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Singer Zendaya Lands Lead Role in Marvel’s ‘Spider-Man’ Movie

Getty Images
Getty Images

While most comic book fans are waiting to see if they’ll catch a glimpse of the new Spider-Man in this week’s Captain America: Civil War trailer, Marvel is already looking ahead to Spidey’s new reboot. While the film isn’t due in theaters until next summer, Marvel has reportedly already cast a lead actress to co-star with Tom Holland. And it’s… Zendaya?

For the uninitiated to the world of pop music and the Disney Channel, Zendaya is most famous for [Googles “what is Zendaya famous for”] the Disney original series K.C. Undercover, her most recent single “Something New” off her upcoming album and once being a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. In fairness, I’m also told [by Wikipedia] that Zendaya (whose full name is Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman) also has some serious stage experience, starring in performances of Richard III, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It. So yes, she’s an insanely famous pop star. But hey, she can also act, too.

OK, so who is Zendaya playing in the film? According to Deadline she’s playing a character named Michelle, and if you know Spider-Man, you know there aren’t really any major characters named Michelle. Perhaps Michelle is a codename for “Mary Jane” or “Gwen Stacy” (for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey was referred to as “Kira” to throw people off the scent)? Or perhaps Michelle is a codename for “Michelle” and this is a new character we haven’t met yet? Some have suggested this could be Michele Gonzales, a love interest of Peter’s from later in life. She first appeared in 2009 and last appeared in 2011, so she’s definitely on the obscure side. She’s also a lawyer, but theoretically they could age her down to the high school level. (Though at that point, why even bother keeping the connection?)

UPDATE: Variety has some new information about who Zendaya is playing in Spider-Man, or more to the point, who she’s not playing. According to their sources, the singer-actress is not playing either a love interest or a lead role in the film, but her character is expected to “play a bigger part in future installments.”

Considering we just got done with a series of movies that included a Gwen Stacy, it seems unlikely she’ll return so soon. And we can’t imagine the first casting announcement for a movie as big as Spider-Man would be for a bit player. Could this really be the new Mary Jane?

Another interesting upcoming comes from Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter who tweeted:

So Marvel wasn’t about to go and make Peter Parker black, but they’re at least casting diversity around him. Which is not perfect, but it’s at least a step in the right direction. Having Spider-Man romance a biracial Mary Jane would certainly be an interesting and exciting step forward.

Spider-Man opens in theaters on July 7, 2017.

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