Tobey Maguire. Andrew Garfield. And now Tom Holland. The past 14 years have seen these actors take on the mantle of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, one of Marvel Comics most beloved characters, across no less than 6 live-action movies. The recent release of Captain America: Civil War saw the latest incarnation of the character appear in an extended cameo, with 19 year old British actor Tom Holland receiving rave reviews for his portrayal of the famous web-slinger. Excitement levels for the next Spidey solo outing (titled Spider-Man: Homecoming) have been given a boost, and speculation has turned to who will star in the movie, due to drop in July of next year as part of Marvels Phase 3 plans.
Naturally, Holland is attached to return, as is Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, who also appeared in CA:CW in a short but memorable scene, while Robert Downey Jr. is also set to reprise his role of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Teen stars Zendaya and Tony Revolori have been cast as Michelle and Manuel respectively, while Laura Harrier has been cast in an undisclosed role.
One character that many fans will be hoping to make an appearance is that of Mary Jane Watson, one of Spider-Mans most enduring love interests. Mary Jane first appeared in the comics in 1966 as a best friend and love rival to Peter Parker’s girlfriend at the time, Gwen Stacy, but began a relationship with him following Gwen’s death at the hands of the Green Goblin. The most recent films starring Andrew Garfield focused on the characters relationship with Gwen, so it is unlikely that this latest offering will follow that particular story line again so soon. And the original trilogy saw Kirsten Dunst portray Mary Jane mainly as a damsel in distress in constant need of Spider-Man’s help, so perhaps it’s time to see a fresh take on the character.
With that in mind, here are 5 actresses who could bring a new embodiment of the character to life in next years Homecoming!
UPDATE: Zendaya has been cast as Mary Jane Watson. I didn’t see that one coming. It remains to be seen how she does, but in my opinion, and with absolutely no hate towards Zendaya intended, I think she doesn’t suit the role as much as one of the 5 below would.
19 year old Hailee Steinfeld has been acting since she was eight years old, starting her career making TV commercials and short films. Her breakthrough came at the tender age of 13, when she was plucked from 15,000 girls to play the role of Mattie Ross, a strong willed 14 year old girl seeking vengeance for the murder of her father, in the second adaptation of Charles Portis’ novel True Grit. The performance won her critical acclaim and she went on to receive a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 83rd Oscars. This lead to her receiving some high profile roles such as Juliet in the latest adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (2013), Petra Arkanian in the sci-fi action film Ender’s Game (2013) and Emily Junk in the sequel to musical-comedy Pitch Perfect (a role which she is due to reprise in a later sequel). She had been previously linked to a superhero movie role, when she was heavily rumoured to be in the mix for the role of Jean Grey in this months X-Men: Apocalypse, before it eventually went to Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. But could it be a case of moving from one famous Marvel redhead to another for Steinfeld? Steinfeld has proved she is a capable actress, and this could be the role that really sees her become a household name.
People will most likely recognize Ariel Winter for her role on the hit ABC comedy series Modern Family, where she has played middle child Alex Dunphy since the shows inception in 2009. But the 18 year old actress has been working steadily in the entertainment industry since the age of 6, building up an impressive portfolio across commercials, movies, TV, and voice acting roles. Filming on the most recent series of Modern Family wrapped in March, after which the actress was spotted with newly dyed bright red hair, the same colour of the tresses sported by Mary Jane in the Spider-Man comics. Coincidence? Or could Winter be in line for the role? It would certainly be a smart decision casting her, given the popularity of Modern Family. But with the show already being renewed for an eight season, and Winter voicing her intentions to attend university in the Autumn, could she be too busy to commit to the role if offered it?
19 year old Isabelle Fuhrman made quite the impression when she was cast as the deranged orphan Esther in the 2009 psychological horror Orphan. At only 10 years old at the time, Fuhrman was widely praised for her performance of a complex character, which involved her adopting a heavy Russian accent, and called for a level of maturity rarely seen in someone her age. She later went onto star alongside Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games (2012), as knife-wielding District 2 tribute Clove, and last year saw her take on the part of Tessa Johnson in the Showtime period drama Masters of Sex. Despite these being her only high profile roles to date, Fuhrman is an immense talent, and her star is sure to continue to rise. Her previous roles show she is capable of playing strong female characters, which she could bring to the character of Mary Jane, but the role would also give her an opportunity to display a softer side on screen as well.
18 year old actress Elle Fanning started her career at just three years old, playing the younger version of her older sister Dakota’s character in the mini-series Taken. From there, she has worked consistently across film and TV, but it is only in the last number of years that she has really stepped out from behind her sisters shadow and carved a successful career with some interesting projects to her name. Her breakthrough came in the sci-fi drama Super 8, directed by J.J. Abrams, in which she played the role of Alice Dainard, and was praised by many as one of the best things about the movie. She followed this up with parts in We Bought a Zoo (2011) and as Princess Aurora in 2014’s Maleficent, an adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. She will next be seen in Nicolas Winding Refn’s horror thriller The Neon Demon, in which she plays a more grown up role as an aspiring model who moves to Los Angeles, where her youth and beauty puts her in danger with a group of beauty obsessed women. Like Steinfeld, if Fanning were to be considered for the role of Mary Jane, it wouldn’t be the first time she was up for a comic book role, as she also was one of the contenders for the role of Jean Grey. If Marvel were to consider her for the part, the role could see her become even more of a household name.
Bella Thorne made a name for herself as a child actress in various Disney projects. Her profile has risen over the years, and now at the age of 18, it’s clear she is keen to shake off her Disney girl image, by taking on some grittier parts. Last year saw her take on the role of head bitch Madison Morgan in The Duff, while she is due to star in a reboot of the Amityville horror series, due out next year. As well as this, she has bagged a part alongside an all star cast in The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, which tells the story of a famous Hollywood actor whose life begins to fall apart when his correspondence with an 11 year old fan is exposed. That film is also due to drop next year. Thorne has been a fan favourite for the role of Mary Jane for a while now. And it’s easy to see why; not only has she continued to prove herself as a competent actress, but she also bears a striking resemblance to the character from the comics. But with Thorne having previously stated that she would love to play a female Deadpool, perhaps she’d rather play the hero than the side-kick?
So there you have it, five actresses who could take on the role of the new Mary Jane Watson. Only time will tell who the part will go to, but do you think any of the ladies listed here would do the character justice, or do you have somebody else in mind? Have your say by voting in the poll below and leaving a comment!