Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: Homecoming
Zendaya just made her MCU debut in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teases what the future holds for character. In the lead up to Homecoming, the interest in Zendaya's role remained high thanks to a variety of reports regarding just who exactly she was going to be playing. Throughout the process, everyone involved continued to state that she would be playing Michelle, not MJ, as previously revealed. Still, rumors of her actually being Mary Jane Watson or even Vulture's daughter persisted. With Homecoming now in theaters, everyone can finally see for themselves who she is playing. But it's complicated.
While these statements turned out to be true as Zendaya's character's name is Michelle, the closing minutes of the film point to something else. It is in the final few scenes when she utters the phrase, "My friends call me MJ." This appeared to confirm previous reports that she is actually Mary Jane, but it may merely be the inspiration for her future.
Related: Spider-Man: Homecoming Easter Eggs
Den of Geek spoke to Kevin Feige about the film's biggest twists and turns, when they asked him about the phrase and what it means for Zendaya moving forward. What is so interesting about his answer, is him stating Michelle is not Mary Jane Watson at all, but that the initials have been used to generate a similar goal.
In setting up this will be a very different thing, she’s not Mary Jane Watson, that’s not who the character is. But giving her the initials that remind you of that dynamic certainly is intriguing about what could go forward.
Michelle only has a small role to play in the larger scheme of the movie, but continues to be part of Peter's life throughout. She repeatedly makes quips about his knack for randomly disappearing, and is known to keep her eyes on Peter - just like MJ has done for years in the comics. But again, this is just an example of them drawing inspiration from Mary Jane and applying it to Michelle.
Clearly, she says she’s not obsessed with him, she’s just observant. But she’s there. And to have fun with that while at the same time having it be different characters that can provide a different dynamic [is the point].
Considering the MJ line was saved for the end of the film, it played as though it was meant to be a big reveal, but the statement ultimately may mean less if she isn't the "real" MJ and instead a copy of her. Future sequels should shed more light on what exactly this means and how Marvel and Sony plan to have this relationship play out. Even if Michelle's real name isn't Mary Jane Watson, that type of relationship is clearly what they are hoping to see.
What is unclear about this however, is what it means for the chances of a character actually named Mary Jane Watson to appear. She plays such a prominent role in Peter's life in the comics, that taking that relationship off the table would be quite surprising. But, with Michelle sharing the same shortened nickname now, it would be rather surprising to see this franchise retread the same territory with Mary Jane right after potentially replicating the relationship with Michelle.
Source: Den of Geek
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