Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming, which served as Spider-Man's introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, laid a foundation for Peter Parker's high school life with several recognizable building blocks from the character's Marvel Comics roots. We found out that Zendaya's character, Michelle, goes by MJ. And there were supporting roles for Flash Thompson and even Betty Brant (who might be important later). But there was a major character from Peter's past who wasn't in the mix yet -- though we are now hearing this might change.
Omega Underground is now reporting that Jon Watts' planned Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel (yes, Watts has been confirmed to return) will introduce Gwen Stacy... but with a number of twists. The site is citing production sources as saying that French actress Louna auditioned for the role of Gwen, and that the character is being envisioned as a foreign exchange student who comes to Peter's school, and could be French or Russian, depending on who the movie casts.
This is very exciting for a number of reasons. While it's true that the two previous Spider-Man series worked Gwen Stacy into their narratives (with Emma Stone most recently portraying her in Marc Webb's two Amazing Spider-Man movies), the notion of an MCU Gwen has to get fans' spider senses tingling, as it opens the door to so many rich -- and possibly painful -- storytelling moments that could be in store for Tom Holland's take on Peter Parker.
Including Gwen Stacy also returns Spider-Man to a ground-level emotional beat of storytelling that this sequel will need after the two Avengers movies that will feature Spider-Man. Peter (Tom Holland) will be helping the Avengers save the planet. But when he returns to school, having him have his heart potentially broken by either Gwen or MJ (Zendaya) could strike that personal balance that the character needs.
Now, I can already predict the controversy that would be whipped up by making Gwen Stacy a foreign exchange student, and possibly a Russian. But there is no collusion! This is the just the next step for a franchise that is adding a needed diversity to key supporting roles, as when they cast Zendaya as MJ, or Jacob Batalon as Peter's best friend, Ned Leeds. Heck, the series rethought Aunt May, making her the extremely attractive Marisa Tomei... the apple of Tony Stark's eye.
We know so little about the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, other than the fact that it's due in theaters on July 5, 2019. The general consensus on the Marvel Spider-Man movies is that they were going to do everything in their power to avoid introducing plot elements that were crucial to the earlier Spidey movies. But bringing Gwen into the fold -- and, eventually, a Goblin -- would contradict that. I, for one, am extremely intrigued by an MCU Gwen Stacy. Are you?