The Wrap is reporting which role Zendaya is playing in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have not confirmed the information and just in case the reveal is some sort of plot point in the film, I’ll throw out a spoiler (maybe) warning. Read no further if you do not wish to know.
According to the report, Zendaya is playing Mary Jane Watson. The most famous of all Spider-Man love interests (sorry, Gwen Stacy), Mary Jane was previously played by Kirsten Dunst in director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. If Zendaya really is playing Watson, Spider-Man: Homecoming seems to be offering a very different take on the character.
In the comics, Mary Jane is an actress and a model, which the Raimi films played on. In the footage shown at San Diego Comic-Con, Zendaya’s character was unnamed and seemed rather nerdy, as opposed to being the “dream girl” that Peter Parker could never be with (until he is). This could be an attempt to swerve the audience, but it’s worth more if Marvel and Sony are actually updating the idea behind the character.
Mary Jane Watson is not a character whose identity is worth concealing. I don’t expect Zendaya to change out of her baggy clothes (like she wore in the SDCC footage) and into something more befitting a teenage boy’s superficial fantasy. There’s really no value in pushing an outdated ugly duckling storyline in 2017.
That is not to say Zendaya’s Mary Jane can only dress one way to stay modern and appropriate. It just doesn’t matter how she dresses and the point is that her value will be greater than being someone else’s “dream girl.” She can wear whatever she wants and establish her own multi-dimensional identity.
I have no idea if the new Mary Jane will have any interest in acting or modeling. The Comic-Con footage did not address her career aspirations. It did, however, cover the old idea of Mary Jane Watson.
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and a friend were sitting at a table for “Women’s Studies” watching a group of girls, any one of whom could have fit the previous concept of Mary Jane Watson. Parker and his pal wanted to turn away before they started appearing creepy and it was Zendaya’s reportedly new Watson who told them, “Too late.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming will be released on July 7, 2017.