Spike Lee and Luke Cage's showrunner are prepping a film based on Marvel Comics' Nightwatch

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Mar 14, 2018

Spike Lee, the indie film legend best known for dramas like Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X, is apparently ready for a superhero movie.

According to a report from That Hashtag Show, Lee — whose long and distinguished career has earned him two Peabody Awards and an Honorary Oscar — is preparing to helm Nightwatch, a film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The Hollywood Reporter later confirmed that report, though it described Lee as "circling" the project rather than fully committed to it. Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker is reportedly scripting the film, which will be set in Sony Pictures' budding shared universe of supporting Spider-Man characters that already includes the upcoming Venom and Silver and Black films, as well as a developing Morbius, The Living Vampire project.

Introduced in 1993 in Web of Spider-Man #97 (hence the Sony connection), Nightwatch is a man named Dr. Kevin Trench who one day witnesses a fight between a group of terrorists and a costumed figure. When the costumed hero ends up dead, Trench investigates the corpse and discovers that a future version of himself is wearing the high-tech superhero suit. At first he attempts to hide both himself and the costume away, hoping to cheat death by simply refusing to put his future self in such a situation. Eventually, though, he embraces his fate as a costume hero, and Nightwatch is born. Those are the bullet points of the origin story, but Nightwatch's comic book history includes everything from nanotech to time travel to a space station, so like many Marvel Comics heroes — it's complicated.

It's not clear according to these reports how closely the proposed film would follow the character's comic book history, but if Lee actually does sign on to the project, it's a big coup for Sony. Despite agreeing to share Tom Holland's Spider-Man with Marvel, the studio is still committed to building some kind of shared universe of its own, and having a powerhouse like Lee in its corner will boost public attention to whatever Sony's building.

Plus, Nightwatch, while lesser-known, is a black superhero, adding more diversity to Sony's slate. As Black Panther continues to dominate the box office, it feels like the right time for the studio to make this move, particularly with arguably the most influential black filmmaker working today on board.

What do you think? Will a Nightwatch movie work, and is a Spike Lee superhero movie something you're looking forward to?