Rumor: Black Cat as Spider-Man 4 Villain and a New Female Lead?
We're going to pump the brakes after that headline because there's a lot of rumor manure to sift through. Earlier today Mania reported a big rumor that Black Cat would be the new villain in Spider-Man 4, and that Rachel McAdams (of The Notebook and Wedding Crashers fame) was the frontrunner for the role. However, this seemed to be just another in a long line of ridiculous villain rumors, but then our friends at SlashFilm found a post in The Observer regarding actress/columnist Romola Garai, who revealed she had an audition for a role in Spider-Man 4. But is she auditioning for Black Cat or a supposed new female lead?
Let's answer that second question first before we dig into this villain debacle. SlashFilm's apparent certainty on Sam Raimi looking for "a new female lead" is quite misleading and because of this misrepresentation, highly inaccurate. A new female lead fully implies that the story would put Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane on the back-burner in favor of a new leading lady, but this is simply not the case. Dunst is still very much involved with the production and our sources say is being paid her full price for the project, so I doubt this new female role is that of a female lead, but rather a strong supporting role akin to Bryce Dallas Howard's work in Spider-Man 3 as Gwen Stacy. Now that we've cleared that up, onto the real story.
First let's just keep everyone on the ground and say that this should all be taken with a grain of salt. There seems to be a decent chance that Black Cat could be the villain if not at least one of the villains but at this point it's almost impossible to know. After Sam Raimi's talk about getting back to basics, it seemed like the two villain formula would be abandoned, but maybe he just wants to do it right this time. In fact, Black Cat's story (which includes a struggle with her unethical thieving ways and later a romance with Spider-Man) fits well with Raimi's Spider-Man formula, which always finds the villains troubling not only the costumed hero, but also becoming entangled in Peter Parker's personal life as well.
Black Cat's incarnation begins with her secret identity Felicia Hardy who was inspired to follow in her imprisoned father's footsteps as a cat burglar. But her new life was thrown into upheaval when she was date-raped by her boyfriend, Ryan. She turned her grief and shame into rage, channeling her feelings for revenge towards intensifying her training regime in martial arts and acrobatics. But when Ryan was killed by a drunk driver, depriving her of the satisfaction of revenge, Felicia set out stealing from others to compensate psychologically for what was stolen from her. It was her thievery and attempt to break her father out of prison that ultimately brought her into Spider-Man's life where she would find love and reform from her criminal lifestyle.
As I said, there's no way we can know this for certain just yet. There's still just as much of a chance that the other recent rumor of Dr. Kurt Connors finally stepping into the villainous role of The Lizard could happen as well. Anything could happen at this point! All I know is that what I'm hearing (but cannot divulge) are huge details along the lines of something from Mania's source that got buried in their story, and that's "[Sam Raimi and Co.] are [also] casting for a male villain, but had few details." I'd keep my eyes peeled for that bit before obsessing about this Black Cat business.
And really, this story from Romola Garai probably has nothing to do with Black Cat, because if Rachel McAdams was really a frontrunner, that means they've got quite the list of actresses for this character and I seriously doubt they are still putting lesser known actresses "on tape" for it. Unless it is known there is a wide search for a role to be filled, roles like this usually don't have auditions especially with names like Rachel McAdams being thrown around. And narratively I just don't know if this is the right approach because not only is a lone female villain a hard sell (remember Catwoman had The Penguin with her in Batman Returns), but she just feels a little too similar to Black Widow from the upcoming Iron Man 2.