One of the most important lessons in journalism is to interrogate your own biases. If you hear a rumour that you want to be true because it lines up with your own worldview, you have to work even harder to verify the truth and origin of the story. But screw that, there’s a rumour that Anya Taylor-Joy is set to be Black Cat in Sony’s Spiderverse, so that means it’s definitely going to happen.
Even before the Anya Taylor-Joy connection, Black Cat has always been one of my favourite characters. I’m a sucker for characters who are just regular women who manage to kick it with superpowered beings from beyond the moon. That’s why I love Harley Quinn, Black Widow, Kate Bishop, and DC’s own version of Black Cat, Catwoman. Yes I know Catwoman came first but Black Cat is the first one to be played by Anya Taylor-Joy, so that means nothing beforehand matters.
Related: Chris Pratt Is A Terrible Mario, But Can We Talk About Anya Taylor-Joy As Peach?Even with the superpowered beings, I prefer grounded, slightly amoral characters like Mystique. All this to say a Black Cat movie is extremely my jam. A Black Cat movie with Anya Taylor-Joy in the lead? Now you’re just showing off.
I’ll try hard to discuss this on an objective level rather than a subjective level – ie I will attempt to describe why I think Anya Taylor-Joy is such a good fit for Black Cat specifically, even though they could announce ATJ was set to play Shits Her Pants Girl in an upcoming DCEU spin-off and I’d still be excited for it.
We’re not quite sure where Sony’s Spiderverse lies right now. Oh, and skip this paragraph if you’re yet to watch Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage or Spider-Man: No Way Home.
When Sony and Marvel teamed up for Spider-Man in the MCU, it seemed like an obvious choice. When Sony then decided to plow ahead with a Spiderverse of supporting Spidey characters – but not Spidey himself – it seemed very stupid. Venom has proved it can work, and Morbius doesn’t look as bad as many expected. Black Cat, especially with a lead as talented as ATJ, only adds to the equation. But then, MCU Vulture is in Morbius, but Tobey Spidey – taken from the PS4 game – is in the trailer’s background with an MCU reference pasted on top. And Venom jumps into, then out of, the MCU in the post-credits of both Venom 2 and Spider-Man: No Way Home. So we still don’t really know how linked Sony’s universe and the MCU are. If anything, Venom proves they’re different, but that also feels like a tease for something bigger.
What this means is we don’t know if Black Cat will largely exist on her own, with fleeting references to the likes of Venom and Morpheus, if she will be folded into the MCU properly, or something in between. Taylor-Joy managed to make chess interesting, so she could definitely carry Black Cat in a Venom-style flick, but having her in the MCU adds more layers to proceedings.
More No Way Home spoilers coming – the movie ends with Peter finally fitting the Spider-Man tropes. He’s poor, he has no one in his corner, and while his parents and uncle were already out of the picture, it’s Aunt May who provides the meaningful loss and instills a sense of selfless duty into him. He also opts not to attempt to win MJ back at the movie’s close, letting her be happy without him. Down the line, this will likely get more complicated – and who better to complicate it than Black Cat?
I’m a vocal advocate that every character everywhere should be gay. I recently wrote about why Kate Bishop should be queer in the MCU. When it comes to Anya Taylor-Joy’s Black Cat though, I think she should be – ew – straight.
I know, I know. But Peter and MJ are already such a boring couple – sorry, but come on – and someone more intense like Black Cat, especially playing off against the disaffected, understated nature of MJ, adds a new dynamic. I get that MJ’s sweet high school romance worked for the original trilogy, but it surely can’t sustain another three movies without a little drama thrown in there.
We also have too many goody goodies in the MCU. Black Cat offers something fresh while remaining a character we can root for. Making her endearing yet clearly not a hero – much like DC has done with Harley in Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad – gives audiences something new, yet safely familiar enough that Marvel would invest in it.
Then there’s why Anya Taylor-Joy works so well. Taylor-Joy had been told she wasn’t beautiful enough to be a leading actress, then played chess, drunk, with a stupid haircut, and people realised she might be one of the most gorgeous women on the planet. And yes, in any other role I would advocate that she should kiss girls, but someone needs to make Tom Holland’s Spidey less vanilla and she just might be the one.
ATJ is especially good casting as Black Cat because she’s beautiful without being a typical bombshell, and can perfectly sell innocence and the smartest person in the room – a role ATJ has down after The Queen’s Gambit, The Witch (The VVitch if you hate SEO), and Split. She has all the qualities Black Cat needs, is the kind of A-list talent this role would court, and is at the right time in her career to leap into blockbuster action after building up a steady collection of impressive turns in cult flicks with some mainstream breakouts – she’s at the same stage in her career as our new Black Widow, Florence Pugh.
I don’t know if the rumour is true. But I want it to be, and really, isn’t that what matters?
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