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Dakota Johnson to reportedly lead a Spider-Man spinoff movie

Dakota Johnson has been caught up in Sony's growing Spider-Man web. 

The Fifty Shades of Grey star is in talks to play Madame Web in a Spider-Man spinoff movie of the same name, according to Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter. In the Marvel comics, Madame Web is a character associated with Spider-Man who can see into the future, and she's usually depicted as an old woman kept alive by a life support system that looks like a web. 

This will be Johnson's first time starring in a Marvel superhero movie. In the years since her roles in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, she's often steered toward smaller films including the Netflix drama The Lost Daughter and the upcoming Cha Cha Real Smooth, which drew strong reviews out of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and was purchased by Apple. 

The Madame Web movie is set to be directed by S.J. Clarkson, and it's one of a number of projects that Sony has in development based on Spider-Man characters but that don't actually center around Tom Holland's Peter Parker. That slate of films includes the Venom movies starring Tom Hardy, as well as the upcoming Morbius starring Jared Leto. These movies exist separately from Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Sony makes them without the involvement of Marvel Studios. This is as opposed to the Holland Spider-Man films like No Way Home, which do exist in the MCU and are made by both Sony and Marvel Studios. 

Sony appears to be doubling down on these spinoff films in the wake of Spider-Man: No Way Home becoming one of the most successful films in U.S. box office history — although Deadline cryptically writes that because the character of Madame Web "never actively fought any villains," it's "possible the project could turn into something else."