Why We Have Doubts About That Black Cat/Silver Sable Movie Rumor

So this weekend a rumor has started to spread about the supposed plot of Sony’s Silver & Black, the studio’s Spider-Man-less film featuring Spider-Man supporting characters Silver Sable and Black Cat. The film is set to be part of a separate cinematic universe spotlighting a number of characters that Sony has the film rights to as part of their Spider-Man rights deal with Marvel.

The alleged plot synopsis comes from Splash Report and goes as follows –

Here are some details about the story: Seven years after Mendel Stromm (a.k.a. Robot Master) and his two henchmen (The Scorpion and The Tarantula) killed her father, Silver Sable is hired by the government to find Felicia Hardy. The Black Cat, a master hacker and thief, has apparently stolen valuable secret information. She’s hiding in the lawless and dangerous triple frontier area between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.

Once there, Sable ask her old contact Dmitri Smerdyakov (a.k.a. The Chameleon) to locate her. But it seems, the government are not the only ones looking for the Black Cat. It seems Felicia had made a deal Stromm to save her father from a Russian prison and she’s been genetically enhanced. Now, the mad scientist wants his prized experiment back because his financier (cough Norman Osborn cough) wants a return on his investment.

There’s no appearance or mention of Peter Parker or Spider-Man.

Also in the story: Dominic Fortune, Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), Roxxon Oil, Sergei Kravinoff (Kraven the Hunter), Lonnie Lincoln (Tombstone) and Charles Standish.

Thing is, I have serious doubts about some of the details in the story, specifically certain names mentioned in the last paragraph – the characters Dominic Fortune and Charles Standish and the company known as Roxxon Oil.

What got my Spidey-senses tingling over these three names, is that none of them are mentioned in the list of characters and concepts that are make up Sony’s film rights package for Spider-Man known as Schedule 6. This list was made public a few years back when the studio was hacked, and has made for some interesting reading if only for its breadth of famous and obscure characters. And in this case, what three names are missing.

First off, the two characters mentioned. Dominic Fortune debuted in a 1975 issue of Marvel Premiere. While the character did appear in a couple of random Spider-Man comics – most notably Marvel Team-Up #120 (August 1982), where the aging Fortune swept Peter Parker’s Aunt May off her feet – the character has mostly appeared on his own. The character of Charles Standish is a senior vice-president at Osborn Chemical, the company owned by Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, he first appeared in an issue of The Avengers in 1999. And I don’t believe he was seen outside anywhere else outside of that initial story.

Roxxon Oil isn’t a concept that I don’t immediately connect with the Spider-Man mythos either. First appearing in Captain America #180 (December 1974), the company has been a mainstay in the Marvel comics universe, seemingly benign, but certainly not above illegal and immoral means of increasing its profit margins.

However, there might be a loop hole here that would allow two of these three to be used. In the agreement is a clause that grants Sony rights to “All existing (as of 9/15/11) characters and other Creative Elements that are ‘Primarily Associated With’ Spider-Man but were ‘Inadvertently Omitted’ from Schedule 6.” I suppose that an argument could be made that since Standish’s character is an employee of a company owned by a major Spider-Man villain, that there is enough of a link to classify as a “Primary Association.”

However, this loophole doesn’t feel big enough to let Dominic Fortune through. Fortune did co-star in one four-part miniseries with Silver Sable, 2006’s Sable And Fortune, but even coupled with his small number of team-ups with Spider-Man, we still only have a small fraction of his total appearances. It doesn’t feel as if they are enough to qualify as a “Primary Association.” Additionally, the Dominic Fortune character was set to appear in the Agents Of SHIELD TV series spin-off Marvels’ Most Wanted that ABC declined on picking up last year at this time. That would indicate pretty strongly that he was a character in Marvel Studios’s stable, not Sony’s.

And then there’s Roxxon Oil. We know that at least at the time of the documents that were released were drawn up – September 2011 – that Roxxon is listed on Schedule 8, aka “Marvel Reserved Characters,” alongside other groups such as SHIELD, HYDRA, AIM, New Warriors and the Thunderbolts who may have appeared in various Spider-Man comics over the years. That means, at least at the time, Sony does not have the right to use Roxxon at all. Meanwhile, Marvel has has the fictional company appear in all three Iron Man films as well as given them numerous mentions in the Agents Of SHIELD and Agent Carter TV series and the Daredevil and Iron Fist Netflix series.

Granted, it is possibly that Sony and Marvel reached agreements to share one or even all three of these concepts. We’ve seen it just this summer with the Watchers turning up in Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol 2. And thanks to their Spider-Man sharing agreement, we know that the two seem to have a pretty good working relationship when it comes to this stuff. Was getting the rights to use Dominic Fortune, Charles Standish and Roxxon Oil part of that bargain or a different deal entirely?

We’ll probably get an answer as the film moves through production. And that’s if these three concepts actually do appear in the film at all. If they don’t, how trustworthy is the rest of this supposed synopsis? Was SplashReport fed some wrong information? And if the part about the inclusion of Dominic Fortune, Charles Standish and Roxxon Oil is wrong, what else is wrong in this alleged synopsis?

Currently, Love & Basketball director Gina Price-Bythewood is prepping Silver & Black for a fall shoot. As casting announcements start to come out over the summer, we will get a better picture as to the veracity of the report. Until then, take it with a grain of salt.

Avatar für Rich Drees
About Rich Drees 6996 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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