After severing ties with Marvel, Sony is forging ahead with its Universe of Marvel Characters. (Let’s just call it the Spider-Verse and move on, yes?). Word has come that the next spin-off character being developed for a feature film is the slightly obscure but fairly consequential Madame Web. Update September 27th: It looks like Sony and the MCU aren’t completely done after all. A new deal has just been brokered that will bring Tom Holland’s Spider-Man back for one more Marvel-produced Spidey film and another MCU crossover feature.
Collider reports that Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, who just penned the Jared Leto-starring Morbius, have been tapped to write the film.
Madame Web was introduced in 1980 by writer Denny O’Neil and artist John Romita Jr. Born Cassandra Webb, the character is actually a mutant (a detail that will surely get written out) with precognitive powers tied to spider-based heroes. In addition to her ties with Peter Parker, she’s mentored and guided numerous generations of crimefighters using the Spider-Woman moniker. She also suffers from a chronic neuromuscular disease (myasthenia gravis, to be precise) that has left her blind and unable to move. As such, the old woman is connected to a life support system that, wouldn’t ya know it, resembles a spiderweb.
(Read: 10 Most Anticipated Comic Book Movies of 2019)
At first glance, an entire movie centered around Madame Web seems like a bit of a stretch, but Sony may have something up their sleeves here. The biggest hurdle the studio faces in disconnecting from Marvel is how to continue Tom Holland’s beloved incarnation of Spider-Man without the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opened up the possibility of a multiverse for the animated side of things, but a clairvoyant character like Madame Web could open similar doors in live-action. Perhaps Sony will use her to help decouple their Spider-Man from the MCU?
It’s also possible Sazama and Sharpless could use a Madame Web film to introduce Julia Carpenter, the comics’ second Spider-Woman. In the books, she eventually takes over the role of Madame Web when Webb transfers her powers upon her impending death. That could easily be a central conflict in the film adaptation rather than focusing on an old invalid reliant on a giant machine for mobility.
Whatever they end up doing, it looks like Madame Web will follow Morbius (out July 31st, 2020) and Andy Serkis’ Venom 2 as the next Spider-Verse film. Productions like Nightwatch, Kraven the Hunter, and Silver & Black with Black Cat and Silver Sable have all seemingly stalled. Sony is also apparently working on two follow-ups to Spider-Man: Far from Home and a number of Into the Spider-Verse spin-offs.