Why settle on one superhero when you could have two? Apparently someone behind the scenes of the Spider-Man film franchise was asking that question. According to Tom Holland and Zendaya, Marvel’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was almost joined by another superhero in his film series. That hero’s secret identity would have been Peter Parker’s main squeeze — Zendaya’s MJ.
In an interview with Tom Holland and Zendaya posted to the Russian social media platform Odnoklassniki (via Comic Book) Zendaya was asked whether or not she ever asked producers to turn her character into a superhero. The actress said she hadn’t, but Holland chimed in with, “They were trying for a while, though, do you remember that?” Zendaya responded, “Yeah, but I leave the superheroing to this one.” You can watch the video clip below.
Unfortunately, there are no more details about exactly what kind of discussions went on behind the scenes, or why they were scrapped. Was it Zendaya’s own objections to the idea that scrapped the plans? After all, she doesn’t seem too thrilled with the notion when the interviewer brings it up. At most, Zendaya and Tom Holland just seem amused by the mention. And exactly what kind of superhero would she be? Would they base her on a character from the source material, or create a completely original look, power set, and codename for MJ?
As Comic Book points out, MJ has never had a superhero persona in Marvel Comics’ prime timeline. For a time, fans strongly suspected MJ was the redheaded hero Jackpot, but it turned out she was someone else entirely. Then there’s Spinneret, an alternate universe version of MJ introduced in the 2015 miniseries Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. In fact, Spinneret isn’t the only important woman in Peter Parker’s life who has a variant from another universe with Spider powers. Sure, you may already know about Spider-Gwen, but how about Spider-Ma’am? That’s right — Spider-Ma’am. In a back-up feature of 1980’s What If? #23, we see a world where it’s Peter Parker’s Aunt May who gains spider powers and becomes the hero Spider-Ma’am. Lost to obscurity for decades, Spider-Ma’am was reintroduced to the Marvel Universe in the 2014-15 Spider-Verse event that inspired 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
While Zendaya doesn’t seem to keen on the idea of MJ becoming a Spider-powered hero, it might actually be something Tom Holland would applaud. Shortly before the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Holland made comments to the effect that he would like to see “a more diverse Spider-Man universe” — implying that a character like Spider-Gwen or the Mile Morales Spider-Man could take up the mantle.
If Zendaya wasn’t simply feigning modesty in her supposed objections to playing a superhero, then it could be that the actress is about to get her fill of a more physical role. Next summer, filming will begin on Dune: Part II, in which Zendaya will reprise the role of Chani. While Chani doesn’t have much to do with the action heavy sequences of 2021’s Dune, director Denis Villeneuve has said that Zendaya’s character will be the lead of the sequel. Maybe she wants to see how she does riding giant worms and fighting Harkonnens before she commits to being a superhero.