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Feige and Watts Talks About Michelle and Aunt May on 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'

By Freddy  /  10 Jul 2017 (Monday)

Image credit: Sony Pictures

Spoiler alert. You have been warned.

There are two big reveals towards the end of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’. One moment was Michelle (Zendaya) saying, “My friends call me MJ.” to the academic decathlon team. A bigger surprise was Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) finding out that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is Spider-Man just before the credits. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and director Jon Watts spoke to Den of Geek about these decisions.

Let’s talk about them one by one.

​Image credit: Sony Pictures

Zendaya as MJ

Rumours went around that Zendaya was playing Mary Jane Watson. Since her character, Michelle, initially lacks a last name when she was announced, people speculated that it is merely an alias. Her name is revealed to be Michelle Jones, sharing an initial with Peter’s redheaded darling.

“In setting up this will be a very different thing, she’s not Mary Jane Watson, that’s not who the character is.” Feige said. “But giving her the initials that remind you of that dynamic certainly is intriguing about what could go forward.”

What does it mean though? Will she be Mary Jane Watson in all but name? Of course, Peter’s love interest in this film is Liz (Laura Harrier), who has been written off the franchise as she moved away. Can we expect Michelle to be Peter’s love interest in future films?

“Clearly, she says she’s not obsessed with him, she’s just observant. But she’s there. And to have fun with that while at the same time having it be different characters that can provide a different dynamic [is the point].”

It sounds like having Michelle as a new character is an opportunity for the filmmakers to introduce a new character that does not end up being endlessly compared to previous iterations of the same character, with this film being the sixth Spider-Man film in the past 15 years.

“Peter’s had a lot of friends over the years in the comics, and a lot of schoolmates and characters he’s interacted with. It wasn’t just Mary Jane Watson; it wasn’t just Gwen Stacy; it wasn’t just Harry Osborn. So we were very interested in the other characters, and that’s where Liz came from and that’s where the version of the character Michelle came from.”

Indeed, the character of Liz is clearly inspired by Liz Allan, Peter’s high school love interest in the comic books. Other comic book characters that made their way to this film include Ned (Jacob Batalon) and Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori).

​Image credit: Sony Pictures

Aunt May Finds Out About Peter

“What the f—!” screamed Aunt May when she saw an unmasked Spider-Man in Peter’s bedroom at the end of the film. This has not happened on screen before, and certainly not so early on.

“That was a thing where I don’t remember exactly at what point it came up when we were just brainstorming ideas, but as soon as that came out, it was like, ‘We gotta’ do that. Like we gotta’ do that!’ It’s like when you have an idea that makes everyone excited and nervous, and feels like, ‘Are we seriously going to do that?’ Then you know you have to do it… And it definitely has opened up a huge can of worms, and I have no idea how we’re going to address it,” explained Jon Watts.

The previous Spider-Man films had an older Peter Parker and Aunt May. It felt more like Peter was taking care of Aunt May. This latest film with a younger Aunt May and a 15-year-old Peter clearly feels like Aunt May is the one who takes care of her teenaged orphaned nephew. Exploring their new relationship after the reveal would showcase a relationship between Aunt May and Peter that have not been explored on screen before.

These are doubts that they might do a cop-out and have Aunt May not really confirm that it was Peter. Luckily they do not seem to be moving in that direction. “How do you explain your way out of that? I don’t think you can!” Watts laughs.
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