You could have sent your watch by the internet's reaction to the news that Zendaya may be playing a classic Spider-Man role in Marvel's new movie. As soon as the rumor began to spread than Zendaya might be playing Peter Parker's most famous partner, Mary Jane Watson, social media went indiscriminately bonkers. One of Spider-Man's writers is having none of it. Dan Slott took to Twitter to say that Zendaya is going to be great in Spider-Man: Homecoming and that there is no reason she's can't play Mary Jane Watson.
When Zendaya was originally cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the word was that she was attached to a character named Michelle. While there were a handful of possibilities about who that could have been, none were the sort that gets the internet buzzing. However, yesterday it was reported that people with knowledge of the film had told The Wrap that the part Zendaya was playing was actually that of classic Spider-Man love interest Mary Jane Watson opposite Tom Holland's Peter Parker.
As with every case that has occurred where an actual human person of color was cast to play the role of a fictional artistic image that was portrayed as white, the internet handled the news with grace and aplomb. Just, kidding, everybody is freaking out. Dan Slott, one of the men currently charged with the Spider-Man character in the comics, is as invested in him as anybody, yet he doesn't have a problem with any of this. There are still plenty of places to find "MJ classic" if you are so inclined.
It's probably important to point out that this entire thing is still a rumor. There's no guarantee that any of it is going to turn out to be true, but if it does, that's fine. Zendaya can be as good Mary Jane Watson as anybody. She just has to play the role well, just like any other actress would be expected to do.
Ultimately, Dan Slott's point is that Mary Jane's identity is not attached to her race, so anybody can play the part. It's also a good thing that characters on movie screens represent all of the people watching the movies.
Whatever roles end up being played by whichever actors, we're still looking forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming. Dan Slott has this figured out. Hopefully, the rest of us can slowly begin to follow suit.
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