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We Finally Got Madame Web Casting News, so Let’s Talk About What It Means

I guess Madame Web is getting de-aged?

Madame Web in Spider-Man

Sony’s movie universe of Spider-Man characters is growing. We have plenty of villain stories coming our way with Morbius and Venom, as well as the animated world of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and a Silk series. There’s plenty of Spidey content coming our way, and with that comes a movie centered around Madame Web.

Now that inside sources are reporting on the casting, it gives us a bit more of an insight into how they are going to bring her to life on screen. For one, Madame Web is typically an elderly woman. She’s also a mutant and has psychic sensory powers.

Madame Web first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #210, which released in 1980. Some of her bigger storylines include a kidnapping attempt from Juggernaut that Spider-Man had to save her from, helping Spider-Man find Hobgoblin, and the Gathering of Five (where five individuals come together to bring five arcane relics). Throughout these storylines, Web used her powers to commune with other Spider-people, like the two existing Spider-Women at the time and, obviously, Peter Parker.

Because of her psychic abilities, she can often use her gifts to give answers to the Spider-People she comes in contact with, so her lack of ability to fight against villains is made up for otherwise.

Web can also pass her power off to others, as she does with Julia Carpenter. Carpenter, however, is known as the second Spider-Woman, so combining her with Web would change how the character is labeled with the Spider-Verse. The two are intrinsically linked throughout the comics because of Julia’s connection to Madame Web, and while she eventually becomes Madame Web, she is first labeled as the second Spider-Woman. With Spider-Woman’s big-screen debut still in the rumor phase, that would be a big leap. The Madame Web film could completely forgo that and have the new Madame Web just instantly be Julia Carpenter, but we don’t know what their plans are.

A version of Web (in a way) was also featured in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark but was also more inspired by the Greek myth of Arachne. If the movie wanted to combine the two, it would explain a younger actress playing Web. In Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Arachne served as a Madame Web of sorts because she had answers for Peter about his powers, like Madame Web often does, but was also played by younger actress: TV Carpio. So, having a younger actress playing Web could just be taking notes from Arachne.

Who is playing Madame Web?

On February 3, 2022, Deadline broke the news that Dakota Johnson is in talks to play Madame Web. Johnson, who is 32 years old, is younger than the Madame Web fans know, but it does then lead into the idea that she could be playing Julia Carpenter, who eventually takes on the title. And getting a powerhouse like Johnson in the role is an incredible addition to the Spider-Verse.

Johnson is known for her work in movies like The Lost Daughter and the Fifty Shades series, but she’s proven herself time and time again as an actor that we can all appreciate and trust to bring her best to the role. So, she works as a brilliant addition to the Spider-Verse of movies, especially if she’s going to be playing Julia Carpenter.

Sony Spider-Verse

The casting of Madame Web shows us that Sony is branching into Spider-Man territory that isn’t just the villain stories we’ve been seeing. There was news that Olivia Wilde is directing a Spider story for Sony, one that many assumed would be a Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew story. And now with Madame Web, could we continue to see a smattering of lesser known Spidey heroes/villains take to live-action?

The problem with Madame Web is that she doesn’t really fight villains. She’s more of a guide in the world of Spider-Man than anything, so a whole movie dedicated to her is going to have to do a lot of work to make us more interested in her as a character.

Overall, the Sony universe has done a pretty good job of exploring these Spider-Man characters in new ways given that they aren’t entirely connected to Spider-Man himself in their movies. We have both Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage that give us Eddie Brock and Venom’s relationship to each other without a Peter Parker to speak of. While Morbius seems weirdly connected to every single Spider-Man franchise out there, we don’t know who his Peter Parker or Spider-Man will be.

So, getting into characters like Madame Web frees Sony up to do these Spider stories that aren’t attached to the Spider-Man title. The question now is just how will they make a Madame Web movie work and why was Johnson (who is phenomenal) the choice when the Web we know is typically older?

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.