The Sony Spider-Verse is expanding, as Madame Web adds Sydney Sweeney to its cast.
As was previously reported, Dakota Johnson is going to be headlining a Madame Web film as part of Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man cinematic universe. But just as the plot of the movie has yet to be fully revealed, the role Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria, Night Teeth) will be playing is unclear.
What does Sweeney’s casting potentially reveal about the character she will play and the possible plot of Madame Web? Read on for the rumors and theories so far.
Madame Web casting
When Dakota Johnson was cast for the titular role of Madame Web, it was clear that Sony would be going for a younger take. Although not confirmed, Johnson will likely be playing Julia Carpenter, the second Spider-Woman and the one who inherits the psychic abilities of Madame Web. It would also allow for a more action-oriented depiction, as the original Madame Web was paralyzed and required a special life support chair.
However, regardless of which Madame Web Johnson would be playing, the character in the comics and in other media was always more of a mentor and guide to other heroes. Spider-Man was often the agent by which Madame Web alerted to various threats and to prepare Peter Parker for his greater destiny. However, the Sony Pictures Madame Web will likely be using other agents that are from the Spider-Verse.
Recently, Deadline reported the casting of Sydney Sweeney for Madame Web, joining Dakota Johnson.
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) March 16, 2022
Sweeney herself shared her enthusiasm for being cast in Madame Web via her Instagram:
However, no specifics have been mentioned by either the news report or the actress.
Speculation and theories of Sweeney’s role
While it is still unclear what Sweeney’s role will be, this has only inspired fans to speculate and form theories.
One theory that has gained the most traction is that of Felicia Hardy, also known as the Black Cat. When Sweeney was cast, Black Cat trended on Twitter. Felicia Hardy and her Black Cat persona has been a longtime fan-favorite amongst fans.
Hardy provides a different type of potential love interest for Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Where Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy were civilians, Hardy’s Black Cat could match wits and physically keep up with Spider-Man. Thanks to her enhanced abilities and unique luck powers, she can join Spidey in his adventures or keep him from capturing her, which is often the case.
Felicity Jones (Rogue One) previously played Felicia Hardy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It seemed she was being set up to take the Black Cat role had there been a third movie that starred Andrew Garfield.
Another frontrunner for the possible role Sweeney will play is the mercenary Silver Sable.
Silver Sable certainly presents an interesting addition to Madame Web. She is the leader of her own mercenary organization that specializes in hunting war criminals. Silver Sable is known for recruiting super-powered individuals like Spider-Man, Battlestar, and the Sandman for missions. She herself is a master assassin, trained in various weapons and martial arts.
Sable’s comic book origins gives a lot of opportunity, opening the kind of international intrigue that is usually reserved for S.H.I.E.L.D. in the MCU.
Gwen Stacy aka Spider-Gwen
One last major role Sweeney might be playing for the Madame Web film is Gwen Stacy. More specifically, she might play the Ghost Spider (popularly called Spider-Gwen) incarnation.
This might be a longshot, though with the alternate realities and multiversal elements already introduced in both the MCU and Sony’s Spider-Verse, it’s not out of the question. Having Sweeney play the Spider-Gwen character would allow for a Spidey-centric plot that does not actually have Spider-Man himself involved.
Gwen Stacy was previously played in live action by Bryce Dallas Howard in Spider-Man 3 (2007) and Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and its sequel (2014). The Ghost Spider/Spider-Gwen version has not appeared in live action, though Hailee Steinfeld (Hawkeye) voiced the character in the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).
Expanding the Spider-Verse
Regardless of what Sydney Sweeney’s character will ultimately turn out to be, we should expect more development of the Spider-Verse properties. Aside from the Morbius film starring Jared Leto which releases this April, Kraven the Hunter with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and the third Venom solo film with Tom Hardy are in the works.
But how will all these properties tie together? If the rumored third The Amazing Spider-Man film moves forward with Andrew Garfield, will it be directly connected to these other franchises?
Produced by Sony Pictures, Madame Web will be directed by S.J. Clarkson, from a script by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, with a 2023 targeted theatrical release.