So long, Gwen Stacy. You may be Peter Parker’s first love in the comics, but the movies are returning to the more familiar Mary Jane Watson as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man’s primary love interest.
Or, at least, that’s what the rumors are suggesting. Bastion of legitimate journalistic integrity The Wrap has announced with reassuring confidence that the teen singer/actor Zendaya is playing Marvel’s most recognizable redhead (Sorry, Matt Murdock). The Wrap received this information from the most credible of sources: “two individuals with knowledge of the project” (which in the modern internet age could describe literally anybody).
There’s been no official confirmation of this just yet – Zendaya’s role in Spider-Man: Homecoming has been kept under wraps since the Disney Channel star was first revealed to be appearing in the movie. Sony and Marvel are tight-lipped about whether or not The Wrap’s “two individuals” are to be believed, which is hardly surprising considering that they’ve clearly decided that Zendaya’s role is a secret.
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of this story is the way that certain, vocal members of the Marvel fanbase have reacted to the news. Apparently, an intrinsic part of Mary Jane’s character is her paler than pale skin – without a natural redhead in the role, many audiences simply can’t consider the MCU’s Mary Jane to be a legitimate representation of the character.
Of course, this line of thought is difficult – Mary Jane has actually never been portrayed by a natural redhead. Both Kirsten Dunst, who played the character in all three Sam Raimi films, and Shailene Woodley, whose scenes as Mary Jane were cut from Amazing Spider-Man 2, are blondes.
Funnily enough, both Bryce Dallas Howard and Emma Stone, who’ve played the blonde Gwen Stacy, are natural redheads. And if that’s shocking, don’t even ask what JK Simmons’ natural hair color is.
While Zendaya may not be what all Spider-Man fans think of when the name ‘Mary Jane’ starts floating around, it might be worth giving the actor the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions.
After all, if Spidey fans can endure the super-powered extreme sports montage in Amazing Spider-Man, they can endure anything.