Word broke today that Shailene Woodley was close to being cast as Mary Jane Watson in the sequel to “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
Woodley, of the “Secret Life of an American Teenager” TV series and the movie “The Descendants,” looks perfectly fine for the part. At just about 21, she still looks like a teenager.
But the news of the addition of Mary Jane to the rebooted “Spider-Man” series carries with it, of course, the implication that director Marc Webb’s series might soon address the famous “Death of Gwen Stacy” storyline from the comics.
Issues 121 and 122 of the original “Amazing Spider-Man” – published in the summer of 1973 – were famous, and justifiably so, for featuring one of the most shocking comic storylines published to that point. In a battle between Spidey and the Green Goblin, Gwen is thrown from the top of a bridge. Spidey shoots a web to catch her and, at first, believes that he has saved her.
Then he realizes the horrible truth.
Gwen’s sacrifice put Peter Parker/Spider-Man back on the market, so to speak, and eventually redhead Mary Jane – a character previously only glimpsed – was introduced.
Granted, the Gwen Stacy story – not including some regrettable retrofitting a few years ago – has been comics history and thus familiar to fans for decades.
But it will be interesting to see how movie fans in general react.