Dakota Johnson To Play Madame Web For Sony Pictures Marvel Movie

Sony Pictures is aggressively looking to expand its universe of "Spider-Man" spin-off movies that kicked off with "Venom" back in 2018. One of the projects that has been in development behind the scenes is now coming together in a big way as the "Madame Web" movie has lined up a star to take on the title role. That star is none other than Dakota Johnson ("Fifty Shades of Grey," "Bad Times at the El Royale") who is in discussions to take her place within the larger Marvel multiverse as a pretty unique character.

As reported by Deadline, Johnson emerged as the top choice for the role after Sony began looking at a number of prominent actresses, and talks are now underway to get her to sign on the dotted line. S.J. Clarkson, one of the most accomplished TV directors of the last decade, is on board to helm the film. Clarkson has some previous experience in the Marvel world, having directed episodes of "Jessica Jones" and "The Defenders" for Netflix. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless ("Morbius") penned the screenplay.

For those who may be unfamiliar, the character of Madame Web first debuted in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #210 as a supporting character who was created by Denny O'Neil and John Romita Sr. A pretty unique character to say the least, Cassandra Webb was the first woman to take up the mantle. She is generally depicted as an elderly woman with a neuromuscular disease known as myasthenia gravis, which necessitates her being hooked up to a life support system — which just so happens to look like a spiderweb. As far as powers go, she has telepathy, precognition, and a sizable intellect. Because an elderly woman not fighting criminals might be boring, the report notes that the project "could turn into something else." In other words, some big changes might be made in adapting the character for the screen.

Aggressive Expansion

Given the success of both "Venom" and "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," Sony is looking to build out its Universe of Marvel Characters using anything it can. The studio controls hundreds of characters that are connected to "Spider-Man" in the comics, which is why it's able to have a character like "Morbius" star in a solo franchise divorced from the main Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Madame Web" will give them a chance to have a female-fronted entry in the universe. In terms of other media, Madame Web has appeared in "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" in addition to having a large role in the "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions" video game.

As for Johnson, this gives her a chance to step into the spotlight in a new way. In recent years, she has starred in a number of acclaimed, smaller films including "The Peanut Butter Falcon" and "The Last Daughter." She also has "Cha Cha Real Smooth," which just made a splashy debut at Sundance. Now, it's time to turn into a superhero — albeit a pretty bizarre one.

There is no word yet on how soon "Madame Web" will begin filming and no release date has been set but we'll be sure to keep you posted as further information comes our way.