Are Julia, Anya, and Mattie in Marvel Comics? Why Do They Have No Powers?

Sony’s superhero film ‘Madame Web’ revolves around four distinct iterations of Spider-Women with Cassandra Webb, the clairvoyant Madame Web at the center. Delving into the woman’s backstory involving her mother’s trip to the Peruvian Amazon forests, the narrative follows Cassie’s early foray into dangerous heroics. However, throughout the story, as Cassie uses her prophetic abilities to save Julia Cornwall, Anya Corazón, and Mattie Franklin from their impending doom, the latter three girls’ lack of superhuman abilities remains evident. Therefore, fans must be intrigued by Julia, Anya, and Mattie’s characters, compelling them to wonder about their origins in the comic book as potentially super-powered individuals.

Julia, Anya, and Mattie: Marvel Comics’ Different Spider-Women

Even though ‘Madame Web’ seems to center around Cassandra Webb, who sports the eponymous superhero alias, it also becomes the pseudo-origin story of three other superheroes. Julia Cornwall— known in the comics as Arachne, Anya Corazón— A.K.A. Araña, and Mattie “Spider-Woman” Franklin all serve as the basis for their on-screen counterparts in the film. These women all possess spider-themed superpowers in the comics and become integral parts of the “Spider-verse.” However, these superheroes, emerging from different source materials penned over the years by multiple authors, don’t share an origin story as depicted in the film.

Sydney Sweeney’s Julia Cornwall emerges from the eponymous Marvel Comics character, Julia Carpenter née Cornwall. Canonically, the woman doesn’t receive her superpowers until adulthood, when she finds herself as a divorcee and the mother of one daughter, Rachel. She unwittingly enters the pathway to a superhero’s life after her college friend, Valerie Cooper, who works in the government division that creates super-agents, hires Julia as a test subject.

In the search for the means to create superhumans, the CSA (Commission on Superhuman Activities) extracted rare spider venoms from Peruvian Amazon jungles. Afterward, they regularly inject Julia with a specialized serum— without disclosing its properties to the woman. Therefore, after a particularly high dose, Julia ends up inheriting spider-like superpowers. Notably, aside from superstrength, agility, and speed, she sports psionic powers, which allow her to manipulate psionic energy to create web-like projections. Although Julia starts under the alias “Spider-Woman” at the CSA’s insistence, she eventually starts going by Arachne.

Similarly, Isabela Merced’s Anya Corazón also possesses a rich backstory in the comics that drastically diverges from her on-screen depiction. Anya’s superhero origins are entangled in the long-standing feud between the Spider Society and the Sisterhood of the Wasps. The two organizations have been fighting a secret war for centuries, wherein two champions, a Mage and a Hunter, fight against their counterparts from the other side. Anya is an original Spider Society Hunter descendant on her mother’s side.

Nevertheless, due to her mother’s early death, Anya never learned about her ancestry until a turn of events brought Spider Society Mage Miguel Legar to Brooklyn, who accidentally seals Anya’s fate as a Hunter champion. Therefore, she becomes a Spider Society Hunter, using a WebCorps internship as a front for her oblivious father. As a result of the same, she also dons the Araña alias. Her distinguishing powers as a “Spider-person” are her carapace armor and incredibly flexible skeleton.

Lastly, Celeste O’Connor’s Mattie Franklin also has an origin in the Marvel comics, distinct from her character’s depiction in ‘Madame Web.’ In the comics, Matties is the daughter of Jeremy Franklin, who is Norman Osborn’s business associate. As a result, the man receives an invitation from Osborn to attend the Gathering of the Five, an arcane ritual that bestows gifts and curses upon the participants. While Jeremy decides to decline the invitation, a fifteen-year-old Mattie ends up taking his place and receives the gift of power.

Mattie retains all the expected powers that come with being a superhero, including superstrength, speed, and agility— while also showcasing the momentary ability to absorb other Spider-Heroes’ abilities. One of her defining storylines stems from the time when she disguises herself as Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, her idol, when the latter goes missing for a while. Afterward, she continues crime-fighting under her own superhero name, Spider-Woman.

Why Don’t Julia, Anya, and Mattie Have Their Powers in Madame Web?

Despite their rich backgrounds in Marvel Comics as superheroes, Julia Cornwall, Anya Corazón, and Mattie Franklin remain non-superpowered civilians in the film. As such, Cassie Webb is the only one who inherits and channels her special arachnid powers throughout the film. As a result, the audience gets glimpses into the other three characters’ futures, where they embody their superhero personas. Nevertheless, the same is never fully actualized.

Director S.J. Clarkson explained the reasoning behind the same in an interview with ComicBook, where she shared, “Well, I thought it would be a bit greedy to do four origin stories. That’s not really fair, is it? I’ve got to share it. Come on. I mean, first and foremost, it’s Madame Web, right? But I hope the exciting thing about it is— this is a tease. And I think the origin story of the girls, we’re given, hopefully, a hint of the spirit of who they are.”

Thus, the conclusion emerges that Julia, Anya, and Mattie were simply supposed to receive their introduction into the ‘Madame Web’ standalone universe through this film. For the same reason, the narrative refrains from exploring a superhero origin story for all three characters and only utilizes them as an element in Cassie’s self-actualization journey.

Read More: When Does Madame Web Take Place?