This information is based on conversations with people who had knowledge of the film’s direction as of early 2018, so while it may not have been the way the film ended up working out since the director was still rewriting it, it is the best we are going to get right now. I will also attempt to determine who and what was removed and added based on conversations with people who were privy to info about the film’s direction before Prince-Bythewood began her rewrites.

Let’s go back to the announcement of Silver & Black, a project that was planned to star Silver Sable and Black Cat. The production was intended to be another instance of Sony showing it could still make Marvel Comics adaptations divorced from Marvel Studios. The first Tom Hardy Venom movie was announced at this same time while the impending release of Spider-Man: Homecoming that summer added extra urgency to Sony’s desire for more superhero movies. It wanted to make sure it proved to the world that it didn’t need Kevin Feige to make lucrative Marvel adaptations.

At this point, the only figure connected to the project was screenwriter Christopher Yost, a veteran of Marvel properties thanks to his work in the company’s comics division, TV cartoons, and even MCU movies with his screenplay credits on the first two Thor sequels. Just two months later, Gina Prince-Bythewood would be hired to direct this blockbuster. A few weeks after signing onto the film, Prince-Bythewood revealed that she was so passionate about the concept behind Silver & Black that she had put another separate project she’d been toying with on the backburner once she received the screenplay for this blockbuster. Other films could wait. This filmmaker had a specific vision of big-budget cinema to execute.

What Would ‘Silver & Black’ Have Looked Like?

Gina Prince-Bythewood also revealed that she was penning a new draft of the screenplay while Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins had apparently offered advice to Prince-Bythewood on how to navigate the world of superhero cinema. A month later, further details were revealed on what Silver & Black would look like when it was revealed that the mold for this project was a classic buddy movie. It was a type of story that had always worked well in cinema: two people who shouldn’t be put together being forced to tolerate each other for a common goal. It had worked for Lethal Weapon, Midnight Run, and so many other features. Perhaps it would also work like gangbusters for Silver & Black.

By the end of the year, a key crew member for Silver & Black had been cast for this feature, costume designer Ruth E. Carter. A legend in the film business, Carter was, at this juncture in her career, garnering extra buzz for her work on the then-upcoming Black Panther. Silver & Black would continue her stay in the genre of superhero cinema. By this point, Silver & Black also had a release date of February 8, 2019. This meant the project would arrive four months after Venom and two months after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sony was looking to kick its standalone Marvel properties into high gear and deliver them to audiences in rapid succession.

‘Silver & Black’ Gets Put on Hold

Those plans were put into a bit of a tailspin, though, when news emerged that Silver & Black had been put on hold. This came a month after Prince-Bythewood provided an update on Silver & Black in May 2018. She noted that her desire to get the script for this movie just right was behind the delays for Silver & Black. She also expressed an interest in casting a Black performer as one of the two lead characters, who were traditionally depicted as white in the comics. Gina Prince-Bythewood was always looking to shake up the status quo of who could be seen as a lead character on the big screen in her works and Silver & Black appeared poised to continue this trend.

However, a month after this interview, Gina Prince-Bythewood signed on to direct the Netflix comic book adaptation The Old Guard. This project was now her top priority and what had previously looked like discouraging hurdles for Silver & Black now looked like insurmountable obstacles. By the end of summer 2018, Silver & Black was dead, with Sony now angling to get Black Cat and Silver Sable starring in separate solo outings rather than pairing them off in one title. In the months and years that followed, Sony’s live-action Marvel Comics adaptations, which inhabited a domain that would become known as Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, did manage to take off thanks to a pair of highly lucrative Venom movies.

Sony Turns Its Focus to Other Projects

Unfortunately, the initial gung-ho embrace of women-led properties in this universe would have to wait. Standalone vehicles for Black Cat and Silver Sable have made no real progress since the demise of Silver & Black. Instead, Morbius and Kraven the Hunter have taken precedence within Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. The first project led by women and directed by a woman in this franchise will finally arrive with Madame Web in February 2024, five years after Silver & Black was supposed to launch.

While women-led projects in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe have been slow to gain any traction, Gina Prince-bythewood has been busy as can be in the years since Silver & Black was shelved. Not only did she direct The Old Guard, which launched a new franchise for Netflix, but she also returned to Sony to direct the historical epic The Woman King. Prince-bythewood has openly talked about how her experiences working on Silver & Black were instrumental in getting her that Old Guard gig and there’s no question her prior experiences on the Sony lot (namely the enthusiasm and energy she demonstrated towards big-budget spectacle) helped secure her directorial credit on The Woman King as well.

Silver & Black is an unproduced American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters Silver Sable and Black Cat. It was to be produced by Columbi

Being a director in Hollywood is endlessly challenging and often the most joyous of opportunities come from the most bitter of defeats. So it is with Gina Prince-bythewood and Silver & Black. Losing a Marvel Comics adaptation that she was so excited about and that was being positioned as critical in Sony’s comic book movie ambitions, had to sting. But in the wake of this loss, she managed to gain a pair of projects that took her to new heights as a filmmaker. Losing out on Gina Prince-bythewood’s vision for characters like Black Cat and Silver Sable was a loss for moviegoers, but considering we got The Woman King instead, maybe it was a fine trade-off.



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