Warning! This post contains SPOILERS for Madame Web



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Summary

  • Sony’s Madame Web movie deviates extensively from the original comics, potentially frustrating fans.
  • Changes include Cassie Webb’s powers, her backstory, and the inclusion of a Peruvian tribe with unique spiders.
  • The Peruvian spiders conveniently explain the various powers of the characters, and it will most likely alienate fans of the original comics.


Sony Pictures’ new Madame Web movie will more than likely alienate many of the titular character’s preexisting fans due to all the changes made from the original Marvel Comcs. Starring Dakota Johnson in the titular role as Cassie Webb, Madame Web is meant to be a live-action depiction of the classic clarivoyant’s orgins while also setting up the futures of three different Spider-Women. However, the amount of changes to their powers and backstory is extensive and will likely be quite frustrating for many.

In Madame Web, Cassie Web is a paramedic who starts seeing the future. At the same time, fate brings Cassie into contact with Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweenie), Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor), and Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced) all of whom are poised to become future Spider-Women. However, this trio is in danger from the superpowered Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim) having seen his own death with these girls killling him in the future when they become heroes. To that end, there are several drastic changes to Madame Web (and all of these characters) from their comic counterparts which fans will likely find very frustrating.


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Madame Web Movie Cast & Marvel Character Guide

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Madame Web’s New Origin Story & Comics Changes Explained

Special Spiders From Peru

Kerry Bishe as Constance Webb in Madame Web taking a photo with a camera

In Sony’s Madame Web, it’s revealed that Cassie’s mother was studying spiders in Peru while pregnant, hoping to find a rare arachnid carrying impressive healing properties she hoped would heal her unborn daughter who’d been diagnosed with a muscular disorder. Having been joined by Ezekiel Sims, Ezekiel only wanted the powers offered by the spiders according to ancient legends and myth. To that end, Cassie’s mother was shot by Ezekiel once she found one of the spiders.


Thanks to the tribe of spider-powered warriors known as Las Arañas and a bite from one of the rare arachnids, Cassie Webb was born without her muscular disorder, though her mother still died. The spider’s bite also results in the manifestations of Cassie’s clairvoyance years later in 2003, a very drastic change compared to the origins of Cassandra Webb as seen in the original comics.

On the page, Cassandra Webb’s Madame Web was simply born a precognitive and clairvoyant mutant capable of impressive telepathic feats. At the same time, Cassandra was also born blind and paralyzed, though her husband built for her a web-like life support system. Using her impressive powers to aid heroes such as Spider-Man and more supporting characters like the aforementioned Spider-Women, Cassandra Webb is also much older in the comics compared to Johnson.


Johnson’s Cassie doesn’t become blind or paralyzed until the very end of Madame Web, a plot point that is quickly rushed and shoe-horned in to make her more like her comics’ counterpart in the eleventh hour (though not by much). It’s also worth nothing that Ezekiel on the page is a mentor to Peter Parker, rather than the villain he’s depicted as on-screen. Likewise, the comics origins of all three future Spider-Women are completely disregarded altogether in favor of the ambiguous notion that they’ll eventually all get powers from the same Peruvian spider (though the particular details are never revealed).

Are The Las Arañas Spider-People From Marvel Comics?

A New Creation For The Movie


The Las Arañas tribe is not from the original Marvel Comics. The Peruvian warriors and their spiders are a completely new creation for Madame Web as a contrived means to explain the source of all the characters’ powers, those who have abilities in the movie as well as those who will eventually get them at some unspecified point in the future. Furthermore, there’s no reference to whether a Peruvian spider is responsible for biting this universe’s Spider-Man in the future, or if he’s still bitten by a radioactive spider as in the original comics.

Additionally, there’s very little explanation for Las Arañas and their history, nor what happened to them in the movie’s present day aside from the single warrior named Santiago (José María Yazpik) who helps Cassie unlock her powers. This occurs when Cassie inexplicably decides to travel to Peru in the middle of Ezekiel’s hunt for the girls (despite the fact that Cassie was also wanted by the police), a sequence that also changes Uncle Ben’s classic Spider-Man line about power and responsibility.

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Everything We Know About Madame Web 2

Madame Web clearly sets up a sequel set in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe through its four main heroes. However, a future installment faces some problems.


Why Madame Web Changed The Character’s Backstory

Because Spider-Man (and Mutants) Are Apparently Off-Limits?

Outside their MCU productions and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Sony Pictures has been bizarrely non-committal when it comes to revealing Spider-Man in the SSU, “Sony’s Spider-Man Universe”. Shared by the Venom movies, Morbius, and soon Kraven the Hunter, Madame Web is the closest the universe has come to referencing Peter Parker by showing his birth near the end of the movie (so it doesn’t really count). It’s still unknown which live-action Spider-Man exists in this universe, or if it’s a brand-new Webslinger altogether. Regardless, it seems as though it likely played a factor with all Madame Web’s changes from the comics, along with the fact that they likely couldn’t identify Cassie as a mutant.


All of these changes to Cassie’s origins and backstory are still quite extreme, deviating from the page far more than what’s seemingly necessary. At the same time, Madame Web’s powers could have been less ambiguous. After all, 2023’s Across the Spider-Verse perfectly introduced the Great Web of Life and Destiny, the very same multiversal construct which Madame Web accesses in the comics to view various futures and realities. However, the Great Web is barely mentioned in Madame Web save for a few comments about the “threads” of fate.

How Madame Web’s Backstory Changes Affect Sony’s Spider-Man Universe

Spiders Offering All Sorts Of Powers

Dakota Johnson and the Madame Web Cast

Going forward, it seems as though all it takes is a bite from one of these Peruvain spiders to grant any number of powers, explaining how Cassie, Ezekiel, and the trio of future Spider-Women all received (or will receive) their various abilities. However, it’s still maddeningly unclear what this means for Peter Parker in the future of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe considering his comic origins.


On the whole, the Peruvian spiders in Madame Web are just a massively convenient way to explain all the different powers without having to delve into or reference all the uniquely different origins and backstories that come from the comics. As such, it’s very much an idea that will no doubt be frustrating and quite alienating for fans of all these Spider-Man characters from the original Marvel Comics.

Madame Web Movie Poster Featuring Sydney Sweeney as Julia Carpenter, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon, Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, Celeste O'Connor as Mattie Franklin, and Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims

Madame Web

Madame Web is a superhero movie based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Taking place in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, the movie revolves around a clairvoyant woman who can look into different dimensions. Dakota Johnson stars in the lead role, with Sydney Sweeney, Adam Scott, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor comprising the rest of the cast.

Release Date
February 14, 2024

Director
S.J. Clarkson

Runtime
114 Minutes

Writers
Burk Sharpless , Matt Sazama , Kerem Sanga

Budget
$80 Million

Studio(s)
Columbia Pictures , Di Bonaventura Pictures

Distributor(s)
Sony Pictures Releasing

Key Release Dates

  • Kraven the Hunter Poster

  • Venom Steelbook Poster

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