Since she was first cast in next year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans have wondered just who Disney Channel actress Zendaya is going to play. Although initial reports had her labeled as a new character from Peter Parker’s high school named Michelle, the folks at the Wrap have revealed that she’s actually playing Mary Jane Watson instead.
Fans of course know that Mary Jane, or MJ for short, has long been Spider-Man’s main squeeze, and she was even married to him for the better part of 20 years in the comics (until their marriage was undone by Marvel editorial). Mary Jane was famously brought to life in Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy by actress Kirsten Dunst. The character wasn’t included in the Amazing Spider-Man reboot, since director Marc Webb wanted to focus on Peter Parker’s relationship with his doomed high school girlfriend, Gwen Stacy.
This casting news is no doubt going to bother less open-minded fans out there, since Mary Jane Watson has traditionally been portrayed as a red headed white girl, both in the comics and in the movies. Of course, nothing precludes this version of Mary Jane from having red hair either — it’s not like Kirsten Dunst was a natural redhead — but whether she does or not is neither here or there, because more diversity is always a good thing. (Also, psssst: Jason Momoa’s blonde highlights as Aquaman aren’t natural either. Just sayin’.)
Sony and Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: Homecoming is directed by Jon Watts, and stars Tom Holland as Spidey, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and Michael Keaton as (probably) the Vulture, and will focus on a John Hughes-esque Peter Parker in high school.
What do you think of Zendaya as Mary Jane? Did Marvel Studios and Sony just “hit the jackpot”? Let us know your thoughts down below in the comments.[brightcove video_id=”4941731040001″ brightcove_account_id=”3653334524001″ brightcove_player_id=”2bfa565b-5412-4cfd-9211-6269880b8a5e”]
Image: Disney Channel