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Issa Rae Spider-Woman Sony Sequel Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
When it comes to the Marvel Comic Universe, the news never stops. It feels like every day there is another plot leak, casting reveal, or major hint dropped about an upcoming project from some mega-combination of Disney Plus, Marvel Studios, and/or Sony Pictures, released in collaboration with the eternal spirit of Stan Lee’s moustache, and titled something like AvengersExtraSpidermanMultiverse: Loki Gets Revenge on Ragnorak Thormageddon Palooza, Extended Director’s Cut (available in theaters or via brain implant on December 11th, every year until ∞).
My point is, not every update deserves our attention. But Issa Rae being cast as Spider-Woman, AKA Jessica Drew, in the sequel to 2018’s animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is very good and very important news. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rae will join returning actors Shameik Moore, who voiced the film’s hero Miles Morales, and Hailee Steinfeld who played Gwen Stacy, a.k.a. Spider-Gwen. Both actors have already confirmed they will appear in the sequel which, after multiple reschedules, is now set to arrive in theaters on October 7th, 2022. Rae is the first new addition to be announced.
Little is known about the sequel’s plot, but it’s safe to assume that it will have a similar, multiverse structure as Into the Spider-Verse. In the Oscar-winning film, a young Brooklyn kid named Miles Morales becomes the new Spider-Man and acclimates to the role with a little help from other Spider characters across multiple universes. John Mulaney plays a pig who was bitten by a spider and now goes by the name Spider-Ham, and Nicholas Cage turns in a memorable performance as an old-school, Humphrey Bogart-esque Spider-Man known as Spider-Man Noir.
To put it simply, Into the Spider-Verse blew people’s minds when it first came out. Pretty much everyone from Barack Obama to Kevin Smith praised the film for its heart, humor, and comic book-come-to-life quality of animation. Even MCU’s Spider-Man and Esquire cover star Tom Holland gave the film a glowing review, writing on Instagram, “Honestly one of the coolest films I’ve ever seen. Do yourself a favor and go see this movie.”
As for the sequel’s closely guarded plot, some have suggested that the presence of Spider-Woman means that the film might include a visit to one of MCU’s most important landscapes, Wundagore Mountain. You see, Spider-Woman, who made her Marvel debut in 1977, grew up on Wundagore Mountain after moving there with her family from London when she was a young girl. You know who else is from Wundagore Mountain? Quicksilver and his twin the Scarlet Witch, aka Wanda. Does that mean we’ll be getting an Elizabeth Olsen cameo in the Into the Spider-Verse sequel?? Probably not, but who the hell knows!
Just like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the follow-up film exists in a separate universe than the MCU Spider-Man films, but that doesn’t mean a future, potential collaboration that melds the two worlds is entirely out of the question. When it comes to Spider-Woman, the two studios could reach an agreement that allows them to share the rights to the character, just like they did in regards to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films. But as of now, both Sony and Marvel are developing their own separate takes on Spider-Woman. As Esquire’s own Brady Langmann reported recently, Emilia Clarke is rumored to have been cast in the role of Spider-Woman in Marvel’s upcoming Disney+ series, Secret Invasion.
Then there is the question of Olivia Wilde’s upcoming Marvel feature. The Booksmart director essentially confirmed the “female-driven film” will focus on Spider-Woman when she dropped the spider emoji on her Twitter back in August of 2020. The film is technically a Sony production, which makes me think Issa Rae will star in it. But then Wilde spilled the beans that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is involved in the project, so maybe Emilia Clarke will play the lead. Or, hell, maybe it’ll go to Stanley Tucci, or June Squib, or considering the streak she’s been on, the incomparable Jean Smart. If that happens, you can bet I’ll blog about it.
Abigail Covington is a journalist and cultural critic based in Brooklyn, New York but originally from North Carolina, whose work has appeared in Slate, The Nation, Oxford American, and Pitchfork
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