Dakota Johnson was reported by Deadline to be assigned a role in Sony’s “Madame Web” earlier this week. The actress seemingly confirmed it on Sunday by posting a spider emoji on her Instagram story. This was an apparent reference to reports of her casting as the lead character Madame Web.
Although there has been no official announcement from Sony, Johnson’s post is an obvious nod to a potential casting and seemingly positive response to reports of her being in talks with Sony for a while now.
Although not much is known about the film, the scriptwriters were Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, while S.J. Clarkson was the director.
Per THR, the lead character is a “clairvoyant mutant who specializes in predicting the future of Spider-themed superheroes, having mentored not only Peter Parker’s alter ego but also multiple generations of heroes calling themselves Spider-Woman. Traditionally depicted as a blind, paralyzed old woman, she is surrounded by a web-like machine necessary to keep her alive, meaning that she stays away from direct conflict, favoring the option to send others to do the physical stuff on her behalf.”
Johnson Faces Backlash Over Her Potential Role
However, the potential decision to cast Johnson has not been well-received. Madame Webb is a blind woman who relies on machines to survive in the comic books.
On the other hand, Johnson is non-disabled and takes the role away from a disabled actor.
“Hell no, disabled actresses exist! Madame Web is a canonically blind character with myasthenia gravis; disabled mimicry is so annoying,” said one viewer on Twitter.
“Not to mention the fact that Madame Web is blind (at least in the older adaptation, don’t know if she’s blind in the younger adaptations), and this takes away a blind actor’s role in these films too,” a second follower commented.
“@SonyPictures No. Not. She should be old, and you also might want to consider someone who is blind. #madameweb,” a third person commented.
Other fans suggested that Johnson could play the role of Julia Carpenter, a character who’s not blind and later became Madame Webb.
“It’d be kinda cool to see disabled representation, given it’s Madame Web. Maybe it is Julia Carpenter, and she eventually becomes a new Madame Web? Idk,” tweeted a follower.
What Is ‘Madame Web’ About?
Madame Web’s heroic origin starts after being injected with a mix of exotic plant extracts and spider venom during a government project.
The cocktail gave Web powers akin to those of Spider-Man. This led her to take up the alias of “Spider-Woman.”
Her typical power set includes precognition, telepathy, and astral projection. Usually, Web’s role is a supporting character in spider-related movies. She usually serves as an adviser for various heroes, although she has rarely been involved in any action herself.
Perhaps her supernatural abilities may cause Sony to use her as its first female standalone hero, especially now that it is exploring the Multiverse just as the MCU recently is.
There is no official release date, although with Jackson being the lead character, further announcements are expected to trickle in soon.
Other Times Marvel Was Criticised For Its Casting
This is not the only time Marvel has faced backlash for its cast. Seven years ago, Marvel was hit with similar backlash after Charlie Cox was cast as Matt Murdock, a blind superhero, in Daredevil. This was confirmed in Kevin Feige’s interview with Cinema Blend.
“If you were to see Daredevil in upcoming things, Charlie Cox, yes, would be the actor playing Daredevil. Where we see that, how we see that, when we see that, remains to be seen,” he added in the interview.
However, casting at Marvel has progressed in recent years, with Alaqua Cox, a deaf, Native American actor, playing Maya in “Hawkeye” and deaf actor Lauren Ridloff taking on the role of Makkari. In “Eternals.”
Future Projects For Johnson
The “Fifty Shades Of Grey” actress has recently been signed to produce an adaptation for Amazon titled “The End of Getting Lost.”
The movie would be set in the early 90s in Europe. It follows a recently married couple, Duncan and Gina, who go on a honeymoon.
The trip takes a different turn when Gina suffers a mysterious accident. From there, the story begins to alternate between past and present. The story also hovers over the couple’s perspective, painting a picture of “love’s power and dangers.”
As they try to get to the bottom of the mystery, their former lives threaten to catch up with the couple.
The novel, written by Robin Kirman, will be released on February 15. There are no further announcements on the adaptation yet.