We May Already Know When ‘MADAME WEB’ Occurs on the SSU Timeline

Listen, I know what you’re thinking: “Great, another Sony Marvel movie. Can’t wait to not watch it.” And sure, in some regards, you’d be right. The films of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU), those being Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Morbius have been very hit-or-miss, with many questioning the purpose of a cinematic universe built around a character who has not yet appeared in said universe. But I genuinely believe that Sony’s upcoming flick, Madame Web, may potentially change that. The film is a curious one, as it promises to tell the story of the titular character portrayed by Dakota Johnson, one who is inextricably linked with Spider-Man and the surrounding multiverse, something films like Let There Be Carnage and Morbius have already dabbled in, with the character of Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote travelling to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in the former, and Adrian Toomes/Vulture travelling from the MCU to the SSU in the latter. The film is also notable for another story feature: its placement in the SSU timeline. In the following article, we will explore not only the current timeline of the SSU but also when Madame Web will be set in it.

So, let’s start off with the current SSU timeline. Sony’s first film in the universe, Venom, begins conveniently in the year of its release, October 2018, not before quickly jumping ahead 6 months to April 2019. Next up is Morbius, which begins with a prologue in 1997, with the film’s main events taking place shortly after the end of Venom in June 2019. Finally, Venom: Let There Be Carnage also has a mid-90s prologue set in 1996, with the rest of the film’s story taking place a year and a half after its predecessor from Late October – Early November 2020. All of this information can be found in @Geekritique’s MCU Chronological Timeline v7.0. It is currently unclear where the future SSU projects will be placed, with the Untitled Venom: Let There Be Carnage sequel likely taking place post-November 2020, but films like Kraven the Hunter and El Muerto and series like Silk and Silver & Black are still very unclear.

With that down, let’s get to the main topic: Madame Web. As we mentioned earlier, the film is notable for being an anomaly, as from the evidence we are about to present, this film takes place in the SSU’s past, before even Venom. First of all, Kendall Cooper Casting is looking for “cars from 2003 or earlier” for the film “Claire” (Madame Web’s working title). A similar request was made in a post by Michael Indelicato to the Dodge Viper Owners and All Viper Clubs Member’s Site group on Facebook who stated that the film needed “early 2000 – 2003 Vipers”, firmly establishing an early 2000s timeline placement for the film. But can we pinpoint a year, and maybe even a month or two? Well by now you may be noticing a pattern, that the furthest year the casting calls request cars from is 2003. This is supported by set photos released by Boston.com showing a billboard for Beyoncé’s debut studio album Dangerously in Love, released on June 20th, 2003.

More evidence pointing to a late 2003 placement can be seen in a TikTok released by @mickmicknyc showing a newsstand with various era-accurate magazines (0:23 – 0:28). In chronological order, these are:

  • The January 6th, 2003 edition of New York.
  • The March 17th, 2003 edition of the New York Daily News featuring the then-President George W. Bush.
  • The April 2003 edition of Backpacker.
  • The August 2003 edition of Vanity Fair, featuring John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy.
  • The August 2003 edition of Popular Science.
  • The August 19th, 2003 edition of Mopar Muscle.
  • The August 29th, 2003 edition of the New York Post featuring Beyoncé and the “heartbreaking” 9/11 Tapes.
  • The September 2003 edition of Maxim featuring Mariah Carey.
  • The October 2003 edition of Guns & Ammo.
  • The October 2003 edition of Seventeen featuring Paris Hilton.
  • The November 10th, 2003 edition of Fortune.
  • The November 2003 edition of Details featuring Keanu Reeves (funnily enough the August 2003 edition features Tobey Maguire).
  • The August 2002 edition of Maxim can also be seen, but given that there are two other pieces of set design featuring Beyoncé from 2003, this may be just a way to pad out the background with a celebrity popular at the time.
  • It is also worth noting that the film’s original release date was July 7th, 2023, before being moved to October 6th of that same year, and then again to February 16th, 2024, meaning the film may have been originally intended to be a big, fun Summer/Autumn blockbuster

    And there you have it! Our proposed timeline placement of Madame Web is that it will take place primarily in late 2003, with a high likelihood of an August – November 2003 placement. Do you disagree? Is it likely this is just set dressing for a flashback? Have any other thoughts about when this or other upcoming SSU projects could take place? Are you even excited for the future of Sony’s MCU-adjacent universe? Leave a comment below or tag us on Twitter @Blacklight or @Geekritique with your thoughts and make sure you check out one of my next articles which will explore the identity of the Spider-Man in the SSU.

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