This article contains SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Spider-Man: Homecoming producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal have confirmed to IGN that the character of Michelle is NOT Mary Jane Watson. For the uninitiated, Mary Jane Watson is Peter Parker’s most well-known love interest from the comics.
FANDOM mentioned the twist in a recent article but called it out as an Easter Egg, and a “cheeky reference” to speculation ahead of the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Fan theories had Zendaya’s character – a school pal of Peter’s known simply as Michelle in credits released before the film came out – pegged as the MJ. This, people argued, would be one of the film’s big revelations.
But while Michelle reveals at the end of the film that her friends tend to call her MJ, there’s no hint that it’s anything other than a nod to the character and a sly wink of acknowledgment to the fuss.
Feige told IGN: “Well, we never even looked at it as a big reveal necessarily but more of just a fun homage to his past adventures and his past love. She’s not Mary Jane Watson. She never was Mary Jane Watson. She was always this new high school character, Michelle, who we know there’s an “M” in Michelle and an “M” in Mary. [Laughs] So we’re so clever and we thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat if her initials were MJ?” And then I think it leaked that she would be playing MJ and then it became a whole headache for Zendaya to have to navigate. It was never a big, “Oh my God, it’s a big reveal!” There are big reveals in the movie. That’s not one of them.”
Pascal confirmed: “She is not going to end as being Mary Jane Watson.”
So there it is, straight from the horses’ mouths.