‘Madame Web’ Set in 2003 and in Its Own Standalone Universe

Madame Web

The notion of expanding Sony’s Spider-Man universe originated in 2013, with intentions to launch spin-off films, including one centered on Venom, following ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2.’ However, owing to the disappointment of the film, Sony abandoned these plans and partnered with Marvel Studios in 2015. Since then, Spider-Man has been a prominent character in the MCU.

Despite generally mixed to negative reviews for SSU movies (Morbius, we’re looking at you), the SSU persisted and now boasts numerous live-action and animated projects in development, exploring both Spider-Man’s supporting characters and his villains. Among the upcoming releases is ‘Madame Web,’ scheduled to hit screens in less than a month, featuring Dakota Johnson in the titular role.

The film follows Cassie as she grapples with newly acquired powers and faces a mysterious adversary, Ezekiel Sims, played by Tahar Rahim. Ezekiel is determined to prevent three young women, Julia Cornwall (Sydney Sweeney), Mattie Franklin (Celeste O’Connor), and Anya Corazon (Isabela Merced), from developing spider-related abilities – characters well-known to Spider-Man enthusiasts from the comics. Cassie must unite with the trio to shield them from Ezekiel’s relentless pursuit.


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While the movie’s general outline and plot are widely known, recent discussions have revolved around the issue of continuity and the specific timeframe of the film. However, in a recent interview with EW featuring Johnson and Clarkson, some intriguing details came to light. Firstly, ‘Madame Web’ unfolds in 2003, and contrary to expectations, the film won’t be integrated into the broader SSU; instead, it will exist within its own self-contained universe. The director clarified that this decision provides greater creative freedom, as concerns about maintaining continuity and canonicity become irrelevant. In this standalone universe, the storytelling possibilities are limitless.

She’s definitely in a standalone world,” Clarkson adds. “I was able to just have free rein and let the movie be what it needed to be, as opposed to trying to force it into something else. That was a gift, in a way, to be able to take something and bring a fresh and I hope original take to it.

The impact of this decision on other forthcoming projects, like ‘Kraven the Hunter,’ remains uncertain, adding an unexpected dimension to longstanding speculations about the potential merging of SSU with the MCU. What are your thoughts on this development? Share them in the comments section below!

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