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Spider-Man: Homecoming is currently filming in Atlanta. While this often gives us new and interesting details about a film, this new casting news is still shrouded in mystery. Actress Jona Xiao has reportedly joined the cast of the new Spider-Man film, and while the report appears confident in its casting news, there's no information on who it is the actress will play. Let the rampant speculation begin.
Jona Xiao isn't likely a name that you know now, but the actress appears to be on her way up. She'll have a recurring role in the third season of Halt and Catch Fire on AMC, and also has a role in October's Keeping up with the Joneses with Zack Galifinakis. In addition, Variety is reporting that Xiao has just been cast in an undisclosed role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Tom Holland will star as Peter Parker following his introduction to the MCU in Captain America: Civil War, along with Marissa Tomei as Aunt May. Beyond that, Michael Keaton has been cast in the film, in a role which is believed, but not confirmed, to be the Vulture. Actress Zendaya is playing a role that might be a character named Michelle, or might be Mary Jane Watson.
The cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming has actually become quite extensive in recent weeks. One of the likely reasons for this is that a significant portion of the film will be taking place at Peter Parker's high school. This means lots of actors, both young and old, will be needed to fill out the environment. Just because Jona Xiao is the most recent addition to the cast doesn't mean the role is anything significant to the plot. She could be Peter's history teacher, a character in one scene, who yells at Peter for ignoring class to talk to Zendaya's character, whoever she is.
At the same time, Jona Xiao could play some major role. Perhaps she's an associate of Michael Keaton's character who helps him develop his wing suit, assuming we are talking about The Vulture, of course. With the turns casting makes in in this film, even if we knew the characters name, it wouldn't mean we knew anything at all.
When Zendaya was originally cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming she was attached to a character named Michelle. The name alone led to a great deal of fan speculation, but that speculation went off the rails last week when a rumor broke that the name was actually a cover for Zendaya's real role, as Peter Parker's primary love interest, Mary Jane Watson. While everybody from Spider-Man writer Dan Slott to the character's creator, Stan Lee, have come out in support of the decision, if it is more than a rumor, this hasn't stopped many from criticizing the racial change of the character.
Maybe Jona Xiao will turn out to be playing Mary Jane's mother.