Zendaya's rumored casting as Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming has caused quite a stir online. A number of fans have vocally expressed their discontent at casting an actress who doesn't look like the traditional Mary Jane Watson. The truly staggering thing about this outcry against her is the fact that her casting is still only a rumor. Yes, I do know that in the past movie studios have said an actor is playing one character when in fact they are playing another; Benedict Cumberbatch playing "John Harrison" had nobody fooled. But, until we see the film, we will be told she is playing a character by the name of Michelle.
As I said in a previous post, I have seen nothing of Zendaya or her acting ability, so I'm not really in any sort of position to give an opinion about her casting, but a thought did occur to me: What if she actually is playing a character called Michelle? Perhaps Marvel have invented a new character for her and there are other plans for Mary Jane Watson in the film.
Other Plans You Say?
Mary Jane Watson is a hugely important character in Spider-Man's history, many would argue that she is Peter Parker's true love (what do you think, check my post!). Since the very early days of Spider-Man, we have heard the name Mary Jane Watson, though it takes a while to actually see her (all will be explained). It makes perfect sense that she would be involved in some way in Spidey's MCU debut. She played an important part in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and did actually film scenes for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, though they were cut from the final film. So how could she be involved in Spider-Man: Homecoming?
Consider this: In the early issues of Amazing Spider-Man, Mary Jane was a running joke — she was Aunt May's friend's niece, who was a "nice girl with a lovely personality." As any 15 year-old boy knows, this generally means that she is not very attractive, so Peter frequently rebuffed his Aunt's offers of a blind date. His efforts as Spider-Man often meant that he was unable to attend the date, but Aunt May continued her efforts. MJ first appears in Amazing Spider-Man #25, though she has her face obscured by a potted plant.
Unfortunately for MJ, Peter is busy battling super villains so she has to wait a little bit longer to finally meet him. A full 17 issues later, we finally get to see Mary Jane in all of her glory. Aunt May is finally able to arrange the blind date and it is at this moment that Mary Jane utters one of the most iconic opening lines in comics:
How Could This Fit Into Spider-Man: Homecoming?
This is all speculation on my part, but maybe we can have Zendaya AND Mary Jane in the same film. Let's look at one thing: the film's title. Homecoming is not just an appropriate moniker for Marvel's flagship hero joining the MCU at last. There is a storyline in the comics entitled Homecoming, though as this particular storyline involves Peter's return from the Secret Wars (I think we can discount that). Let's look at the very thing that is staring us right in the face: Homecoming.
Marvel was very specific that they wanted a younger Spider-Man in their films, this is one of the main reasons Tom Holland was cast in the role. They wanted an actor who could play Peter for a long time and deal with all of the problems he initially faced: growing up. Spider-Man's appeal is that he is a normal kid who acquires tremendous abilities; he isn't some billionaire or an alien. Deep down, Peter Parker is just like the majority of the readers — he has problems with girls and bullies and isn't the most popular kid at school; he doesn't have an easy life at all. A rite of passage for all teenage boys is the awkwardness of asking a girl out, as proven from this adorably awkward scene from The Amazing Spider-Man.
A Spider-Man story will inevitably include drama in Peter Parker's life, so Spider-Man: Homecoming will be no different. Perhaps one of the sub-plots will include Peter being desperate to find a date for the homecoming dance, but due to his lack of popularity among his peers, he will find this difficult. It is possible that it will draw off the early Amazing Spider-Man comics and feature a running joke about Aunt May's friend having a niece about Peter's age.
After exhausting all of his options at school, Peter finally relents and allows his Aunt to set up the date. Maybe we will even see a recreation of MJ's first appearance with the obscuring potted plant while Aunt May arranges it (Wouldn't that be cool?). Then, just as Peter is about to leave for the dance, his date arrives and standing before him is not Zendaya's Michelle, but Mary Jane Watson!
Haven't I Heard This Somewhere Before?
Yeah, I admit, this is basically what happens in The Spectacular Spider-Man, but that was a really good series, as the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke don't fix it." Pretty much every adaptation of Mary Jane has featured her iconic entrance, so why would the MCU be any different? Sam Raimi's films featured scenes that were direct copies of the comic books, perhaps this will be another iconic moment recreated on screen. Dare I say it — it would be the perfect way to bring her in to MCU and potentially introduce her to a new audience.
I'd just like to clarify: If it turns out Zendaya is playing Mary Jane then I will reserve judgement until I've seen the film. As far as I'm concerned, Marvel has got most of their decisions right, and the casting has been pretty spot on so far. I'd just like to think that a character as iconic as Mary Jane Watson deserves an iconic entrance. A short appearance at the end of the film with her accompanying Peter to the homecoming dance would be perfect.
When Peter isn't chasing after Mary Jane, he's also, you know, saving the city. Check out 10 times that Spider-Man saved the day in the video below:
What do you think? Would you like to see these events play out on screen? Do you have any ideas of actresses to play the role if this comes to pass? Let me know in the comments!