Spider-Man: Homecoming is one of the most promising #Marvel movies in decades. #TomHolland's Spider-Man was one of the stars of Captain America: Civil War, and now we're about to see him swing into action in his first solo movie!
But one topic has been the subject of heated debate. Spider-Man comics and films have always focused a lot on Peter Parker's romantic misadventures (a frequent trope being that he misses a date due to superheroics). Rumors have long circulated that #Zendaya's 'Michelle' was in reality the #MCU version of Mary-Jane Watson, but that's looking increasingly unlikely. In fact, it seems that Zendaya's role won't even be a romantic one!
So Who Will Be the Love Interest?
According to Latino Review, Peter Parker actually has the hots for Laura Harrier's Liz Allan. Amusingly enough, this is actually a comic-book-accurate idea; in the original comics, Peter had a crush on Liz while they attended high school together. Unfortunately for Peter, she was actually dating his high school nemesis, Flash Thompson (played by Tony Revolori in Spider-Man: Homecoming). In her early appearances, Liz was actually amused by the bullying Peter endured at Flash's hands, and while never portrayed as cruel, she was certainly thoughtless.
All that changed after a climatic battle with Doctor Octopus. Peter was ill during that fight, and easily lost; Doctor Octopus actually unmasked him but, because of Spider-Man's poor performance during the battle, everyone just assumed he'd stepped in and tried to be a hero because he couldn't track the webhead down! By Amazing Spider-Man #28, Liz is coming to admit her feelings for Peter, but the two didn't start dating at that point — he was seeing someone else.
The Future of Liz Allan
Liz Allan (sometimes spelled 'Allen' — the comics vary) would remain an important part of the Spider-Man mythology, though; she'd return a couple of years later as Harry Osborn's girlfriend. The two eventually married, and actually had a child: young Normie. Unfortunately for poor Liz, Harry inherited his father's madness and became the Green Goblin. After Harry's death, Liz tried to break off contact with Peter and MJ, but didn't successfully escape superheroics — she wound up dating Foggy Nelson (yes, the Foggy Nelson you see in Daredevil). Liz has remained a background character throughout the years, never a major focus but always relevant, particularly when stories have involved the resurrected Harry Osborn.
Most recently, though, Liz has become a major figure in the company Alchemax. Readers of Marvel's 2099 range will know that name; by 2099 companies and corporations have pretty taken control of the world, and Alchemax is the biggest of these. Disturbingly, Liz Allan has forged an alliance with none other than Norman Osborn himself, and she's currently playing a major role in Spider-Man 2099 (where the 2099 version of Spider-Man is based in the present day and working for her).
Will This Be a Comic-Book-Accurate Romance?
Fans reacted with fury to the idea that Zendaya could be playing Mary-Jane - particularly because of the race-swap. Ironically enough, Marvel has evidently chosen to race-swap Liz Allan anyway, but that's unlikely to be so controversial — she's not such an iconic character. In fact, some animated versions of Liz race-swapped her long before this movie was in the works!
It's intriguing to see that, so far, Spider-Man: Homecoming actually looks to completely lack the two iconic love-interests. This is in perfect keeping with the original comics, where Liz Allan and Betty Brant were Peter Parker's crushes, and Gwen and Mary-Jane didn't make their debuts until a long time later. What's more, given that most teenage romances don't actually progress to marriage, it's entirely possible we'll see Peter's love interests change as Marvel's Spider-Man movies continue.
That said, building up a focus on Liz Allan raises some intriguing dramatic possibilities. It's true that Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn't exactly seem to set up the Osborns, but there's a chance that the franchise as a whole will ultimately develop them. Liz's relationship with Harry was a major tragic element of the Osborn story, and Marvel would be smart to use this. Having us come to care for Liz through Spider-Man's early crushes would be a smart move.
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So, Spider-Man fans, there you go — so far it's only a rumor, but it has to be said that this one is 100% comic-book-accurate. I personally think Marvel would be smart to step away from Gwen Stacy and Mary-Jane Watson for a while, and develop a whole new relationship in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Good luck, Peter!
Who do you want to be the love interest in 'Homecoming'?
Poll Image: Sony