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Madame Web has snared another star. Sony’s Spider-Man side of the Marvel movie-verse reportedly has cast breakout Euphoria actor Sydney Sweeney, who’ll costar opposite Dakota Johnson (Madame Web) in Sony’s first female-led comic book film.
Deadline reports Sweeney's casting in the upcoming movie, which is being directed by Marvel veteran S.K. Clarkson (Jessica Jones, The Defenders). After appearing in high-profile series including Everything Sucks! at Netflix and The Handmaid’s Tale at Hulu, Sweeney’s star status seriously took off as part of the ensemble cast of HBO’s Euphoria, where she plays audaciously messy teen Cassie Howard. She also plays a similar-yet-different debauched teen role in HBO’s drama-comedy The White Lotus.
Though Johnson is set in the lead role, it’s not yet known which Madame Web character Sony has in mind for Sweeney. Citing unnamed sources close to the project, Deadline reports the movie could weave its own story web; one that’s inspired by, but not necessarily tied to, the comics.
In print, Madame Web possesses mutated powers that gift her with psychic sensory abilities, linked with her dependence on the Web of Life and Destiny, a bespoke life support apparatus that sustains her old-age affliction with myasthenia gravis (a blinding and fatiguing neuromuscular disease). That makes her more of a pre-cognitive sensei than a fighter, a limitation that leads Deadline’s sources to speculate “it’s possible the project could turn into something else” — noting, thanks to her unique abilities and limitations, that Madame Web could “essentially [be] Sony’s version of Doctor Strange.”
If Sony and Marvel are eyeing that much creative leeway for Cassandra Web as a movie hero, there’s no telling what role they might have in mind for Sweeney. Johnson’s in her 30s and by no means elderly, so it’s always possible she could find herself at the center of a Madame Web origin story, surrounded by new characters — or even ones that hail from unexpected places in the comics.
First appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man #210 (1980), Madame Web is the comic book creation of Dennis O'Neil and John Romita Jr. Though her health leaves her homebound, she’s tight with Peter Parker and the Spider-Man good guys, giving them the kind of vital psychic intel that helps anticipate the bad guys' actions and keeps their friendly neighborhood in check.
Madame Web hasn’t been given a release date, but it’s just one of numerous projects that dive deeper into Spider-Man’s comics-based network of super-powered friends and villains. Next in theaters are Michael Keaton and Jared Leto, who’ll be headlining Spidey spinoff Morbius in theaters starting April 1. Farther ahead, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One) continues Sony’s animated arachnid adventures this fall as the first installment in a two-part followup to 2018’s box office smash Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.