Dakota Johnson To Play Madame Web in Spider-Man Spinoff Movie

Sony's Marvel Universe of Spider-Man Characters is expanding. According to a new report, 50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson is set to star in Madame Web, appearing as the first woman to headline a Sony/Marvel superhero movie. The production company, which has controlled the Spider-Man film rights for decades, has been working since The Amazing Spider-Man was released to build out a universe around the wall-crawler's supporting characters. It seems to finally be a reality, with two successful Venom movies and Morbius on the way soon. Films are also in development for other characters, including one featuring the superhero Jackpot and written by Arrow's Marc Guggenheim.

With Spider-Man: No Way Home quickly becoming Sony's biggest movie of all time, and one of the highest-grossing movies ever released period, it makes sense that the studio would be prioritizing characters that can be tied back to Spidey. Last month, news broke that Madame Web could begin production in 2022, with a location already selected but no specific dates in place. With a star like Johnson involved, it seems likely fans will get an idea for a production window soon, since they will need to commit to a time that works around her other projects.

As originally described by ComicBook's Kofi Outlaw when the movie was announced, the Cassandra Webb of the Marvel Comics source material is a mutant born in Salem, Oregon. She is afflicted with a neuromuscular disease that leaves her paralyzed and blind, but has the formidable psychic powers of telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition, allowing her insight into events well beyond the capability of her physical body. Madame Web gets her name from the web-like life-support machine she's hooked into, which looks like a giant spider's web.

Webb has other ties to the Spider-Man universe: she's the grandmother of Charlotte Witter, who became the villain version of Spider-Woman; she's also tied to Julia Carpenter, the second version of Spider-Woman that served on The Avengers. When Cassandra is mortally wounded, she transfers all of her psychic abilities to Julia, making the younger woman into the second Madame Web.

There are still some unanswered questions as to how these movies will or will not tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and/or whether those taking place outside of the MCU might have their own shared continuity and opportunities for crossover.

S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones) is on board to direct Madame Web, from a screenplay by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, a writing duo whose credits include Morbius and Lost in Space.

At one point, Sandra Bullock was rumored to be under consideration for the part. 

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h/t Deadline