Development on the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming is in full swing, and it’s possible Gwen Stacy will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the next Spidey movie. As a fan favorite character and major Spidey love interest, Gwen would be a welcome arrival to the MCU. That is, unless the only reason they bring in Gwen is to kill her off – again. Adding Gwen Stacy to the MCU just to kill her is something Marvel Studios definitely shouldn’t do.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was a breath of fresh air to what had been a Spidey movie mythos dragged down by too many villains and repetition of scenarios fans had seen ad nauseam: Oscorp and the Osborn family as villains, Peter Parker’s romantic worries, his origin and Uncle Ben dying recycled, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) being kidnapped, and all of New York City being threatened so that Spidey has to save the day. Homecoming instead placed Peter Parker (Tom Holland) squarely in the MCU, kept his scope smaller and more intimate, and gave him an endearing supporting cast of high school chums to banter with. The results speak for themselves.
Doing fun new things with Spider-Man in a movie that fans hadn’t seen before is one of the reasons why Homecoming was so enjoyable. Bringing in Gwen Stacy for the sequel would be a great idea – as long as they don’t just kill her again.
GWEN STACY MUST DIE?
It’s true that dying is Gwen Stacy’s claim to fame in the Spider-Man mythology. She is like Jor-El and Lara, Thomas and Martha Wayne, and Uncle Ben – characters who are most famous as tragic figures in their respective superheroes’ lives. She has died in the comics and in the movies; in fact, teasing her death in Spider-Man movies even became as much of a trope as her actual death.
Gwen was introduced in the comics as Peter’s college love interest, but became a pawn in the Green Goblin’s scheme for revenge against Spider-Man. Her death in Amazing Spider-Man #121 when the Green Goblin kidnapped her and threw her off the George Washington Bridge, only for Spidey to fail to save her, is one of the most famous moments in Spider-Man history.
The death of Gwen Stacy is such an iconic moment that its been depicted several times already in Spider-Man movies. Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man did a version of it when the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) threw Mary Jane Watson off the Brooklyn Bridge, though Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) saved her. When Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) was actually introduced in Spider-Man 3, Raimi surprised fans by not killing her off, though she was still sent plummeting from a building before she was saved by Spidey. Finally, Mark Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did the fatal deed and killed Gwen (Emma Stone) at last. Along with Gwen’s death came the end of the largely unloved Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-GWEN
While the Spider-Man movies kept repeating the cycle of Gwen’s death, Marvel Comics reinvigorated Gwen Stacy and rewrote her story. In the Spider-Verse event, an alternate universe Gwen was the one bitten by a radioactive spider and became a superpowered crime fighter struggling with great power and great responsibility. Peter Parker was the one killed off, and Gwen became Spider-Woman, though she’s known to fans by the more endearing sobriquet ‘Spider-Gwen’.
Spider-Gwen immediately struck a nerve and became a fan favorite character. Gwen was part of an all-girl band, struggled with her secret identity and her duty to use her powers to fight evil and help innocents, and her beautifully designed costume became wildly popular with cosplayers.
Marvel Comics have pioneered a new way to depict Gwen Stacy that not only worked like gangbusters, but is as refreshing a reboot as Homecoming was to Spider-Man movies. Spider-Gwen proved Gwen Stacy can be much more than just a doomed damsel-in-distress; she is a vital and fascinating character whom female and male fans have embraced. Gwen is a hero in her own right.
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