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So We Riot If Spider-Man: No Way Home Kills Off Zendaya’s MJ, Right?

Zendaya as MJ falling down a bridge in Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Image credit: Marvel )

Spider-Man: No Way Home is almost here and as we go into the movie, there’s so many questions and theories for the project that fans have drafted up an unhinged conspiracy board of ideas for it. The third MCU standalone Spider-Man movie will bring Tom Holland face-to-face with the multiverse when he asks for a favor from Doctor Strange. Following Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker has been outed by Mysterio and he’s backed in a corner. All at once, the teen has also started to fall for Zendaya’s MJ. The stakes have never been higher for Spider-Man, and oftentimes the emotional and physical tensions of Spider-Man like to collide. 

In other words, we have another big question to add to our Spider-Man: No Way Home inquiry: Will the MCU kill off Zendaya’s MJ? There’s a cause of concern considering there’s a memorable shot of the character falling off a bridge in the latest Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer. Also, the Spider-Man movies have an unfavorable track record for the hero’s love interests. So, let’s talk about it, because if it does happen, we march at the dawn of its opening weekend. 

Zendaya and Tom Holland kissing in Spider-Man: Far From Home

(Image credit: Sony)

What We Know About MJ In Spider-Man: No Way Home 

In comparison to the other Spider-Man movies, the Tom Holland era of the hero has been the least focused on Peter Parker’s love life. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Zendaya’s MJ just poked her head in random scenes, really serving as more of comedic relief than anything else. In Far From Home, it was introduced that Peter is into MJ and trying to initiate his interest in her while they are abroad, but the storyline has continued to focus on other relationships in Peter’s life such as his budding friendship with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio before his identity is revealed as villainous or him coming to terms with the death of his mentor, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark

Going into No Way Home, MJ learned about Peter’s identity just before the rest of the world did. In the trailer, there’s more of a focus on Peter and MJ’s relationship than ever before. They are seen hanging out alone together and having conversations about the implications of his identity. The latest trailer opens with Peter speaking to MJ about how he only felt normal in the one week she knew who he was before the life-changing information leak. Based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s a lot more of a focus on MJ all of a sudden. 

Tom Holland and Zendaya as Peter Parker and MJ in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Spider-Man: No Way Home May Be Teasing MJ’s Death 

There’s a few hints in the new trailer that point to the tease that MJ may be in grave danger throughout the film, too. In one line in the latest look, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker looks right into MJ’s eyes as he says, “I can’t save everyone.” And of course, back to the bridge, the big high stakes moment that closes off the trailer is when Zendaya’s character is falling and a Spider-Man hand reaches out to catch her. It’s not exactly subtle here... and I'm getting nervous about it. 

Tom Holland has also spoken about how No Way Home is “not fun.” He said its “dark and it’s sad, and it’s going to be really affecting” to Total Film recently. Again, all this goes back to the emotional stakes of the character of Peter Parker. Being with MJ has been established as a hope and dream of his and if this Spider-Man trilogy decides to continue the same story tactics it has in the past, MJ dying in order for Spider-Man to save the world is exactly the heart string to pull to snap our hearts in half by the end of the movie. 

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy dying in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony)

Spider-Man Movies Have A Girlfriend Problem 

Every Spider-Man arc so far has ended on a sour note because of how its handled Peter's girlfriends and it’s time for that to change. In Sam Raimi’s trilogy, the Spider-Man movies were so romance centric that Peter and MJ’s relationship was just as important as the action. However, at the same time, Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane was never truly treated like a character. She was an object that was constantly floated in front of our hero every time he found himself in some sort of turmoil. She was replaced for the stakes of the hero and a deeper complexity we could have seen from the character and relationship was lost because of it. 

By the end of the Spider-Man trilogy, MJ had an awkward side love interest with Peter’s best friend / secret enemy, James Franco's Harry Osborn (because, drama) and the hope for his own romance had fallen apart because so much of it hinged on their dynamic keeping things "interesting." And then in The Amazing Spider-Man series, the franchise created a more palpable and honestly beautiful young romance between Andrew Garfield’s Peter and Emma Stone’s Gwen, however it once again stifled their story when the sequel decided to kill off Gwen at the climax of the film. 

Spider-Man gliding with MJ in No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

So Yeah... We’re Rioting If Zendaya’s MJ Dies In Spider-Man: No Way Home 

Following this troubling pattern in the Spider-Man films, that's not to say the movies aren’t incredibly entertaining and some of the choices very much worked, but it’s time to move on and switch up the same old story. Zendaya’s MJ deserves a better story arc than being the object of drama and sadness for our hero. Spider-Man deserves to continue to have more layered emotional stakes than not being able to save the girl he likes again. 

There is a pretty awesome theory circling out there, for those who believe that Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire are going to be in the movie. Some people had the idea that the hand that will save Zendaya’s MJ will be Garfield’s Spider-Man as a redemption for the loss he faces in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Even if the past Spider-Man actors are not in the movie, for these movies to finally break this pattern and make its love interests more than damsels in distresses and objects of affection and emotional manipulation, that’d be a big win for the franchise. 

Stop punishing Spidey for liking the girl already, we’ve seen it. Let Zendaya live you cowards, or we’re storming the castle, or at least passive aggressively mailing you our collective therapy bills. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.