Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse skipped over a significant cameo from Dakota Johnson's Madame Web.
Across the Spider-Verse includes hundreds of multiverse cameos, including archival footage appearances of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man.
Madame Web possesses telepathy and extra-sensory perception, making her an obvious choice for any Spider-Man multiverse movie.
2023’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse skipped over one of the most important cameos of Sony’s Spider-Verse. The follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Across the Spider-Verse became an even bigger summer superhero movie sensation, along with opening even more doors of the Marvel/Sony multiverse than ever before. In addition to the returning Miles Morales (Shamiek Moore) and Gwen Stacy, a.k.a. Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Across the Spider-Verse includes literally hundreds of multiverse cameos and not strictly animated ones, either. Included in Across the Spider-Verse’s cameo roster are archival footage appearances of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spideys, Donald Glover’s Aaron Davis, a.k.a. Prowler from his brief cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Mrs. Chen (Peggy Lu) from Sony’s Venom movies. However, bizarrely absent from Across the Spider-Verse is none other than Dakota Johnson’s Madame Web.
Sony’s Madame Web is set to be 2024’s first superhero movie (kicking the year off after the infamously rough trip around the sun that 2023 proved to be for the comic-book movie genre.) While early reception to Madame Web’s trailers and marketing has been mixed, the nature of her powers makes her an obvious choice to appear in any Spider-Man multiverse movie. In the comics, Madame Web possesses vast powers of telepathy and extra-sensory perception. Additionally, she’s also been portrayed as a kind of supernatural intermediary and heroic guide for Web-Slingers through the multiverse. Spider-Man: The Animated Series introduced Madame Web this way, establishing her as a kind of multiversal demi-goddess who covertly trains Peter Parker to eventually lead a team of Wall Crawlers from other universes. Across the Spider-Verse would have been the perfect opportunity to introduce Johnson’s Madame Web as exactly that, ahead of her origin story in her solo film.
A recent report by Variety suggests that Sony is taking more of an individualized strategy with both Madame Web and its movies devoted to Spider-Man villains, but this is a flawed strategy on multiple levels. To begin with, the concept of the multiverse has already been firmly established as the next evolution of the superhero genre, and the Spider-Man franchise has been a key player in cementing that with both Spider-Man: No Way Home and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Moreover, Sony’s Spider-Man adjacent movies simply cannot continue long term without the eventual introduction of a Spider-Man, and establishing Madame Web’s connection to every Spider-Person in the multiverse could have gone a long way towards setting that up had she appeared in Across the Spider-Verse.
Madame Web herself is not even a Marvel character who is widely known to the general public, but Across the Spider-Verse could have helped address the problem. A Madame Web cameo in Across the Spider-Verse could have familiarized audiences with her well before the Madam Web movie, allowing Sony to build upon such an appearance in the lead-up to the film. Indeed, the blowout success of Across the Spider-Verse would have made that endeavour that much easier to pull off, with Sony riding the wave of Across the Spider-Verse’s box office success and widespread positive reception into the next Spider-Verse movie to hit theatres.
Much of Madam Web’s story still remains ambiguous, with the trailers mainly teasing Dakota Johnson’s Cassandra Webb developing her telepathic abilities and Ezekiel Simms (Tahar Ramin) pursuing Cassandra and her friends while clad in a mysterious Spider-Man-like outfit. The concept of Madame Web as a character makes her the perfect bridge among all of Sony and Marvel Studios’ disparate Web-Heads, which the Madame Web movie may or may not endeavour to set up. Still, the missed opportunity of Madame Web coming in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse would have given Spidey’s clairvoyant ally quite a boost.
What’s your take? Do you share our view that Across The Spider-Verse missed a unique opportunity with Madam Web here?
Brad Curran is a dedicated writer from the United States with a love of all things nerdy. Brad’s interests range from action and martial arts flicks to superhero movies from both the DC and Marvel universes, to horror movies and sci-fi epics, with all of his interests united by his innate love of adventure.
Since 2013, Brad has brought his deep love for and experience with martial arts to his work with Kung Fu Kingdom, where he has covered everything from movies and TV to training and interviews with stars likes Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Tony Jaa, Jackie Chan, Joe Taslim, and Shannon Lee, to name just a few. Brad also expanded his career in entertainment journalism in his work with as a features writer for Screen Rant, where Brad brought his skill as on a range of topics like superheroes, the Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise, and the history making story of the Snyder Cut. Brad also utilized his skill as an interviewer to his work with Screen Rant, where his interview resume includes big stars like Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Dante Basco, Janet Varney, Annette O’Toole, Dolph Lundgren, and many others.
Most importantly of all, Brad also considers Raul Julia’s M. Bison to be the most quotable movie character of all time, bar none.