WARNING: Spoilers lie ahead for plot details of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’ If you do not wish to have such things revealed to you, the time to stop reading is NOW!
If you’ve seen ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ by now, then you know one of the big “OMG” moments near the end of the film: Michelle, the character played by Zendaya, casually asks Peter Parker and the rest of their high school academic decathlon team to “call me MJ.” This is not lost on the fans, of course: in the comics (and previous, canonically disconnected Spider-Man films), MJ is the nickname for Mary Jane Watson, Peter’s crush who eventually becomes his girlfriend who eventually becomes his wife.
So, it’s a bit of a “WTF” moment for many fans as well, as establishing Michelle as the MJ character would be a bit of a stretch from what’s been done in the comics for decades. Not so fast, angry fan-boys: the Marvel Studios chief and keeper of all things Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin Feige, took the opportunity in a recent interview to clarify a bit:
“We never even looked at it as a big reveal necessarily but more of just a fun homage to his past adventures and his past love. She’s not Mary Jane Watson. She never was Mary Jane Watson. She was always this new high school character, Michelle, who we know there’s an ‘M’ in Michelle and an ‘M’ in Mary. So we’re so clever and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if her initials were MJ?’ And then I think it leaked that she would be playing MJ and then it became a whole headache for Zendaya to have to navigate. It was never a big, ‘Oh my God, it’s a big reveal!’ There are big reveals in the movie. That’s not one of them.
“She’s not Mary-Jane Watson. Is she going to date Peter? Are they going to fall in love? She seems to be intrigued with him. There’s a nice chemistry there. Who knows what will happen in the future films?”
So, there you have it friends: Michelle is not meant to be “MJ” in the Mary Jane Watson character sense, but could possibly still end up being a love interest for Peter. Another classically vague answer from Feige about the future of the MCU!
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is in US theaters now!