Spider-Man: Homecoming is currently the #1 movie in theaters and one of Marvel Studios biggest opening weekends for a solo film. Critics and audiences alike are not only praising Spiderman himself, Tom Holland for his brilliant portrayal but also Zendaya.
Zendaya’s iconic and relatable character, Michelle, is a classmate of Peter’s who spends most of her time observing other students (cough, Peter), reading books and staying woke. Her part is rather small in this film but she brought much comedic relief. Towards the end of the film, Michelle is awarded team captain for the academic decathlon team that both her and Peter are apart of. She then replies after.
My name is Michelle….but my friends call me MJ
*cue the freakouts beginning*
MJ is the initials for the famous Mary Jane Watson, the main love interest of Peter Parker in both the Spiderman comics and previous films. Mary was drawn as a red-haired white girl and was always played by one in the previous films. Michelle revealing to be MJ is a huge change for the original routine. Yet, it wasn’t a total surprise. Speculation started of Zendaya being MJ since last year after it was revealed she would be a character in the film. Kevin Feige, one of the producers of Spiderman: Homecoming, said the initials were done purposely to foreshadow her role in the sequels.
“She’s not Mary-Jane Watson. Is she going to date Peter? Are they going to fall in love? She seems to be intrigued with him. There’s a nice chemistry there. Who knows what will happen in the future films?” said Kevin to IGN
That didn’t some on the internet from making comments anyways.
— Teryn Midzain-Gobin (@SaintMikeyG) July 9, 2017
Mary Jane/MJ is a fictional character at the end of the day. Her race nor ethnicity is never bluntly stated in the comics nor films other than how she looks. Thus making her playable to anyone. Plenty of POC have lost roles that were written for them to white actors, yet we don’t hear an uproar. Why do people suddenly get upset when Zendaya, who is a biracial actress, assumes the role as possibly a love interest to a white male superhero? We also have to remember that Michelle isn’t the same person as Mary Jane. She’s her own person with her own personality. This person just happens to have the same initials as an important girl in Peter’s life in other versions of this story.
So if you are mad that Peter Parker will be probably falling for and getting together with a brown skinned girl in upcoming movies…get over it.