While Sony has partnered with Disney to allow Spider-Man to be part of the MCU, the studio has been trying to build out its own world of Marvel characters. With two Venom films in the books, and a third on the way, along with Jared Leto’s Morbius earlier this year, Sony has seen mixed results with its Spider-Man spin-offs. That hasn’t deterred the studio from seeing its strategy through, as another project adjacent to the web-slinger is in the works for next summer.
Madame Web is set to star Dakota Johnson in the lead role, and will also feature up-and-coming actresses such as Sydney Sweeney and Celeste O’Connor. Now, Deadline is reporting that another exciting name is joining the feature. Isabela Merced has been added to the cast of Madame Web, but it’s unknown who she will be playing. In fact, besides Johnson as the titular character, there’s been no information about any of the characters the cast will be portraying. The film will be directed by S.J. Clarkson, primarily a television director who will be making her feature film debut. Clarkson has sat in the director’s chair for episodes of Succession, The Defenders, Jessica Jones, and Orange Is the New Black, but this will be her largest project to date.
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For Merced, Madame Web is the latest entry into what’s been an impressive early career for the 20-year-old actress. Merced has played opposite Mark Wahlberg in such films as Transformers: The Last Knight and Instant Family, was paired with Jason Momoa in the Netflix film Sweet Girl, and took on the lead role as Dora the Explorer in 2019’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Her latest feature will be debuting in just a few weeks, as Merced will be part of the HBO Max Father of the Bride remake starring Andy Garcia. Madame Web will serve as Merced’s first venture into the superhero world, but it won’t be her first rodeo when it comes to blockbuster films.
The Plot of Madame Web Remains a Mystery
The cast is beginning to take shape for Madame Web, but not much is known about what the film will entail. Reports from earlier this month said the film will be an “origin story of the clairvoyant, whose psychic abilities allow her to see within the spider world”. Madame Web’s characterization in both the comics and in Spider-Man: The Animated Series is normally as an elderly woman, which means Johnson will most likely play a younger version of the character.
Sony is reportedly positioning Madame Web in the same role as Doctor Strange in the MCU, which could mean the Madame Web film will be a multiversal adventure much like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That route has been taken on Sony’s animated side with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and the studio may want to replicate that format in live-action.
Madame Web has been slated for a July 7, 2023 release, which means production will get underway in the near future.