Madame Web has never been a household name. However, Sony, is reportedly developing a Madame Web film. This might sound like a strange idea for a film, since the character is so obscure. While the future-seeing Spider-Man supporting character has helped out Peter Parker on occasion for years, her biggest claim to fame is probably as an supporting character on Spider-Man: The Animated Series in the '90s or being kidnapped by the Juggernaut once.
Either way, Madame Web isn't exactly a character who begs to star in her own feature film. However, a Madame Web movie makes a lot more sense considering who is currently Madame Web in the Marvel Universe, Julia Carpenter. The one-time Spider-Woman is already fairly well-known and is the kind of character who could definitely support her own feature and play a central role in Sony's Spider-Man plans.
Who is Madame Web?
The original Madame Web was a clairvoyant mutant who is attached to the Great Web that binds all Spider-folk across reality. Created by Dennis O'Neil and John Romita Jr. in 1980's Amazing Spider-Man #210, Cassandra Webb, the first Madame Web, can see the future, read minds, and is bound to what is often referred to as "the web of fate."
However, Webb was also blind and suffered from a degenerative disease which confined her to a web-like life-support system. While she is brilliant and possesses a great mind, she has limited mobility, much like Charles Xavier. However, this all changed when she was granted youth and supposed "immortality" in the late '90s storyline, "The Gathering of Five." After a few years, she was ultimately killed by Sasha Kravinoff, but not before she could transfer her powers to Julia Carpenter.
WHO IS JULIA CARPENTER?
When she debuted in the middle of Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck's Secret Wars #6, Julia Carpenter was the second Spider-Woman. While she's gone by multiple superhero names, she's settled into a role as the new Madame Web for most of the past decade.
Carpenter gained her original abilities powers as the result of a government experiment that forcibly gave her spider powers. Since teaming up with the Avengers in Secret Wars, she's been a member of the West Coast Avengers and its follow-up group Force Works, teamed up with Spider-Man and found the time to to raise a daughter -- Rachel. She also starred in multiple team titles and in a few solo adventures of her own and appeared as a regular character, along with the rest of Force Works, on Iron Man: The Animated Series in the '90s.
Later on, a retired Carpenter and Jessica Drew, the first Spider-Woman, were both attacked by a person named Charlotte Witter, who robbed them of their powers as Mattie Franklin emerged as a new Spider-Woman.
Although her original abilities eventually returned, her Madame Web powers cost her her vision. However, she retained the telepathy that made her a fierce physical combatant. As Madame Web, Julia has also played a meaningful role in events like Spider-Verse and Spider-Island, where she's been able to predict threats before the become apparent.
Even though Charlotte Witter is a relatively minor villain in comics, she still has strong ties to both Julia and the original Madame Web. Witter was the fourth Spider-Woman and just so happens to be the original Madame Web's granddaughter. She possesses a set of spider-legs that jut out from her body, can hypnotize men with a gaze, but, most importantly, she can absorb Spider powers from other Spider-People.
After absorbing several people's abilities, she was eventually defeated by Mattie Franklin, the third Spider-Woman, who also received training from the original Madame Web before being killed by Sasha Kravinoff.
Franklin, in many ways, appeared to be next in line for the Web role before Franklin was killed off, which makes for an interesting passing of the mantle storyline in retrospect. The intended recipient is slain, only for a new, equally deserving one to be found in Julia.
Given her connections to multiple Madames Web, Witter seems like a natural candidate to serve as the villain in any potential Madame Web film.
The Apparent Path
With all of the aforementioned elements in mind, a Madame Web seems like a much more sustainable -- and potentially fascinating -- idea. With multiple Spider-Women, a government agency trying to replicate Spider-powers, a strong potential villain and a seemingly natural passing-of-the-torch storyline between Madame Webs, the path forward for a Madame Web movie becomes fairly apparent.
It's not hard to see Carpenter as the hero and mother stuck in a three-way conflict between the government agency creating Spider People, a power-hungry Witter, and Madame Web herself, seeing all the threads and trying to stop everything from going crazy. Even Mattie Franklin could feasibly have a role somewhere in this scenario, before Julia inevitably ends up with Madame Web's powers before the film's final fight.
The Trail to Spider-Verse
While a general outline for a Madame Web film becomes apparent, but there remains one crucial key to the story that has yet to be established. In both the '90s animated series and the comics, Madame Web is a key component to the Spider-Verse storyline. In Spider-Man: TAS, she mentors Spider-Man across all of the third season, preparing him for some great calamity that comes to pass in the finale of Season Five.
That is, of course, the Secret Wars event and, more importantly, the 90s' equivalent of Spider-Verse, where Spider-Man teams up with alternate reality versions of himself to combat Spider-Carnage.
If Sony is serious about its rumored plans to branch out into a live-action Spider-Verse film, Madame Web could play a crucial role in gathering the multiverse iterations of Spider-Man and his amazing friends together in a Doctor Strange-like role. If that does indeed happen, Sony's Madame Web movie could end up tying the entire Spider-Verse together.