Dakota Johnson is entering her superhero era. After starring in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s awards contender The Lost Daughter, she appeared in two Sundance films in January and is set to lead Netflix’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, set to premiere July 15. The latest addition to her list of projects? A buzzy Spider-Man spinoff: In February, reports broke that Johnson was in talks to star as the titular role in Sony’s Madame Web. Insiders told Variety at the time the deal was not yet final, but now that Johnson’s role is assured, more details on the project are bubbling to the surface. Here’s what we know so far.
First, who is Madame Web?
The character was first introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man comics in the ’80s and is “a clairvoyant mutant who specializes in predicting the future of Spider-themed superheroes, having mentored not only Peter Parker’s alter ego, but also multiple generations of heroes calling themselves Spider-Woman,” per The Hollywood Reporter. Also known as Cassandra Webb, she’s portrayed on the page as a blind and paralyzed elderly woman aided by a web-like life support machine. We’ll see if or how the screen adaptation will reinterpret the character.
Deadline reported in March: “Insiders say due to her psychic sensory powers, she is essentially Sony’s version of Doctor Strange.”
In a June interview with Entertainment Tonight, Johnson was cagey on how Sony might reinterpret the character. “I can tell you pretty much nothing that isn’t already on the internet,” she said. “I’m so excited. It’s pretty cool to be in the Marvel world, especially with a character that’s not so known. So, there’s a lot of space for us to make her very cool.”
She later added, “It’s always been a dream of mine to do some kind of, like, massive action movie. I always wanted to do, like, a female Indiana Jones…I really have, always.”
Who else is in the cast?
While Sony has yet to officially confirm any casting news, Deadline has reported an exciting addition: Euphoria‘s Sydney Sweeney is joining Johnson in an as-yet-undisclosed role. Keeping details under wraps, she later teased, “I’m really excited to start that ride with everyone, and for you to meet my character!”
Tahar Rahim (The Serpent), Isabela Merced (Father of the Bride), and Celeste O’Connor (Ghostbusters: Afterlife) are also in the cast in undisclosed roles, according to Deadline.
The film will be helmed by S.J. Clarkson, who has directed Marvel TV projects like The Defenders and Jessica Jones, and written by Morbius screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless.
When will it be released?
It’s still too early to say, given the cast is still being announced. However, speculation about a Madame Web film first began in 2020 when Clarkson’s directing gig went public. This would be Sony’s first Marvel superhero movie with a female lead, as Variety pointed out. The studio’s other Marvel titles include Venom, starring Tom Hardy; Morbius, starring Jared Leto; and of course three Spider-Men: Tobey Maguire in the initial Spider-Man films, Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man films, and Tom Holland in the direct Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-in films.
This post will be updated.
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