Stan Lee Defends Zendaya Being Cast As Mary Jane In New ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Film

Fans are ready to swing into action with the announcement of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Announced to be arriving in 2017, Tom Holland will take up the role of the web-slinging Spidey to fight villains. The only enemy that isn’t as clear-cut? The fact that he’ll be tackling high school while he’s at it. While Peter Parker will be the main character of the story, it looks like critics have taken notice of a certain actress who is supposedly going to be playing alongside him.

Zendaya Coleman, 19-year-old actress and singer, is the source of many a rumor that has surrounded Spider-Man: Homecoming. Sources originally stated that she would be playing Michelle, a character that stands aside from the iconic places of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, Peter’s love interest. According to NBC News, however, Zendaya will actually be playing Mary Jane’s role. This comes as a surprise to many, as Mary Jane Watson has never been played by an African American woman on screen. Zendaya will be the first, and many are in an uproar about the decision.

Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man, is reportedly in full support of Zendaya taking up the role of Mary Jane. To be more specific, Lee is defending the decision by directors. In a report by Billboard, Stan Lee spoke to Toronto Sun and expressed his thoughts on Zendaya playing Peter Parker’s love interest.

Stan Lee had this to say when asked about the casting choices made by directors.

“If she is as good an actress as I hear she is, I think she’ll be absolutely wonderful,” Lee said to the Toronto Sun paper. “The color of their skin doesn’t matter, their religion doesn’t matter, all that matters is that this is the right person for the role.”

Lee continued, going as far as to discuss other characters who were traditionally Caucasian that were successfully played by an African American. He references the late actor Michael Clarke Duncan, who played Kingpin in the 2003 movie Daredevil.

“In the Daredevil movie, the Kingpin – who had been white in the comics – he was a black man playing the role, and he played it beautifully,” Lee said.

It certainly gives high hopes to fans who have love for Stan Lee and the decisions that he has stood behind. While Zendaya may not be what Mary Jane Watson has always been portrayed, Lee is confident that an actress’s skin color won’t determine the success of the overall film.

Alongside Stan Lee in support of Zendaya is director of Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn. Taking to Facebook, Gunn posted his thoughts about the African American Zendaya playing Spider-Man’s love interest.

“I do not believe a character is the color of his or her skin,” Gunn began. “Whatever the case, if we’re going to continue to make movies based on the almost all white heroes and supporting characters from the comics of the last century, we’re going to have to get used to them being more reflective of our diverse present world. Perhaps we can be open to the idea that, although someone may not initially match how we personally conceive a character, we can be – and often are – happily surprised.”

It certainly sounds like Zendaya’s performance will be under the microscope. With Stan Lee and others supporting her endeavors, however, it’s hard to believe that the actress won’t put her best foot forward for fans to enjoy.

Do you feel that Zendaya will fit the role of Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming film? How do you feel about an African American actress playing the role of Mary Jane? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Photo By Mike Windle/Getty Images]