For the past several years, Sony Pictures has not been shy in its development of the Marvel properties under their jurisdiction. Some of these have come to bear fruit (Venom, Morbius), others have fallen apart (Nightwatch) and many still remain in development (Jackpot, Silk). The last category is the most interesting and it contains a couple of properties in Madame Web and Spider-Woman that seem to have generated a lot of attention since it was revealed in February that the latter was being developed. In that times, a common conception has, apparently, become a shared “truth” among fans: that Sony is developing one Madame Web/Spider-Woman film featuring Julia Carpenter, a character who has borne both those mantles in the comics.
This conjecture, while understandable, seems to be based solely on fan speculation centered on making the connection pointed out above. Evidence, however, seems to suggest that this very popular fan theory, while sensible, isn’t the direction Sony is taking. By now we all know that plans change all the time at studios (I mean Sony had Cheo Hodari Coker and Spike Lee on Nightwatch and then STOPPED developing the project!), so it’s possible that, since February, Sony has changed its course. However, evidence exists that clearly indicates that Sony was developing two projects, not one.
Madame Web is the longer gestating of the two projects with documentation dating back to April of 2019. Sony executive Palak Patel was hired to oversee the development of the film and hired the team of Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless to write the film.
The development of Spider-Woman is a more recent project with documentation first appearing in December of 2019. Like Madame Web, Patel is overseeing the project for Sony; however, unlike Madame Web, Rachel O’Connor is also overseeing the project with Amy Pascal producing.
As I first mentioned back in February, O’Connor’s association with Spider-Woman is very interesting in that her only credits on Sony films have come on the Sony/Marvel Studios collaborations on the recent Spider-Man films but that piece has already been written. What needs to be clarified here is that Sony’s Spider-Woman film, whether it’s a Sony project or a collaboration, absolutely and beyond a shadow of a doubt was a Jessica Drew story as of February. The same documentation that shows Patel, O’Connor and Pascal working on the film clearly explains who the film is about and indicates that Sony was actively searching for an actress, 25-35 to play “Jessica Drew AKA Spider-Woman.”
As stated in the open, plans change and Sony changes plans with the best of them. That being said, it’s time to put the fan speculation to rest and, instead, focus on hard, evidence-based facts: Madame Web is its own entity and the Spider-Woman movie is a Jessica Drew vehicle. Full stop.