UPDATE: With the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, we have official confirmation of Zendaya's true character in the MCU. Original story as follows:
Zendaya's role in Spider-Man: Homecoming has been a big discussion point, but she continues to say she isn't Mary Jane. Upon her initial casting, it was reported that she would be playing a character named Michelle that would not serve as a love interest for Tom Holland's Peter Parker. After these reports, one came out to claim that she was actually set to be Mary Jane Watson, and the reveal was being saved for the end of the film. The idea of her playing MJ has been met with some hesitation, but that has since died down - possibly thanks to the continued denial that the rumor is true.
The actress has personally been spearheading this movement as she refuted the romantic implications that MJ caries, but later also said "I'm not Mary Jane unfortunately." Now, she is doubling down on this statement in an effort to end these rumors and the questions that have come since.
MTV spoke to Zendaya following the MTV Movie and TV Awards and used the interview as a chance to clear the air when it comes to her role. Just as she and others have said since, Zendaya is most definitely playing Michelle and not MJ.
My character is 100 percent Michelle, that's her name, I promise I'm not lying. She's definitely a different character. This is a character I can have fun with and just really create what I wanted to make her and the director a lot of really cool ideas about how to make her weird and interesting and cool. She says weird things at the wrong time, but that's why people like her.
Either Marvel and Sony are doing everything in their power to save this secret for whatever reason, or Zendaya is truly telling the truth and she isn't MJ. It would seem like an odd choice to make Zendaya's character name a pivotal reveal in the movie, but it would hardly be the first time movies have tried to do the same. Star Trek Into Darkness is a recent example of hiding a character's identity that everyone had already figured out, and despite their constant denials, Benedict Cumberbatch was in fact Khan. However, Spider-Man: Homecoming co-producer Eric Carroll told Screen Rant that Zendaya's character is called Michelle, and only Michelle.
At this point, it is unlikely that either Zendaya or anyone else involved with Homecoming will alter their responses in the last two months before release. But, if this is all a ruse and she is MJ, it could be one of the details that leaks early once screenings begin. If that does happen, either choice will not be terribly surprising at this point. Both scenarios have been so heavily discussed that those who would care about these reveals have likely already heard the rumors and denials. Either way, Zendaya's character will undoubtedly be something many will pay attention to.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Untitled Avengers Movie (2019) release date: May 03, 2019