Sony is looking to wrap up Dakota Johnson as the star of its first female-led Spider-Man universe adventure, Madame Web.
The project was first announced back in 2019, with Morbius writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless working on the screenplay. Now, Deadline reports that Johnson is in final talks to lead the picture, with S.J. Clarkson (Marvel’s Jessica Jones, The Defenders) onboard as director.
Created in 1980 by writer Denny O’Neil and artist John Romita Jr., Madame Web is a mutant with incredible psychic and clairvoyant capabilities. (Considering Marvel now owns mutants in their entirety again, it’s likely the character’s origins will be altered for the movie.) Johnson’s casting hints her general appearance will also be changed, as she’s most often depicted as an elderly woman suffering from myasthenia gravis, a chronic neuromuscular disease that’s left her blind and paralyzed. Keeping her alive is a life support system designed to look like a spiderweb.
Deadline notes their “sources have stressed it’s possible the project could turn into something else” given Madame Web’s comic appearance. While there have been incidents of Web regaining her youth, fans might be more interested in the time she passed her powers and moniker onto the second Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter. Is it possible Johnson is really the second Madame Web, i.e. Carpenter? We’ll have to wait and see how this web gets spun.
As for the Madame Web connection to Spider-Man: No Way Home, the multiverse, and Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters (Morbius, Venom: Let There Be Carnage), it could actually help clarify a lot of the still-confusing threads. Madame Web draws her powers from the Web of Life and Destiny, a three-dimensional construct in five-dimensional space that connects spider-characters from across the multiverse. Okay, so it probably won’t make things less confusing, but it could at least offer an explanation.
Johnson most recently appeared in The Lost Daughter on Netflix, and her Sundance film Am I OK? has received strong reviews. Her other Sundance entry, Cha Cha Real Smooth, was bought by Apple for a 2022 record $15 million.