Julia Carpenter has a comic book history as both Spider-Woman and Madame Web

Julia Carpenter as Spider-Woman in Marvel Comics
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Actor Sydney Sweeney has confirmed that she's taking the role of Julia Carpenter, the second Spider-Woman in Marvel Comics, in the upcoming Madame Web film as part of Sony's Spider-Man Universe.

The pairing makes perfect sense, as Julia Carpenter has a long, interconnected history with Madame Web. In fact, after her time as Spider-Woman, Julia became the second Madame Web, adding another Spider-legacy to her resume.

So how will Sydney Sweeney's version of Julia Carpenter factor into the still mostly mysterious plot of the Madame Web movie? We can't say for certain - but the Marvel Comics history of Julia Carpenter, the second Spider-Woman, may just offer some clues.

Julia Carpenter debuted in the 1985 limited series Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars by writer Jim Shooter and artists Mike Zeck and Bob Layton, in which an all-powerful being known as the Beyonder teleported some of Marvel's top heroes and villains to a world of his own making, forcing them to fight over a portion of his omnipotent power.

Secret Wars #7 panel

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

To create his so-called Battleworld, the Beyonder takes chunks of Earth and other worlds and mashes them together, including Julia Carpenter's home city of Denver, Colorado, bringing her with it. In the story, it's established that Julia has already been operating as Spider-Woman in secret as a government agent, similar to her predecessor Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman.

Julia got her Spider-Woman powers in an experiment designed to duplicate the abilities of Spider-Man, which also imbued her with her own unique ability to create psionic webs. Though she first starts out Secret Wars on the side of the villains, she quickly joins the heroes after meeting Spider-Man.

But that's not the end of Julia's anti-hero behavior. When the heroes and villains return to Earth in the wake of Secret Wars, Julia joins the government sanctioned mutant hunting team Freedom Force, effectively making her an X-Men villain for a short time.

However, when Freedom Force clashes with the Avengers and X-Men, she becomes a hero once more, joining the West Coast Avengers for a long stint, well into the '90s. After a brief retirement to raise her daughter as a single mother, Julia returns to superheroics under the codename Arachne, which she keeps until her ascension into the role of Madame Web.

Julia becomes Madame Web when the original is killed by none other than Ana Kraven, the daughter of Kraven the Hunter, with the original Madame Web psychically passing on her abilities to Julia through the so-called 'Great Web' that connects different Spider-heroes across the Multiverse.

Amazing Spider-Man #637 page

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

This leads straight to the events of Spider-Verse, in which Julia takes Madame Web's place as a seer and organizer of heroes across the Multiverse, though she also goes blind, just like her predecessor. She's remained Madame Web ever since.

What could be interesting is the potential for the Madame Web film to capitalize on the mentor/mentee relationship between Julia Carpenter and the original Madame Web, and even their connections to the Spider-Verse.

It's also interesting that Sony is about to release a Kraven the Hunter movie as part of its growing Spider-Man spin-off franchise, given the Kraven dynasty's connection to the death of the original Madame Web.

And since she initially made her debut in Secret Wars, this also begs the question of whether she might have some kind of appearance in the upcoming MCU Avengers: Secret Wars movie - though that would require some behind-the-scenes cooperation with Sony at this point. 

Sadly, as we don't have psychic precognition powers of our own, all we can do is guess - but the fact that Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman is coming to the Madame Web movie suggests Sony will be diving headlong into their comic book history.

Julia Carpenter is a key part of Spider-Verse, one of the best Spider-Man stories ever.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)