Issa Rae in Insecure

Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t the only upcoming Spider-Man movie that’s delving into the multiverse. Over in the animated realm, we’ll be reuniting next year with Shameik Moore’s Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, and naturally we can expect him to meet more Spider-heroes during his second cinematic adventure. Word’s come in that Jessica Drew, a.k.a. Spider-Woman, will be one of those heroes, and she’ll be voiced by Insecure actress Issa Rae.

This Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 casting hails from THR, making Issa Rae the first new actor to board the superhero sequel. In addition to Shameik Moore returning, Hailee Steinfeld is also on deck to reprise Gwen Stacy, a.k.a. Spider-Gwen, the Spider-Woman of her Earth. It’s unclear if Rae’s Jessica Drew will hail from Miles’ Earth or a different universe.

After attracting attention with her web series Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae became well known for starring in HBO’s Insecure, which she created with Larry Wilmore. Insecure Season 4 aired last year and will conclude at a yet-to-be-announced date with Season 5. Rae’s other notable credits include The Hate U Give, The Photograph, The Lovebirds, Bojack Horseman, executive producing A Black Lady Sketch Show and hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2020.

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Jessica Drew made her Marvel Comics debut in 1977’s Marvel Spotlight #32, 15 years after Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, first popped up in Amazing Fantasy #15. Although Jessica and Peter both take their superhero monikers from the same order of arachnids, they actually aren’t as closely tied together as you might think. For one thing, instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider, Jessica (in her original origin story) gained her powers when her father injected her with a serum based on irradiated spider blood to cure her of uranium poisoning. Like Peter, Jessica has super strength and can crawl on walls, but her other abilities include manipulating pheromones and projecting bio-electric energy. Also, before becoming a superhero, Jessica Drew was brainwashed into being a HYDRA agent.

All this being said, Jessica and Peter have teamed up on a number of occasions, including in the Spider-Verse crossover, and Jessica has been affiliated with teams/organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, S.W.O.R.D. and the Web-Warriors. Outside of the comics, Jessica starred in a short-lived animated series centered on her that aired from 1979 to 1980, as well as appeared in video games like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Needless to say that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 will introduce her to a lot of people.

While Jessica Drew may be the first new character to be cast in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, she’s not the first new character to be revealed for the sequel. Back in late 2019, producer and co-writer Phil Lord revealed that Takuya Yamashiro, the lead of the 1970s Japanese live-action Spider-Man TV series, would appear, though there’s been no word on who will voice him. It’s also a good bet we’ll see more of Oscar Isaac’s Miguel O’Hara, a.k.a. Spider-Man 2099, who cameoed at the end of the first Spider-Verse movie.

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Directed by Joaquin Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson, with them working off a script penned by David Callaham, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 will spin its web in theaters on October 7, 2022. If you’re curious about what’s coming out later this year, head to our upcoming 2021 movies guide.

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