Is Madame Web a Marvel movie? Well, technically yes but the answer is complicated

Technically speaking, Madame Web is a Marvel movie but the full answer is more complicated.

Cassandra Webb/Madame Web (Dakota Johnson) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB.
Cassandra Webb/Madame Web (Dakota Johnson) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB. /

On Valentine's Day, the first Marvel movie of 2024 hit theaters with the release of Madame Web in theaters nationwide.

The new Marvel film puts a focus on the Spider-Verse with a film starring four iconic characters from the pages of Spider-Man comics including the title character, Madame Web. While the film is an ensemble feature, don't let that fool you as the movie is very much an origin story about the title character with Dakota Johnson starring as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic who develops the ability to see the future after a near-death experience.

While still coming to grips with her newfound abilities, Cassie is thrust into an unexpected race to save the lives of three young women destined for greatness.

It's no spoiler to say that in addition to introducing Madame Web, the movie also introduces audiences to two variations of Spider-Woman as well as Spider-Girl. Without spoilers, let's just say that the way in which the characters are introduced seems to hint there is more story to be told from the three heroes and we hope that is indeed the case. Just don't expect those stories to play out within the MCU.

Madame Web is a Marvel movie, but not a part of the MCU

While Madame Web is indeed a Marvel movie that adapts the stories of several iconic Marvel Comics characters, the movie hails from Sony and was created in association with Marvel and is not a Marvel Studios release. This means that, despite what many online seem to believe, Madame Web is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, the film is a stand-alone film set within the universe Sony is looking to create.

Of course, because Marvel Studios is currently building its multiverse, there is always the chance that Marvel could strike a deal with Sony to feature Madame Web or any of its characters in a future MCU film, but at the moment there is no connection at all to the MCU and Madame Web. In fact, Madame Web doesn't share any confirmed connections to any current franchise.

Madame Web takes place in the past rather than in the present day, with the events of the film unfolding in the year 2003. Within the movie, there are no connections addressed to any other Marvel franchise including any of the Spider-Man franchises. If we had to guess, we would imagine Sony might have set the film in its ongoing Spider-Verse movie which would make sense given how the characters were taken by surprise when they saw the movie's wall-climbing villain hinting that they had never encountered a spider-inspired figure before.

Given Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man movies took place in the early 2000s with the first film coming out before 2003, his Spider-Man would have been established in that time period which hints that perhaps Madame Web is set in the current Spider-Verse. We say this because Tom Holland's Spider-Man did not make his public debut until around 2014 which would have been more than a decade after the events of Madame Web.

It's also worth noting that Sony's promotional materials have all described Madame Web as a standalone origin story so it's possible the storylines take place on a different timeline and within a universe that is not connected to anything we've seen from Sony thus far. In fact, the film's director has even boldly said her characters are in their own world -- though we'll see how Sony feels about that as it continues to build out its Spider-Verse.

“She’s definitely in a standalone world,” director S.J. Clarkson revealed to Collider “I was able to just have free rein and let the movie be what it needed to be, as opposed to trying to force it into something else. That was a gift, in a way, to be able to take something and bring a fresh and I hope original take to it.”