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Kevin Feige on Zendaya’s ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Character

Written By: Nick Poulimenakos

It’s safe to say that Spider-Man: Homecoming is a complete home run. With critical acclaim and weekend box office total of around $250 million, Sony and Marvel’s latest attempt at bringing the web-slinger to screen is their most successful yet.

The two previous Spider-Man franchises were very similar minus a few changes. With Homecoming, Marvel decided to take a much different approach, abandoning the origin story and giving us a full fledged spidey. While most of the film stays true to its source material, it does radically alter some aspects of the Spider story.

One of the biggest changes comes in the form of Zendaya’s character, Michelle. Throughout production and post-production, Zendaya and company consistently said that her character was not Mary Jane Watson. While that’s true, we find out by the end of the film that her character does indeed go back the initials ‘M.J,’ thanks to her last name being Jones. Recently, Kevin Feige spoke about the character in an interview with Den Of Geek where he talked about this new spin on Mary Jane Watson.

“In setting up this will be a very different thing, she’s not Mary Jane Watson, that’s not who the character is. But giving her the initials that remind you of that dynamic certainly is intriguing about what could go forward.”

While Michelle and Mary Jane are evidently two separate characters, Feige says that what makes them similar is how they view Peter Parker’s disappearances and excuses.

“Clearly, she says she’s not obsessed with him, she’s just observant. But she’s there. And to have fun with that while at the same time having it be different characters that can provide a different dynamic [is the point].”

It was clear from the get-go that Marvel did not want to give viewers the same old Spider-Man movie. According to Feige, their main goal is to take the character and the franchise in a new and surprising direction.

“Peter’s had a lot of friends over the years in the comics, and a lot of schoolmates and characters he’s interacted with. It wasn’t just Mary Jane Watson; it wasn’t just Gwen Stacy; it wasn’t just Harry Osborn. So we were very interested in the other characters, and that’s where Liz came from and that’s where the version of the character Michelle came from.”

With this is mind, it would seem that Zendaya will have a bigger role in a future MCU Spider-Man film. While her character wasn’t directly involved in the plot, Zendaya had some of the best lines in the film and her character’s initials hint at big things to come.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is in theatres everywhere now. 

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