The vast majority of casting announcements for Spider-Man: Homecoming - of which there have been many - have stopped short of revealing the characters that the actors are playing. It looks like we can finally take Zendaya off that lengthy who's who list though, as The Wrap is reporting that the actress has snagged the iconic role of Mary Jane Watson.
Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker's first serious girlfriend in the comics, but Mary Jane has traditionally been his longstanding love interest. It's unclear if that's the route their taking in Homecoming, but I wouldn't be surprised if the film at least started to sow the seeds of romance between the two characters.
While Mary Jane is a Caucasian redhead in the comics Zendaya has a mixed-race heritage, and if previous reactions to deviations from comic book source material are anything to go by then they'll be a certain subset of fans who'll be upset by the change.
Personally I'm a big fan of colourblind casting, and although no footage of Spider-Man: Homecoming has made its way online yet the clips shown at San Diego Comic Con have already garnered Zendaya positive notices from those in attendance (read our report here). Whether or not she looks like the character is immaterial if the performance works, and I'm looking forward to seeing her take on MJ.
If you did have any doubts about Zendaya's chemistry with her Peter Parker co-star Tom Holland however, this video will quickly quell those fears...
can you believe this is our peter parker and mary jane watson pic.twitter.com/LSC3OVURcgAugust 18, 2016
Directed by Jon Watts and starring Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Donald Glover, and Zendaya, Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into cinemas on July 7, 2017.
Images: Disney Channel