With the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy under her belt -- and more than a few of them in the top half of our all-time Spider-Man rankings -- Zendaya’s Michelle "MJ" Jones-Watson became much more than Peter Parker’s love interest for a generation of audiences. While what could be next for her character in the franchise is not yet among the upcoming Marvel movies we know of, apparently on the Marvel Comics side of things, one of its writers pitched to involve her in the Spider-Verse, and it really didn’t go well.
Dan Slott's time writing for Marvel Comics stretches back to 1991, and he's memorably behind a ton of issues of Amazing Spider-Man and the Superior Spider-Man series. Slott recently took to Twitter to share that he had an idea to implement Zendaya into his Spider-Man issues, but he was shot down.
The one that I felt would've sold a BAZILLION copies:If we had a Spider-Woman who was @Zendaya in our new Spider-Verse issues.That would've been AMAZING.I was told there was no way that was happening and to not even ask. :-PJanuary 26, 2023
Now, not every idea the writers come up with makes it into Spider-Verse comic book canon. As Slott shared on social media, he pitched for Jedi-Spider, Spider-Mickey and Spider-Met to join the Marvel Comics world, and was rejected each time. While the writer didn’t expand on what his idea for Zendaya specifically was, he shared that he felt it would have sold a “bazillion copies” and would have been “amazing.” However, when he went to bring the idea forward, he was told there was “no way” it was happening and to “not even ask.”
What does that mean? There are a few thing to consider here. For one, Zendaya’s MJ was never Spider-Woman in the movies, so making her version of the character a superhuman superhero would invite the possibility of that story arc coming to be in live-action, or at least fans believing it to be so. Also, we have no idea what Marvel Studios' plans are for Tom Holland and Zendaya’s roles in the MCU, especially in terms of a future movie perhaps setting up Spider-Woman for the big screen.
I think it’s also possible that a Zendaya Spider-Woman could be written in the comics with the awareness that it’s another universe than the one we see in the movies. There’s also the whole legality conversation to think about as well. Would Zendaya consent to her likeness turning her into a comic book hero with a Dan Slott version of her MJ? There are lots of questions here, but according to the Marvel writer, the publisher wasn’t even willing to entertain the idea of Zendaya joining the Spider-Verse.
While details are thin about Zendaya returning to the MCU following the ending of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Tom Holland and Zendaya continue to be a couple in real life, and the actress has a few projects on the 2023 new movie schedule. Zendaya will have a bigger role in Dune: Part II, as well as star in the sports drama Challengers coming this summer.
The next Spider-Man movie will be Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which has a stacked cast that includes Issa Rae as an animated Spider-Woman. In terms of what’s next for Spider-Man and MJ on the big screen, we’ll have to dream up our own storylines like Dan Slott is doing.
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Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.