Earlier this week, when it was reported that Zendaya will play Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, Homecoming, most of the internet started to do a collective happy dance. What could be better than a sprinkling of #BlackGirlMagic on the notoriously white-washed series?
Well, not everybody is as excited as we are about the prospect. As expected, racist trolls have emerged from the woodwork to stamp their feet and offer nonsensical arguments against a non-white Mary Jane, including the notion that MJ is supposed to have red hair. Huh?
Here's just a sampling of the WTF comments floating around Twitter:
Decided not to make that video on Zendaya because I honestly doubt she is MJ. Unless this is "MJ's bad hair day" lol pic.twitter.com/HeVarLpZQQ— Coby (@slcmof) August 20, 2016
I love @Zendaya. i'm sure she'll be great. But red hair was canon in every MJ appearance. This feels like bad casting aesthetically. Cont...— kay (@ddrakeswifey) August 18, 2016
I already hated zendaya bc shes a shit actress but why they gotta make her Mary Jane such a bad choice. And not cuz she black.— papi chulo (@Guitarmad23) August 19, 2016
While it's hard to take these arguments seriously — and hopefully whomever needs to sign Zendaya's contract at the studio doesn't — director James Gunn nevertheless but the haters on blast in an impassioned Facebook post (without confirming or denying that Z will be playing MJ or not).
"I do not believe a character is the color of his or her skin. When Michael B Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm I didn't understand the uproar," he writes. "For me, if a character's primary attribute - the thing that makes them iconic - is the color of their skin, or their hair color, frankly, that character is shallow and sucks. For me, what makes MJ MJ is her alpha female playfulness, and if the actress captures that, then she'll work. And, for the record, I think Zendaya even matches what I think of as MJ's primary physical characteristics - she's a tall, thin model - much more so than actresses have in the past."
Hopefully that's the last word, and even moreso that we get official news of Zendaya playing MJ, soon!
(Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)