Actresses Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer will reportedly star in Netflix’s Thunder Force. The film is described as a superhero movie, with Ben Falcone scheduled to direct. McCarthy and Falcone have been married since 2005, and have collaborated for the films Tammy, The Boss, and Life of the Party.
In recent years, Netflix has produced Marvel series like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. Earlier this year, however, the partnership with Marvel ended, leaving fans wondering about Netflix’s direction and intent. In 2019, Netflix has been successful with the comedy series Sex Education and Russian Doll, along with the late 2018 series Maniac and The Kominsky Method, the latter of which won a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. As for original feature films, though, Netflix has strayed from the superhero realm, focusing more on accessible action films like Bird Box and Triple Frontier, or awards-season contenders like Roma and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Now, Netflix appears ready to invest in a superhero comedy.
Per Deadline, McCarthy and Spencer are closing out a deal with Netflix for Thunder Force. At this point, zero details have been revealed about the characters or premise, but the film will reportedly be produced by Marc Platt, McCarthy and Falcone. In 2016, Platt received an Academy Award nomination for producing Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Lies (nominated for Best Picture of the Year), and he received another Oscar nomination the following year for Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. Given McCarthy and Falcone’s professional and personal chemistry, along with the inclusion of Platt and Spencer, the available information suggests that Thunder Force will be more than a typical comedy film. While McCarthy and Falcone's 2014 film Tammy didn’t earn critical acclaimed, it did outperform its $20 million budget, earning over $100 million at the box office. In addition, both The Boss and Life of the Party were financially successful as well.
With McCarthy and Spencer set to star in Thunder Force, Netflix has two versatile female leads. Earlier this year, McCarthy earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, this coming seven years after her Oscar-nominated breakthrough performance in Bridesmaids. As for Spencer, she won her first Oscar in 2012 for a supporting performance in The Help, and received Oscar nominations for more recent films like Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water. Though such accolades have indeed elevated the careers of both McCarthy and Spencer, they’re also known for their charismatic personalities and ability to naturally engage with audiences.
On the surface, Thunder Force appears to be a strong move for Netflix given the talent involved, and the superhero film will probably be another giant hit for the rapidly-evolving streaming service. But the narrative tone will be crucial for some audiences, as there’s a possibility that Netflix will choose to spoof superhero films with Thunder Force rather than celebrate their relevance and influence in modern pop culture.