Mary Jane Watson is a curvaceous pin-up model/Hollywood actress that should have sex appeal oozing out of her every pore. At least that's how she's depicted in the primary Marvel Comics Universe that's designated Earth-616. Part of the appeal of the MJ/Peter relationship is that the geeky Parker would realistically never obtain a girl like MJ but he miraculously does. That's a fantasy scenario that more than a few comic book fans long for. When it was first announced that Mary Jane would be appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man sequel, names such as Deborah Ann Woll, Jane Levy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and others were bandied about in casting discussions. When news broke that Shaeline Woodley would be playing the red haired temptress it was met with a nervous murmur and with the first set-photos emerging yesterday, that nervous murmur has exploded into a full-on fervor. But what if the Mary Jane Watson we were expecting to see in Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man sequel is not the one the director and screenwriters have in mind?
In the original Spider-Man comics that started in the 60's, there's a bit of a running gag that the reader never gets to see Mary Jane's face during Aunt May's pestering of Peter to take out Anna Watson's niece on a date (a gag that lasted over a year, imagine if Slott did something like that today). Don't expect that to happen in the film, expect Woodley to be front and center as I think Webb is borrowing a bit from The Ultimate line of Marvel Comics. In the Ultimate line, Mary Jane has a passion for broadcast journalism and uses Peter as her cameraman, which would actually be a nice segue to The Daily Bugle and J. Jonah Jameson. This version of Mary Jane is not the walking sexpot that her 616 counterpart is often illustrated as; instead she's a quirky, short-tempered loudmouth who can match Peter's wisecracks with her own sarcastic humor. Ultimate Spider-Man also features a relationship between Mary Jane and Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) before things begin between her and Peter. That's a likely scenario to unfold on screen for two key characters joining the cast at the same time. We'll have to see whether MJ is Peter's girl or Harry's but with a film that includes Rhino, Electro and probably another villain or two, you have to wonder how much time will be left for love triangles (or maybe that should be a love rectangle, Gwen has also dated Harry in the comics).
Don't get me wrong, Shaeline Woodley probably wouldn't be my first choice for Mary Jane either as I would like to see the 616-version but keep in mind that movie studios have had great success borrowing from the more modern, Ultimate Marvel Universe and that appears to be the case here. Different doesn't mean inferior folks.
Running Time: Filming in progress
Release Date: May 2, 2014 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (probable)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Shaeline Woodle, Paul Giamatti, Jamie Foxx, Felicity Jones, Colm Feore, Dane DeHaan and Martin Sheen.
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: James Vanderbilt (story),Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Jeff Pinkner (screenplay)
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