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Face it, The Amazing Spider-Man sequel, you just hit the jackpot.
Variety reports that The Descendants beauty Shailene Woodley is negotiating to join Marc Webb’s Spidey follow-up as Mary Jane Watson, the girl Peter Parker fell for (and eventually married – in certain Spider-Man timelines) after he lost his true love, Gwen Stacy, at the hands of The Green Goblin. The trade says Woodley – who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Alexander Payne’s heartwarming drama – is the “studio’s leading choice” to play M.J., joining Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the still-developing superhero ensemble.
Variety says Sony also is looking for an actor to play Harry Osborne in the sequel. Harry, son of Norman Osborne, is Peter’s best friend, though he’s unaware of Parker’s secret identity.
Yet while all of that seems to point at the introduction of the Goblin to Spidey’s storyline, Variety says that Electro is one of the villains Sony is considering bringing in for the sequel. That keeps in line with Webb’s mantra that he’d like to avoid villains used in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and Electro was one of the guesses as to the identity of the stranger in Curt Connors’ cell at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man (mostly due to the flash of lightning.) However, there’s no point in establishing Gwen Stacy and any member of the Osborne family if you don’t plan on bringing in Norman and having him kill Peter’s girlfriend.
It’s kind of a win-lose for Woodley, or whomever eventually takes over the Mary Jane role. Yes, you join a massive franchise, but the M.J. character forever will be linked to Kirtsten Dunst’s portrayal in Raimi’s film. We can only hope that Sony learned from the previous three films how to balance a love triangle in Parker’s life, because adding multiple characters helped sink Spider-Man 3, and we’d prefer to see Webb build on what he started in The Amazing Spider-Man, not cater to a studio’s whims.