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After debuting in Captain America: Civil War this May, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is swinging into theaters again next year for his own movie, but details regarding his supporting cast have been sparse. Last summer, it was announced that Marisa Tomei will play Peter Parker’s Aunt May, and eight months later, now there’s word that singer and Disney Channel star Zendaya has been added to the Wall-Crawler’s third reboot.
Being among the actresses who have been quietly testing for the movie, Deadline has heard that Zendaya has scored a "key role" in Spider-Man’s latest solo adventure as a character named Michelle. No details were provided about whether she’s playing the romantic lead, but the report notes that it doesn’t sound like it. Given how secretive these superhero movie castings can sometimes be, it wouldn’t be surprising if "Michelle" is just a pseudonym for someone from the comics, but it may be a while until Marvel and Sony are forthcoming about how she’s specifically involved.
Assuming that Zendaya’s Michelle not being the love interest in the new Spider-Man movie is true, that means we can rule her out as either Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson, but there are still a few options. Maybe she’s playing Peter’s classmate Liz Allen, or Daily Bugle employee Betty Brant. Depending on how they might set up a potential sequel, it’s even plausible that she’s Felicia Hardy before she becomes Black Cat. On the other hand, maybe the reboot is switching things up by including an original character, and Michelle really is Zendaya’s character’s name. That still doesn’t narrow down how she is interacting with Spidey, although since this movie is a "coming of age" tale for Holland’s Peter as he handles his new crimefighting life while struggling through high school, odds are she’ll be one of his classmates, and since she’s described as "key," let’s hope she’s one of his friends rather than picking on him like most of his peers.
Zendaya’s first major acting role was starring as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel series Shake it Up, and has been a frequent fixture on some of the channel’s other original series and movies. She currently stars as K.C. Cooper on K.C. Undercover, but fans of ABC’s Blackish might have caught her last year in the episode "Daddy’s Day." She’s also made a name for herself as a singer with singles like "Swag It Out" and "Replay," but unless there’s a talent show, choir performance or karaoke in Spider-Man, we can probably rule out Zendaya using her musical talents.
Although, that was a thing, once upon a time:
Directed by Jon Watts and written by John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein, the new Spider-Man reboot’s production officially kicks off in Atlanta, Georgia this June, and the movie will crawl into theaters on July 7, 2017.