Wait, Madame Web Is a Period Piece?

Wait, Madame Web Is a Period Piece?

Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney in Madame Web.

Image: Sony Pictures/Marvel

Ever since Sony revealed it was working on a solo movie for Madame Web, folks have had questions. Why her? How is this going to connect to whichever Spider-Man is swinging around now?

If you’ve watched the trailer, one of the questions may be when this movie is set. Superhero movies typically keep things in the relative present, but Entertainment Weekly’s recent preview notes that Madame Web is set in 2003. That effectively makes it the first period piece Spider-Man movie we’ve ever gotten, and the first mainstream superhero flick since 2020’s Wonder Woman 1984 to be set in the relative past. (What is it with women-led superhero movies being set two or three decades ago?) And this is apparently a different 2003 than the one we all lived through: at one point in the trailer, we see a New Yorker playing what’s clearly a PSP, which didn’t come out until 2005.

Why 2003? According to entertainment reporter Jeff Sneider, that’s a reshoots choice. The film was originally set in the 90s, where we’d learn this was set in the world of the Andrew Garfield-led Amazing Spider-Man movies. But Sneider claims Sony then decided to change to over to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, then axed the 90s out of the film entirely upon realizing the timelines didn’t match up. If true, it paints the film’s existence in an even weirder light than before. Adam Scott’s rumored to be playing a young Ben Parker, and he may not be the only way we learn which universe this is set in. Either way, it’s probably going to be a bit clunky, because Sony’s approach to worldbuilding in these movies is…well, y’know.

Madame Web releases in theaters on February 14.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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