Back in March, when Marvel made the announcement that Zendaya would star in a supporting role opposite Tom Holland in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans immediately started speculating as to who she might be playing. It was later announced that she would be playing a character simply called ‘Michelle.’ Some took the report literally, thinking that Zendaya’s character was Michelle Gonzales, a brief love interest of Peter Parker in the comics, while others thought that the name ‘Michelle’ was being used to conceal the true identity of her character. According to some sources close to theWrap, it seems that the latter is true as they are claiming Zendaya is playing none other than Mary Jane Watson.
At least one recent draft of the script has Zendaya’s character dropping several clues to her identity as Mary Jane, one of the most familiar love interests in the Marvel superhero’s universe — and played by Kirsten Dunst in Sam Raimi‘s 2002-07 movie trilogy starring Tobey Maguire as the web-slinger.
This news will definitely come as a shock to some for several reasons. First off, prior reports claimed that she wouldn’t be playing a love interest, which makes sense since this version of the web-slinger is far younger than other on-screen versions. The second reason that this news may surprise fans is because Mary Jane has always been a redhead in the comics, and having Zendaya play her will be a departure from the source material. This shouldn’t be a point of controversy, however.
First off (assuming this report is true), MJ’s inclusion in the film won’t mean that Peter will become romantically involved with her at first. Given his reception in Civil War, it seems that this version of Spidey won’t be leaving anytime soon, so there’s plenty of time for him to fall in love in later installations of the franchise. Secondly, Jon Watts has been clear that his intention is to create a real-world depiction of what a school in Midtown New York would look like, and his diverse cast is reflective of that end goal. That being said, her hair color or ethnicity isn’t the main aspect of her character. Her fiery personality and upbeat sense of humor are what we really need to see brought to life, and we hope that Zendaya will be the first to bring those elements of her character to the big screen.
Spider-Man: Homecoming will hit movie theaters on July 7th, 2017.