Pregnant Spider-Woman Actress Explains How Spider-Verse 2 Role Challenged Her Beliefs

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Spider-Verse Spider-Woman

Issa Rae, who plays a pregnant version of Spider-Woman in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, shared how playing the role changed one of her biggest beliefs.

Sony Pictures highlighted dozens of different Variants of the web-slinger throughout the course of Spider-Verse 2, including the first version of Jessica Drew to take center stage in a movie of this magnitude.

Drew became one of the biggest players in the main cast of the sequel as her Spider-Woman met Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy, adding to all of the chaos that took place in Sony's highly-anticipated sequel.

Pregnant Spider-Woman Actress Had Beliefs Changed

Jessica Drew Spider-Woman In Across the Spider-Verse

Speaking with the Mom the Magnificent YouTube channel, Issa Rae shared new insight into her experience playing Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman, in Sony Pictures' Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

Calling the role "a little intimidating," Rae noted how challenging her role was after not having "gone through this experience yet" of being pregnant and highlighting how cool the Jessica Drew character was:

"Thank you so much for your kind words. It was a little intimidating, I’m not gonna lie. I haven’t gone through this experience yet, and to portray someone going through it and also kicking people’s ass was like 'Whoa!' And it was jarring to know that this was the version of Spider-Woman that they had chosen. And the more I read about her, the more I was able to become her, I was like 'Oh, she’s so damn cool and she’s so sacrificial, in a way!'"

Rae described Jessica Drew as "the true essence of a superhero" thanks to her status as a crime-fighting future mother, even explaining that it "challenged her notion" and her beliefs regarding pregnant women being fragile:

"She is the true essence of a superhero in the fact that she is this mom fighting crime, and also, she’s superhuman in that way. So I love playing her, and I hope other moms appreciate her too. And, I have to say she challenged my notion - my sister and friends who have been pregnant over time. Sometimes I’m a bit too fragile with them, like 'Oh, you can be doing this? Are you gonna be working up until this point?' And they’re just like 'Yes, I’m completely fine, I can still operate.'"

She even referenced tennis superstar Serena Williams "competing and playing tennis while she was pregnant," highlighting women who accomplish feats like that and are taken for granted:

"And I think about Serena competing and playing tennis while she was pregnant and all the women who do the extraordinary while they’re pregnant and are sort of taken for granted in that way, and so I thought that that was nice commentary."

Rae also discussed the toughest part of playing the role, mentioning the difficulties of "not having a sense of what the space was" when she was recording her lines in the studio:

"And I think for me it was just not having a sense of what the space was. I think it's one thing to…you're just using your voice to convey, but for me, so much of it is just like 'Well, where am I? What exactly am I doing? Who's to my right? Who's to my left?' 

And while it was tough for her without "the full picture" of what was happening, she looked back on her first time reading with Gwen Stacy star Hailee Steinfeld as one of the more fun parts of making the movie:

"Even in terms of comedy and improving, I just I'm like 'Oh, I don't necessarily have the full picture of what this character looks like to comment,' and so I think when I did have the opportunity to like actually even read with Hailee [Steinfeld], that was so fun and so different, but it just challenges you in a way that I was absolutely up for, and it's so fulfilling to see what comes out of all the sessions that we had because the filmmakers have such a clear picture in their mind, and it's cool that they're obviously adapting to what you give them, so this was a fun process."

Rae also spoke with Screen Rant at the red carpet event for Spider-Verse 2, highlighting the "severe badassery" that fans will see from her character on the big screen:

"So, I have the distinct honor of playing Jessica Drew, AKA Spider-Woman, and you can expect to just see like severe badassery on-screen. When I first saw the drawing of my character, because, I knew who Jessica Drew was, you know, kind of traditionally, but who Lord and Miller made her be, what she looks like, how she is."

Continuing to praise Jessica Drew, Rae pointed out how she's the only web-slinger "who doesn't wear a mask," celebrating how cool the character is and how honored she felt to voice her:

"First of all, she's the only Spider-Person who doesn't wear a mask, so she's out here fighting for the Spider-Verse exposed ,she's not hiding from anything, and I think that's so cool. She has a badass motorcycle that she kicks ass on, and she's pregnant, which is an arc that kind of blew me initially, I was like 'What?!' and then, the more I kind of sat with it and played her, I just felt honored to take that on."

Will Spider-Woman Return for Spider-Verse 3?

Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

Issa Rae's Jessica Drew wound up being a vital part of the Spider-Verse 2 plot, serving as one of the high-ranking members of the Spider Society seen on Oscar Isaac's Earth-928.

And with her character being only one of countless Spider Variants to take the spotlight in this sequel, the big question now is whether fans should expect to see the expecting mother Jessica Drew back in action for the next go-round.

Issa Rae's heroine wasn't part of the team that Gwen Stacy assembled in the sequel's closing moments, but it would likely be a shock not to see her swing back into the fray for 2024's Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse.

Considering how she was teetering on both sides of the emotional battle over Miles Morales from start to finish, there's the possibility she could team up with Gwen again to fight alongisde story's protagonists.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters worldwide.

Release Date
June 02, 2023
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.