One of the best aspects of Spider-Man: Homecoming was the cast of colorful characters. Tom Holland and Michael Keaton shined as the hero and villain of the picture, while Jacob Batalon and Zendaya were great as the funny side characters who brought some much needed charm. However, one classic, brainy character seemed to be missing from Marvel's interpretation of the Breakfast Club. Why wasn't Debra Whitman in this film?
Wait, Who's Debra Whitman Again?
Making her first debut in 1979, Debra Whitman was a secretary in the biophysics department of Empire State University. While there, she met Peter Parker and they started dating. Unfortunately, Parker's secret double life as a superhero constantly got in the way of their dating life and the two eventually drifted apart, leading Debra to start dating her old flame Biff Rifkin. However, her infatuation with Parker never ceased, continuing to grow.
There was even a run in the comics where she also suffered from a mental instability that led her to idealize people and invert values. She slowly slipped into mental instability as she was hallucinating that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. When she told her psychiatrist about her hallucinations, he asked Peter to wear the Spider-Man suit to shock her with reality and break her hallucinations.
In recent media, Whitman has been portrayed as a bookworm type whose academic skills rival that of Peter Parker's. You might remember her from the '90s #SpiderMan animated series. On the show, Debra never displays romantic feelings toward Parker (actually having more of an academic rivalry), and instead started dating Flash Thompson, Peter's high school bully. Peter even once described her as "the little sister I never had — or wanted."
Spidey fans might remember her most recent incarnation in the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. In this show, Debra Whitman is an African-American girl who is the secretary of Miles Warren, and works in ESU with Dr. Curt and Martha Connors after Miles transfers into their department. This version of Debra does not have any romantic interest in Peter Parker either.
Why Debra Would Have Been A Good Inclusion To Spider-Man: Homecoming
During the course of #SpiderManHomecoming, Peter Parker seems to be attending a tech school for gifted students. He even competes in an Academic Decathlon with Michelle, Liz Allen, Ned Leeds and Flash Thompson. Yeah, even Flash has some brains on him in this school.
So, why not include another female character that thrives on academic competition and can be a fun rival to Parker? She would have fit in perfectly with what the #MCU is building with this school of potential geniuses.
Out of all the female characters in Spider-Man's life, Debra is the only one to not get a big-screen adaptation. Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, Betty Brant and now Liz Allen have all been included in a Spider-Man film, but Debra is surprisingly left out.
Marvel Studios could make her this socially-awkward geeky type who thrives on throwing her intelligence in other people's faces. Think Sheldon Cooper but female (and funny). This seems like a wasted opportunity to not include in Homecoming.
Well, there are two sequels to Spider-Man: Homecoming currently in the works. Maybe these films can work the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe sometime in the future.
Would you want to see Debra Whitman in the MCU someday?