Marvel’s new Spider-Man was perhaps the best part of this summer’s “Captain America: Civil War,” so fans are psyched for the web slinger’s upcoming solo movie, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Yesterday, Marvel let it slip to the Wrap who would be playing Peter Parker’s longtime comics lover interest, Mary Jane Watson: The young actress and singer Zendaya.
And people are really excited that the new Mary Jane is black.
Zendaya, 19, will act opposite 20-year-old Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. The talented biracial actress/singer is best known for her appearances on the Disney Channel, but also recently appeared in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.”
The big news lines up with Marvel’s attempts to make their recently regained Spider-Man franchise young (the actors are actually going to be roughly high school age instead of in their 30s like in past films), and diverse. Marvel has a spotty but improving record for diverse casting, and most fans were thrilled that they had chosen to portray the traditionally white Mary Jane character as black in the MCU.
Guys! We are all Tigers who have hit the jackpot! Zendaya is gonna slay as MJ!
— Jamie Noguchi (@angryzenmaster) August 19, 2016
Zendaya is perfect. Zendaya as Mary Jane Watson? Iconic.
— Money Making Vick (@VickyDoe) August 19, 2016
Zendaya to play Mary Jane… OMG THAT MAKES ME SO happy because we are getting a Spiderman movie with actors who aren’t in their 30s
— Joey (@JoeyM_8) August 19, 2016
New Frank Ocean
Zendaya is Mary Jane
Mary Jane Watson is a black-arse name, anyway.
— Julian Kimble (@JRK316) August 19, 2016
As seems to increasingly be the case, there appeared to be more chatter responding to and opposing a racist backlash to the news than there were actual racist tweets.
Nick Fury was white before Samuel L. Jackson, so Zendaya as Mary Jane isn’t that big a deal. I’m actually excited for it.
— Brandon Zylec Lane (@ZylecLane) August 19, 2016
*scarlett johansson plays a japanese character in ghost in the shell*
they: it’s OK
*zendaya plays mary jane*
they: hOW DARE YOU MJ IS WHITE
— laura (@ezrsmillers) August 19, 2016
Jason Momoa cast as Aquaman and people have no issue.
Zendaya cast as Mary Jane Watson and white fanboys are seething.
— Chadwick Boot (@chadsbad) August 19, 2016
Still, there were some eye-rollingly ignorant responses.
Since Mary Jane is being played by a Black woman, can MLK be played by a White man in a next movie about him?
— Jason Bergkamp (@keksec__org) August 19, 2016
But for the most part, folks are thrilled (or else keeping their hate to themselves). We’ll see Zendaya’s MJ in action when “Spider-Man: Homecoming” comes out next summer.
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