Batten down your internet hatches, folks—this looks like it could be a big one.
(Also, possible spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming ahead.)
According to The Wrap, Disney Channel star Zendaya (second from right above) will be playing Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker’s longtime love interest and wife in the comics (before Peter made a deal with the devil and the marriage was erased from history in exchange for saving Aunt May’s life, but we don’t talk about that), in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
At the time of Zendaya’s casting, her character’s name was reported as Michelle, although no other details were given about the role. The Wrap says they’ve had two sources confirm that she is in fact Mary Jane, as well as a recent version of the script that hints toward her identity. Birth.Movies.Death. says that information lines up with the footage shown at San Diego Comic-Con, which had Zendaya looking frumpy and nerdy, perhaps as a bait-and-switch for her eventual reveal as future-supermodel Mary Jane.
In the comics, Marvel has been making a very deliberate attempt to diversify their characters, and it looks like that philosophy may be influencing the movies. Tony Revolori, of The Grand Budapest Hotel fame, has already been confirmed as Flash Thompson, Peter’s high-school bully and a character originally conceived as white.
Now, if there’s anything we know about the internet, from the casting of Idris Elba in Thor or Michael B. Jordan in Fantastic Four, it’s that they’ll take the news of a person of color playing a character originally written as white with an open mind and a warm heart. So don’t worry about reading any Reddit threads or comment sections about this—no doubt they will only be filled with goodwill and gleeful anticipation. Or at least they should be.
Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters on July 17, 2017.