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Divergent famously kept Shailene Woodley out of Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Now the actress believes that her commitment to future Divergent movies will prevent her from ever playing Mary Jane Watson in the on-screen Spidey franchise. The actress spoke to MTV. Listen below.
Do you remember what happened? Webb originally cast Woodley, star of Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, as potential Peter Parker love interest Mary Jane Watson. But when Sony extended the future of the Spider-Man franchise by multiple movies, Webb said it made sense to leave MJ out. Woodley moved on, saying that her commitment to Divergent would be too much to juggle. She’s still towing that party line, it seems.
Woodley’s direct quote raises another question. She says in the above clip, "Seeing as how they picked up the next two Divergent films, I don't know how I'd keep my sanity with two big action films in one year." But has anyone said anything about the Divergent sequels actually happening? Is that official? Has that been confirmed by anyone? Divergent doesn’t open in theaters until March 21. And the sequels have release dates (which is why director Neil Burger bolted). While every major Hollywood studio desperately wants to find the next Hunger Games, there’s no guarantee that Neil Burger’s adaptation of the YA novel will take off an establish a franchise. Woodley says that the sequels have been picked up, and that’s great. But if Divergent does Mortal Instruments money, are the sequels for certain?
Sony faces a similar problem with Spider-Man, having claimed that multiple sequels and spinoff movies are on the studio’s agenda, they are rolling the dice and praying massive crowds come out to support the expanding vision Webb is attempting with Spider-Man 2. Now, Marvel’s classic Spider-Man comic is a much stronger base to build on than a YA novel like Divergent, so there’s far less risk on Sony’s part. But still, if audiences tire of Andrew Garfield by, say, Amazing Spider-Man 4 (due in theaters in 2018), can this series stand another reboot?
The bigger question is, "Will Webb or Sony bring a different actress in the play Mary Jane? Or will the character he scrapped entirely?" Woodley shot footage at the time of ASM 2, and it was believed that Webb started over with her because the scenes would have been dated by the time they got to ASM 3 (due in 2016). I still think Watson can and should play an important role in the life of this version of Peter Parker. Finding the right actress is the secret to the series’ success, though.