The Potential Breakouts:
5. Silver Sable
Created as a supporting character (and sometimes antagonist) for Spider-Man back in 1985, Silver Sable, real name Silver Sablinova, was a platinum haired female mercenary of European descent, a hunter of war criminals, and the leader of the mercenary group called the Wild Pack. There is nothing super-powered about Silver Sable: she's just a skilled fighter and marksman, but one who happens to be a mercenary and not a straight up superhero, or super spy even.
Silver Sable had her own series for a time, which ran from 1992-1995, but has made many appearances in the Marvel Universe since that time. With the success of shows like Alias and movies like Salt, the timing couldn't be more perfect for a Silver Sable movie. With the right star in the role, something like Silver Sable and the Wild Pack is a perfect movie just waiting to happen, and it certainly wouldn't be the kind of movie that would break the bank for Marvel Studios.
4. The Black Widow
The character of Black Widow, as now famously portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in the movies, is my one place where I break my rule of a character primarily known as a team member probably not getting their own movie franchise. And yes, I know that Natasha Romanoff was originally not created for the Avengers, but as a villainess in the old Iron Man comic. Still, The Avengers is where the character got her fame, especially now to mainstream audiences.
Although the Black Widow was nothing but "the hot chick who kick ass" in Iron Man 2, under Joss Whedon's hand she became arguably one of the better written parts in The Avengers. Her reverse interrogation of Loki scene said more about her character than her entire role in Iron Man 2. Hell, her introduction scene in Russia said more than her entire role in Iron Man 2. I'd bet tons of moviegoers out there would be willing to pay money to see the Black Widow kick ass some more. Will it make Iron Man or Thor money? Probably not, but it doesn't need to cost Iron Man or Thor money to make either, so a modest success could be seen as much bigger in retrospect. Avengers hinted about all the "red in her ledger," and I for one would like to know what that's actually all about. (I imagine it involves her killing a lot of people.) When can I get in line for Black Widow: The Red Ledger?
There are a lot of reasons why Jessica Drew, the original (and current) Spider-Woman, would make for a kick-ass and successful movie. Although she is called Spider-Woman, the character has no connection to Spider-Man, aside from living in the same universe, so she won't be tied into Sony's Spider-Man rights. She is Marvel Studios', free and clear as far as anyone knows. Her origin in the comics ties in closely with SHIELD and Nick Fury, not to mention the criminal organization HYDRA, something already very well established by the Avengers and Captain America movies and now the SHIELD television series, providing a good launching point. Her costume, while colorful, has a bold and instantly memorable look. And like all good superheroes, she has a tragic backstory. All the ingredients for a compelling movie.
Spider-Woman has the benefit, by virtue of her connections to the Avengers and (only by name) to Spider-Man, to be able to pull in both audiences. Okay, they're kind of the same audience, but you know what I mean. Certain people might watch it believing it's tied into Spider-Man's continuity, and others might know better and see it as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but having both audiences show up would only benefit a Spider-Woman movie's success.
2. Jessica Jones
Another superheroic character named Jessica who also happens to have ties to SHIELD, Jessica Jones was the star of Brian Michael Bendis' acclaimed series Alias that ran from 2001 to 2005, and who - after that series ended - appeared in Marvel's New Avengers comics. The original concept of Alias was that Jessica Jones was once a short-lived super hero named Jewel, a classic-era Marvel heroine with super-strength and super-speed, who wore a stylish sash. Unlike Ms. Marvel and her contemporaries though, "Jewel" was a hero whose career never really took off. Pretty much all washed up, she eventually she gives up her superhero identity altogether and opens a detective agency that specializes in cases of the superheroic kind.
Although Jessica Jones has been in alternate stages of development for about three years for television (under the name AKA Jessica Jones, with the Alias name being taken and all) the premise itself is solid enough for a movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, if Agents of SHIELD on ABC is a hit, they might suddenly revive the show and have yet another Marvel show on the air, so whether it is television or movies, sooner or later we are going to see Jessica Jones in live-action. It's just a matter of when.
1. Captain Marvel
This entry seemed to be the no-brainer for the #1 slot. Carol Danvers, the former Ms. Marvel and current Captain Marvel, is Marvel Studios' best option for a big screen heroine to star in her own movie, for many reasons. For starters, Carol Danvers is maybe the only female counterpart to a famous male hero, in her case Captain Mar-Vell, to long ago outstrip her male counterpart in importance and popularity. The original Captain Marvel was one of the last major creations done in the Silver Age by Stan Lee, but his own series never quite took off with readers, and was only published intermittently during the seventies, pretty much just as way of keeping the copyright. In 1977, a female counterpart was given to Mar-Vell, when Air Force pilot Carol Danvers was given similar powers and became Ms. Marvel, wearing a sexified midriff baring version of Captain Marvel's uniform. She was given her own series which ran for three years.
Over the next few years, Ms. Marvel also became a key member of the Avengers, and her importance continued even after Mar-Vell's death in 1982 (one of the few comic book deaths that has shockingly not been reversed yet.) Ms. Marvel outgrew Mar-Vell in popularity and importance, and last year Marvel Comics finally officially gave Carol Danvers the title Captain Marvel, and her own ongoing series once again.
There are lots of reasons why Captain Marvel could work as a big screen adventure; Carol Danvers' origin, despite her name, isn't dependent on their being a male Captain Marvel first. Sure, her powers originated when her DNA was "fused" with his, but you can replace Mar-Vell with any alien Kree warrior and the origin remains the same for all intents and purposes. Second, the idea of a badass female pilot who just might have an attitude problem coupled with cosmic powers is ripe material for a movie; Top Gun with powers and a female lead. Who wouldn't see that?
And while the character is far from a household name, the fact that the word "Marvel" is part of her name, instantly giving her brand association? That can't hurt either. Of all of Marvel's iconic female heroes, the former Ms. Marvel has the best shot for big screen success. And yes, Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff should totally play her.