Sony's Cinematic Spider-Verse Wants Dakota Johnson as Madame Web

The 50 Shades of Grey actor is in talks star in the first female-led movie in the franchise.

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Dakota Johnson, dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt, smiles in front of a Deadline Contenders Award backdrop.
Dakota Johnson at the Deadline Contenders Film: New York event on December 4, 2021.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

It’s no surprise that after the massive, massive success of Spider-Man: No Way Home that Sony would want to fast-track other Spider-adjacent movies for its Spider-Man Universe. For reasons I cannot personally fathom, that seems like it’s going to be Madame Web, as Deadline reports that The Social Network and 50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson is in talks for the titular role.

According to Marvel’s official bio, Madame Web is an elderly woman who “suffered from a lifetime of blindness and many years of neurological deterioration due to myasthenia gravis, [which] she compensated with her profound psychic abilities, establishing herself as a medium.” An encounter with the Juggernaut “left Madame Web in a state of severe shock after he unknowingly removed her from her chair, which provided her vital life functions.” Then she was in a coma, then she died, and then she came back young and healthy... but currently she’s old again? As always, comics, everybody.

As Madame Web has really played nothing but a support role for Spider-Man and other Spider-characters, making her the star of her own film seems like a truly bizarre decision—especially when known female Spider-heroes like Jessica Drew’s Spider-Woman, Cindy Moon’s Silk, and Gwen Stacy’s Ghost Spider are far more active protagonists. As Deadline says, “Due to her age and medical condition, Madame Web never actively fought any villains. For that reason, sources have stressed it’s possible the project could turn into something else.”

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Whether that means Sony is going to focus on the rejuvenated Madame Web and turn her into a proper superhero, or the studio will give up and just cast Johnson as Jessica Drew, is anyone’s guess for now. In the meantime, fans craving more Spider-adjacent entertainment can get ready for Morbius, which premieres in theaters on April 1.


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