There has been a big push in the past few years for Hollywood to catch up to the rest of the world and properly show the diversity that exists in real life. While most people will agree that this should be the case, there are also people that want movies to be direct adaptations of the source material they come from. This has led to many people questioning the lack of representation among non-white people in superhero movies, arguably the biggest genre in Hollywood currently.
No matter the reasoning behind the move, the latest reports indicate that Marvel and Sony have decided to have Zendaya portray Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which has been met by criticism from certain fans. However, fellow Marvel director James Gunn has recently voiced his support for the change, and now we can add another Marvel legend to the group of supporters.
During a recent interview with Toronto Sun, legendary Marvel comic creator Stan Lee was asked for his thoughts on the new take on the character he created back in the 1960s. It should not come as a surprise that Lee is looking forward to seeing what Zendaya can bring to the role. In fact, he does not care what somebody looks like as long as they are the person for the job:
“If she is as good an actress as I hear she is, I think it’ll be absolutely wonderful. ... The color of their skin doesn’t matter, their religion doesn’t matter. All that matters is that this the right person for the role.”
If the man responsible for creating a character that has since become such an important part of Spider-Man's story is okay with Zendaya playing Mary Jane, then so should everyone else. In fact, there is hardly a reason to be upset over this at the moment. There is a time to stick to the source material, but this better represents Queens in 2016 and gives a young African-American woman a chance to have a major part in (potentially) one of the biggest franchises in Hollywood for the next decade. These are the types of decisions that should no longer be surprising for studios to make - or be met with the backlash that this casting has received from some.
Even if fans do fall into the category of someone who is against Zendaya playing Mary Jane, it is best to wait until the movie is out and before judging her performance and how well the movie adapted the character. We are just under a year away from the movie being released so there is plenty of time to sit on the news, go into the movie with an open mind, and come to a conclusion based on her performance.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.