Zendaya is Mary Jane in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,' so of course there's racist backlash

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Spider-Man: Homecoming is still a year away, but new details about the Marvel film have slowly been emerging — none more revelatory than news of who Zendaya will be playing. 

According to a report from the Wrap, the actress will be playing the iconic role of Mary Jane Watson. As Vulture notes from its coverage of Spider-Man: Homecoming at San Diego Comic-Con, this iteration of Mary Jane will be different than previous film adaptations. 

"With her messy hair, sarcastic attitude, and thrift-store threads, Zendaya's character looked more like Linda Cardellini in Freaks and Geeks than any of Peter's famous comic-book love interests," Kyle Buchanan wrote. 

Zendaya will also be the first black actress to play Mary Jane on-screen — and this news hasn't settled well with everyone on the Twitterverse. As some users have noted, if we're going to get a black Mary Jane, what could possibly come next? 

But others were quick to point out the overreactions to Zendaya's casting. For example, there are complaints that Mary Jane is a redhead in the comics — therefore, per the haters, the actress must have natural red hair! But the previous on-screen Mary Jane, Kirsten Dunst, is naturally blonde.

The controversy is reminiscent of complaints about John Boyega playing a stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or director Paul Feig rebooting Ghostbusters with an all-women team. The lesson of those is simple: The world didn't fall apart. Those movies were not ruined. Everyone moved on — just as they will this time, too.

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Miles Surrey

Miles is a staff writer at Mic, covering culture. He is based in New York and can be reached at miles@mic.com.

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