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Zendaya Talks Growing Up On Camera While Playing MJ In Marvel's Spider-Man Movies

Michelle and Spider-Man in Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Image credit: Sony)

Could any of us have guessed Zendaya, the star of Disney Channel’s Shake It Up, would go on to become this generation’s MJ? Oh, and she’s also the youngest woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, a true fashion icon and Chani in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, which is finally out this weekend. It’s been exciting watch her rise to fame, and she's reflecting on her life so far, particularly what it's been like to grow up on camera through the Spider-Man franchise.

As Spider-Man: No Way Home soon approaches, it’s the perfect moment for the star to speak on just how far she’s come since becoming MJ and discuss what’s coming up next for her. When answering fan questions for InStyle’s Fan Mail, the actress spoke up about how much she has loved being part of the Spidey movies:

It's been awesome. I did the first movie when I was 19. Now I'm about to turn 25. I don't want to talk about it. But anyway, it's been really special, you know, we've gotten to grow up with this character, we've gotten to grow up together and go through so much together. She has a special place in my heart, MJ. I’m grateful to play such an iconic character and grateful to Jon [Watts] for picking me to be this new version of who she is in this Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Since the interview was recorded, Zendaya has turned 25, and she passes that milestone with an incredible career to look back on and ahead. In between her other projects like Euphoria, The Greatest Showman and Malcolm & Marie, she’s always had a Spider-Man set to go back to, and she’s “grateful” she’s had the opportunity to be part of the MCU. Zendaya has been MJ for five years now and seems set to close out an era alongside Tom Holland with Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The movie will see Peter Parker being faced with the fact that the world knows who he is, following the events of Far From Home. In an effort to mend the issue, Peter goes to Doctor Strange, who attempts to undo the mess but, as the the trailer shows, the spell gets warped and seemingly cracks open the multiverse. The big reveal of the trailer is the fact that Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock of Sam Raimi’s 2004 film has made his way over to the MCU.

Of course, Zendaya’s MJ is also aware of Peter’s identity and has started a relationship with him. In recent months, we’ve also seen Zendaya and Tom Holland perhaps form a romantic bond off set as the pair were once spotted kissing and, more recently, Holland has been showing some affection toward the actress

While we’d follow this Spider-Man series for many, many more years, the Peter Parker actor recently shared that the third film is being treated as “the end of a franchise.” The movies could very well return but, if they do, he says it will be a very different version that will stand apart from the “Homecoming trilogy.” We’ll see once No Way Home hits theaters on December 17. And you can catch Zendaya in Dune, which is now in theaters and HBO Max. 

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.