When you ask somebody if they have ever seen a Spider-Man movie, it would be likely to hear them ask, “Which one?” We have seen more than enough movies starring Peter Parker’s alter ego, going back as far as the 1970s (those were television films) and as recently as 2019, and there have even been a few spinoffs. One of Marvel Comics’ lesser-known Web-Slingers who has not been given a big screen adventure of her own is Spider-Woman, but it looks like that is about to change soon.
Olivia Wilde, a talented actress who made an impressive feature-length directorial debut with last year’s high school comedy Booksmart, is reportedly working out a deal to direct a movie centered on Spider-Woman for Sony. Not much else is known about the project at this time, such as which iteration of the Marvel heroine the film plans to focus on. It could be assumed that Gwen Stacy may be the star since Hailee Steinfeld’s portrayal in the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse previously sparked discussion of her own animated spinoff, but even Mary Jane Watson has been known fight under the moniker in a few alternate realities.
However, the first name that pops into any diehard Marvel fan’s head when they hear news about Spider-Woman is Jessica Drew, the OG female Web-Slinger. With our finger crossed in hopes that Olivia Wilde’s movie will finally give “Jess” her due on the big screen, the following are five intriguing facts that should fill you in on the most essential web of information about her.
Instead Of A Bite, Jessica's Father Gave Her Spider-Woman Powers
Created by writer Jim Mooney, illustrators Sal Buscema and Marie Severin, and Marvel's then-Editor-in-Chief Archie Goodwin, Spider-Woman made her first appearance in February 1977’s Marvel Spotlight #32. She was born Jessica Miriam Drew in London, England, to a pair of scientists whose HYDRA-funded research actually became responsible for her arachnoid abilities. Her father, Jonathan Drew, injected a young Jess with a serum made from the irradiated blood of various rare spider types hoping to cure her from a lethal exposure to uranium.
When it appeared that the dose had no effect on her, Jonathan Drew’s research partner, Herbert Wyndham, whom Marvel fans would come to know as the being called High Evolutionary, put Jessica in a genetic accelerator of his design. While it would prove successful in keeping her alive, instead of speeding up the healing, it greatly slowed her aging process. She would emerge from her induced hibernation after decades, still physically in her teens and imbued with extraordinary abilities, such as…
Spider-Woman’s Abilities Even Outweigh Spider-Man
Jessica Drew did not choose the alias “Spider-Woman” for nothing. However, with the exception of crawling walls, expert martial arts and other superhuman capabilities, she does possess many of the essentials that her fellow male Web-Head Spider-Man is famous for, specifically the Spider-Sense and the traditional web shooters. Yet, what she lacks in things Peter Parker can do, she makes up for it with things he cannot do, without even counting her skills in espionage.
The ability to shoot webs to get around or to fight evil is not really necessary anyway when you are gifted with self-propelled glide and bio-electric “Venom Blasts,” much like what Miles Morales can do. Spider-Woman can also generate pheromones which can either attract or repulse targets, which was a condition out of her control until she learned to master it. However, in the Ultimate universe, Jessica Drew is imagined as a female clone of Peter Parker with all the same kinds of abilities.
Spider-Woman Was Manipulated Into Being A HYDRA Assassin
As I mentioned earlier, Spider-Woman is also a skilled secret agent, and even was awarded Level 7 status at S.H.I.E.L.D. However, she was not always employed by the good guys (according to comic book canon), but unwitting to her, that is. Not long after she awoke from her genetic hibernation, Jessica Drew was brainwashed by HYDRA and trained by Taskmaster to become a weapon of their control under the codename Arachne.
In fact, the cover art of her first Marvel comics appearance depicts Jessica Drew targeting S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, her first and only mission for HYDRA which she would come to refuse before initiating a successful rebellion. She would then redeem herself by using her abilities for good as Spider-Woman.
Spider-Woman Has An Infant Son With Spider Physiology
Like any other character in the Marvel lexicon that you can think, there are actually numerous alternate versions of Spider-Woman’s son. In the MC2 Universe, for instance, Gerald Drew (or “Gerry”) is given powers in a similar way to how Jessica Drew does, eventually taking over for his retired mother as the new Spider-Man. However, I would rather focus on Gerry from the Earth-616 continuity, not just because it is the primary timeline, but because I find the reinvention the character in that timeline to be much more interesting.
Born in an alien hospital inside a black hole in the midst of a Skull invasion, Gerald Drew first appeared in Spider-Woman Vol. 6 #4 in 2016 and [immediately exhibited abilities almost identical](https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/GeraldDrew(Earth-616) to his mother’s. He can climb walls and give people a good shock with his venom blasts, and even family friend Carol Danvers (yes, I mean Captain Marvel) once met her match with this unusually strong infant. That being said, he does not have much control over his powers at this time, but will surely be a force to be reckoned with and make his “spider-mom” proud when he comes of age.
Spider-Woman Is Allergic To Flerken
Jessica Drew does not have too many weaknesses to make special note of, outside her fear of rats, maybe. Yet, one fun bit of trivia about Spider-Woman worth mentioning is an unusual allergy of hers.
You may recall from the 2019 Captain Marvel movie a cat named Goose that appears normal until it reveals tentacles that protrude from its mouth, and Goose also turned out to be the reason for Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) eye patch. This is an alien species known as Flerken, one of which Carol Danvers kept as a pet, but much to the chagrin of her friend Jessica Drew, due to the allergic reaction it causes her. I want to see a crossover with Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel more than ever now just for this reason.
What do you think? Do these facts make you even more excited for the possibility that Jessica Drew may be the star of Olivia Wilde’s alleged Spider-Woman movie, or do you still really want to see that Spider-Gwen spin-off? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the overlooked Marvel heroine, as well as even more in-depth looks at some your favorite comic book characters, here on CinemaBlend.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.