‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Taught Zendaya She Doesn’t Want to Play a Superhero — ‘I Don’t Think I Want That’

Zendaya a superhero? Don’t expect to see her in a cape saving the world from destruction on the big screen. The 25-year-old, who stars in Spider-Man: No Way Home alongside her boyfriend Tom Holland, has made it clear she doesn’t want to play a superhero.

Zendaya is MJ to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Zendaya poses on the red carpet wearing a brown and black gown at the premiere of 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'
Zendaya | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The actor plays Peter Parker’s love interest in the latest round of live-action Spider-Man movies. Per her IMDb credits, the former Disney star has portrayed Michelle Jones, or MJ, not to be confused with Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane “MJ” Watson, since 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming

Zendaya reprised the role in 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home but her journey to landing the part of MJ was a peculiar one. The Euphoria star didn’t even know she was auditioning for the role of MJ

As she told GQ in January 2021, she initially auditioned thinking she was trying out for an undisclosed part in a Spider-Man movie. It wasn’t until her final audition when she learned she’d actually been trying out for the more substantial role of MJ.  

Now she’s been playing MJ for nearly five years. And, like the previous actors to play MJ and Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Zendaya and Holland were warned by producers not to fall for each other.  

Zendaya says being a superhero isn’t ‘all that it’s cracked up to be’

Zendaya learned something while filming Spider-Man: No Way Home. As she told Variety in December 2021 while promoting the film alongside her co-stars Holland and Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds), she doesn’t want to play a superhero. 

“No, thank you,” she told the publication. “If there’s anything I’ve learned from that, it’s I don’t think I want that.” 

“Being a superhero is not all that it’s cracked up to be,” she explained. “Especially when you have supervillains from other universes.” 

However, Holland feels differently. He’s of the opinion she’d make a great superhero, telling Variety, “I think you would wear it well, though.” 

The MJ actor previously said she doesn’t mind not playing Spider-Woman

Zendaya’s not losing any sleep because she might’ve been overlooked for the role of Spider-Woman. During a guest spot on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with fellow cast members Holland, Batalon, and Benedict Cumberbatch, kids asked the actors questions about the latest film. 

At one point, a boy asked Zendaya, “Are you mad you’re not Spider-Woman?” likely referring to Issa Rae being cast as Spider-Woman in the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel. 

She replied with a short and sweet answer, telling the child, “You know, I can’t say that I’m mad. If there’s anything that I’ve learned it’s that, you know, superheroing isn’t always that easy. So I’m good.”

So, chances are, fans won’t see Zendaya outfitted in a sleek suit, mask, or cape with special powers in the near future. She’s more than OK being the sarcastic, smart MJ, the high school student and love interest of Peter Parker’s who happens to go to school with the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

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