Rebecca Thomas has already directed one feature, the 2012 oddball drama Electrick Children. That account of one girl’s imagined immaculate conception via cassette tape (it’s a weird movie) drew positive enough reviews, but failed to make enough of an impact to propel Thomas into the next professional echelon. She regrouped by taking a gig directing a TV show for Netflix, under the impression that the work would be a fine holdover while she plotted her next film — little did she know, Stranger Things would blossom into a full-blown phenomenon and blow open the gates to Hollywood for the filmmaker.

And now she’s going to reap what she’s sown, according to a new item from The Hollywood Reporter. With her career on the upswing, Thomas has signed on to direct Malignant, a sci-fi thriller from Fox and a far cry from her humbly-budgeted indie beginnings. Produced by James Wan and based on the Malignant Man comic that he co-created, the film centers on a young man who discovers that the terminal disease killing him also happens to be an alien parasite that grants him fantastic powers. While clinging to the last shreds of his own health, our hero must battle a ‘secret army,’ which could really mean anything. That’s the broad-strokes version of all superhero movies.

Malignant joins Universal’s retelling of The Little Mermaid (not to be confused with Disney’s upcoming remake) on Thomas’ docket of upcoming projects. It’s heartening to see a distaff director getting recognized and rewarded for her skills, joining Patty Jenkins on the list of “Women Hollywood Has Figured Out How To Work With.” Female filmmakers are finally getting a foothold in the blockbuster business — next stop, mid-budget studio dramas!

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