‘Amazing Spider-Man 3′: Shailene Woodley Still Doubtful About Playing Mary Jane

Published 1 year ago by , Updated April 2nd, 2014 at 6:25 am,

Even in a year of “big” – as in, cast size, budget, and thematically-speaking – superhero movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past, this May’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 still stands out as an “event,” as well as a major upgrade to the rebooted Spider-Man continuity.

However, there is one traditionally-important element of the web-slinger’s mythos that was trimmed from Marc Webb’s sequel early in post-production: Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker’s other famous love interest, who was brought to life in the aforementioned deleted scenes by Golden Globe-nominee Shailene Woodley (Divergent).

Woodley has, in recent months, publicly voiced her doubts about her playing Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man 3, since the second and third installments in the Divergent franchise – based on the young adult novel trilogy – have already been scheduled for release in 2015 and 2016, meaning that shooting for the duo projects would overlap (and thus conflict) with Webb’s Spider-Man trilogy capstone (also slated to arrive in 2016).

That concern is all the more real, now that the Divergent sequel Insurgent has been formally green-lit, thanks to the first installment having already eclipsed its $85 million budget after less than two weeks.

As you can see in the above video interview with Total Film, Woodley is more uncertain than ever about her being a part of the forthcoming Amazing Spider-Man movies, what with Divergent having managed to do what other recent YA adaptations (Beautiful Creatures, The Host) have failed at: successfully launching a new cinematic intellectual property, beyond one installment.

Similarly, as her Divergent costar Theo James points out during the Total Film interview, Lionsgate/Summit would prefer for its young star to remain focused on the studios’ latest YA property, rather than split her time between Divergent sequels and rival Sony’s Spider-Man franchise. Moreover, Woodley’s ongoing role as Tris is demanding enough as is; it’s one thing to shoot three short scenes as Mary Jane, but it’d be a whole other challenge to play the character in a larger capacity, on top of her ongoing role as Tris.

Divergent Reviews starring Shailene Woodley Theo James Ashley Judd and Kate Winslet Amazing Spider Man 3: Shailene Woodley Still Doubtful About Playing Mary Jane

Shailene Woodley as Tris in ‘Divergent’

Woodley’s latest comments raise another interesting question: how significant a role will Mary Jane play in Amazing Spider-Man 3 – assuming that she is, in fact, a part of the film – and would it indeed require a greater time and effort investment than Woodley can provide over the next couple years?

Amazing Spider-Man 2 screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner will have planted the seeds for the third movie (which they’re also writing) in the upcoming sequel. No matter if Gwen Stacy’s (Emma Stone) famous comic book death plays out onscreen or if the character simply moves overseas to England by the end of Amazing Spider-Man 2, it appears as though the writers’ blueprints for the next Spider-Man movie includes, at least, partially removing Gwen from the picture before Part 3.

Point being, when you couple all that with the fact that the original plan was to introduce Mary Jane in Part 2 of the rebooted Spider-Man continuity, it seems safe to assume the character will soon be making an appearance – in a proper love interest capacity, no less.

amazing spider man 3 mary jane Amazing Spider Man 3: Shailene Woodley Still Doubtful About Playing Mary Jane

If possible, Woodley as Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man 3 would be a welcome bit of casting… or, rather, non-recasting, since she has technically already played the role once. Woodley has proven quite capable at playing authentic young characters in convincing onscreen romances (see: The Spectacular Now), so her acting opposite Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker could be a promising continuation of that trend.

Assuming that Woodley doesn’t work on the Amazing Spider-Man series, though, it would presumably benefit the Peter/Mary Jane dynamic to have a similarly capable rising star (with a strong dramatic background) in the latter role. That’s assuming their relationship will be written to contrast with the whirlwind first-love between Pete and Gwen (Stone is Garfield’s real-life girlfriend) in the earlier films, and to keep on providing this superhero franchise with a solid “heart” to ground its pulpier elements.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in U.S. theaters on May 2nd, 2014, followed by The Amazing Spider-Man 3 on June 10th, 2016.

Source: Total Film

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. How is this even a problem, it’s Mary fu**in Jane!!! She has to appear at some point and I don’t understand what’s wrong with Miss Woodley? Although it was a stellar movie, TASM was hampered by a lack of growth from the characters.

    • Boy Ezee-T, if you thought ASM was “stellar” then you haven’t seen many movies. May I suggest your start with Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 (one of the best super hero lms of all rime).

      • Spider-Man 1 was overrated. It was an okay movie, but not nearly as great as some make it out to be, well in my opinion at least.

        • @Art – I love Spider-Man 1, but I see the confusion now. I meant to say Spider-Man 2 is one of the best super hero films of all time, not Spidey 1 (although I would take it over ASM ANY day of the week).

        • Spider-Man (2002) is the greatest superhero film ever and heavily influenced the entire genre. Spider-Man 2 was classic as well and should have won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

        • She won’t be back as Mj because the studio and Marc Webb knew she was terrible for the role after filming her scenes. That is the sole reason she was cut from the film.

          BTW, Spider-Man (2002) is the greatest superhero film ever.

          • They knew she was miscast and panicked after they say the scenes she filmed so they made up a bulls*** excuse about removing her because the film was becoming too cluttered.

      • I am really nostalgic for Raimi’s original movie, and I haven’t come to think it’s bad by any means. But I do think “Amazing” on the whole was better constructed and had a better put together story. (The biggest thing being the villain’s story-thread being better inter-twined with Peter’s, allowing a real reason for their origins to overlap not so coincidentally. And perhaps bigger is the fact the Green Goblin, while suitably played by Willem Dafoe, has no real discernible goal after the parade scene where he’s killed the OsCorp board. What does he think Spider-Man stands in the way of him doing? What can they “accomplish” or “create” together. Etc) However hurt, particularly in the Dr. Connors story thread, because of studio meddling. Which is part of the reason why for now I would probably rank “Spider-Man 2″ as potentially the best of the four Spider-Man films we have so far. It improved on the flaws of original, gave a good character arc for its hero, and had a great villain who was better written than his predecessor with clear motivations and goals. As well as an interesting relationship with the hero before his transformation. And it doesn’t feel like I was cut down while watching it.

        Naturally that’s all just in my own opinion.

  2. Sorry, I just do not see this young lady as Mary Jane. MJ has always been a stunner, a red head and Miss Woodley does not inspire me. There is a reason the scenes were cut, the producers knew she was not going to work out if Divergent became a hit…
    Recast the part, please

    • +1

    • She has never impressed me.

  3. So just replace her. I didnt like her cast as Mary Jane anyway.

  4. She’s not the knockout that Mary Jane needs to be. Emma stone should’ve been MJ but oh well. Woodley should just go with the Divergent series and they should recast the part. cast Elena Satine or Jane Levy or something.

    • Jane Levy would be accompanied by my enthusiasm. She’s money.

    • Ema Stone is terrible as Gwen-shes an airhead and Gwen is suppsosed to be a scientific genius

  5. I’m more open to the idea of her playing MJ now having seen Divergent, but it seems pretty clear, and has for a while, that she’s out. She was far from my first choice anyways. I’m all for Alexandra Daddario.

    • I think we’re all for seeing Alexandra Daddario in ANYTHING after seeing her in True Detective…

      • She could play Black Panther and I would be happy.

  6. I’m open to other good choices but Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been my choice for many years now. At a year younger than Garfield, she still works.

    • Mary happens to be my desktop wallpaper atm. Nice choice.

  7. MJ she is not… They should cast a ginger stunner not a homely looking chick…

  8. Lyndsy fonseca please.

    • Thank you. I support this.

  9. Her loss, not ours.

    She’s attractive and could make a great MJ in my view (people have different ideas on beauty, I happen to find Shailene looks much more attractive than Megan Fox for example) but really, if she chose Divergent over Spider-Man, let her continue while another actress becomes a star in her place.

    • Megan Fox used to be good looking, but now she looks like a plastic dummy.

    • My apologies, that’s been corrected.

  10. We need to watch asm 2 before even thinking about this.

  11. The most reasonable comment here. We simply dont know how this will play out, just because a certain someone perished on a bridge in the comics doesnt mean the movie HAS to follow the same story. I like their dynamic, with all this buildup of villains do we really need a reset on a whole new “love story” meh. Think it would be a distraction.

  12. I’m sorry, I’ve been really enjoying Emma Stone’s outing as Gwen Stacy to care about Mary Jane to be played supposedly by Ms. Woodley. Coincidentally, I can never picture her as Mary Jane anyway, so if the role is goint to be recast, I’m all for it. Some people here want Alexandra Daddario, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lyndsy Fonseca, the director/producers can just pick one randomly with their eyes closed, I’ll be happy with either one.

  13. I guess Shailene doesn’t want more money or jobs for that matter.

  14. I have a suggestion, what about Alexandra Daddario? OK she is brunette and now i think blonde but she is soooo hot and i believe i can see her as mary jane. BTW do you guys think that Gal Gadot is the wonder woman?? I always believed that Megan Fox IS W.W. She has the perfect body and the beauty for this role.

  15. I’m doubtful also

  16. I’d rather see them go after Jennifer Lawrence!

  17. The Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies were definitely better overall than the new incarnations with Garfield. However, all are worth buying the DVDs for and watching.

  18. I wouldn’t mind it if Mary Jane just didn’t appear in the next movie at all. Not every story about Spider-Man needs some kind of romantic mini-story thrown in. Kraven’s Last Hunt for instance.

  19. How the hell can she be doubtful of playing one of the most popular characters in one of the most successful comic book franchises of all time? She’d be paid by the boat load!

    • You’re assuming that it’s her decision to make.

      • Well, yeah. You can’t force someone to star in a movie.

  20. Please recast!!! She is NO MJ!

  21. Awesome news if she decides not to play MJ Watson. She is not that attractive and MJ is a supermodel. She should just stay with Divergent and any other teenie bopper flick she can get onto.

  22. Emily VanCamp should play Mary Jane!!!

  23. spiderman 3 will introduce the rest of the sinister six that peter did not defeat and will show the one and only venom