Issa Rae Cast As Spider-Woman

By Michileen Martin | 17 seconds ago

issa rae insecure

With the releases of Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Venom, Aquaman, Black Panther, Incredibles 2, and more, 2018 was one of the busiest in recent years in terms of superhero movies. Yet in the midst of all the capes and Infinity Stones, the animated blockbuster Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse distinguished itself as one of the best reviewed superhero features ever. Now with the sequel on its way next October, we’ve just learned Issa Rae has been cast to voice Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman.

The casting news comes from Variety, who fittingly has talked to Issa Rae about Spider-Man in the past. In February 2020, Rae appeared on Variety’s podcast The Big Ticket and said that she had been a huge Spider-Man fan since the third grade. Ironically, at the time Rae said she wasn’t thrilled at the abundance of Spider-Man media. On the podcast she said, “But I’m just like, they are over saturating my guy to death.”

With the news of her casting, Issa Rae joins what is so far a relatively short list of actors confirmed to be returning for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2. The only other actors we know for sure are a lock for the sequel are Shameik Moore who will be reprising the lead role of Miles Morales aka Spider-Man, and Hailee Steinfeld who will once again voice Gwen Stacy (also known as Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, and these days in the comics, as Ghost-Spider). In April, prolific voice actor Christopher Daniel Barnes was reported as being cast in the sequel, but Barnes soon denied the claims, saying that he certainly wished they were true.

The first film included an all-star voice cast including Jake Johnson, Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Oscar Isaac, and more. It would seem likely — unless the filmmakers plan to get lazy on us — we’ll see a similarly impressive cast for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 including Issa Rae. What isn’t clear yet, however, is who may return from the first film. Fans will likely want to once more see Cage’s Spider-Man Noir, Mulaney’s Spider-Ham, and Kimiko Glenn’s SP//dr. But will they all return, or will we meet a whole new batch of alternate Spideys? Oscar Isaac voiced Miguel O’Hara — Spider-Man 2099 — in the first film, though that was before he was potentially busy making Dune 2.

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One interesting difference between Issa Rae’s character and the other alternate Spider heroes from the first film is that — as far as the source material is concerned — she’s the only one who doesn’t begin her fictional life as an alternate version of Spider-Man. Spider-Man and Spider-Woman start their lives in the same Marvel Comics narrative, with Jessica Drew first appearing in 1976’s Marvel Spotlight #32. In spite of the obvious similarity in codenames, the origins and powers claimed by Peter Parker and Jessica Drew respectively are quite different. While they share abilities like wall-crawling, super strength, agility, etc., unlike Spider-Man, Drew can fire off bio-electric charges from her body called venom blasts, can glide through the air, and secretes pheromones that can affect people’s emotions.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 is expected to hit theaters October 7, 2022. Phil Lord, who co-wrote the first film will return to writing duties on the sequel. He will be joined by Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie) and Dave Callaham (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings). Meanwhile, the co-directing team has changed to Joaquim Dos Santos (The Legend of Korra), Kemp Powers (Soul), and Justin K. Thompson (The Powerpuff Girls).