There have been two masked menaces before Tom Holland took over the role of Marvel's most recent web-slinger debuting in 2016 in Captain America: Civil War. Holland may bring a more wide-eyed, eager, and youthful approach to his take on Peter Parker, but Marvel sticks to the wallcrawler's well-known love interests even in recent adaptations.
Face it, tiger. You hit the jackpot. Even before Zendaya was ever in the picture for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel was already sure that they wanted to bring back Mary Jane Watson in some incarnation as Parker's love interest. Zendaya, who made her first Marvel appearance in Homecoming, was formally introduced as the new MJ Watson at the end of the film.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is mostly centered around Parker taking on full Avenger-level responsibility after the events of Avengers: Endgame and juggling his civilian lifestyle - which includes pursuing a new relationship with MJ. The 'Mary Jane' that begins to develop for the Marvel Cinematic Univers takes on a larger role in the Homecoming sequel compared to her lesser amount of screen time in the first new-age Spider-Man film, bearing witness to the devastating reveal of Spider-Man's true identity, and being painted as a murder.
In an interview with MJ Rodriguez for Variety, Zendaya opens up about her character and how she will be updated for a modern MCU.
"'Spider-Man' was one of the first movies that I did outside of Disney Channel. And yeah, I didn’t have much to do in the first movie, but I was so just excited to be doing the movie at all. And I was lucky because they already kind of wanted to re-create the character and turn her into a new version of what I think maybe the original Mary Jane character represented and just do it in our own way in this Marvel Cinematic Universe," the actress said, "I kind of came into it and there was already on the page a smart, quick, sharp young girl who comes off a bit quirky or offbeat. I have a lot of fun doing it. I like being able to do comedy and things that aren’t so heavy."
The last time the Parker-Watson relationship was visited outside of the comics, Kirsten Dunst took on the role of Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's iconic trilogy alongside Tobey Maguire, the first complete Spider-Man trilogy. Holland plans to follow Maguire's lead with his third upcoming film, while Andrew Garfield's two-film series fell short.
Director Jon Watts is preparing to embark on his third Spider-Man film, and fans of Zendaya's MJ have more to look forward to. Sharp, clever, and witty, MJ is surely an important addition to the MCU and to Parker's personal entourage.