What Is Marvel Studios’ Long-Term Plan for Zendaya’s Michelle Jones in the MCU?

With Spider-Man seemingly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the foreseeable future — as negotiations to prolong the current contract feel inevitable — what’s the plan for Zendaya’s Michelle Jones in the MCU? Paying homage to Mary Jane — via the initials and the Spidey romance — the character defies the damsel in distress that Kirsten Dunst typified, and brings a needed degree of originality to the web-slinger’s story; she’s a breath of fresh air following Sony’s former iterations. 

Zendaya Michelle Jones
Zendaya of Marvel Studios’ ‘Spider-Man’ | Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Through Michelle Jones, the Marvel Cinematic Universe found a way to provide a secondary plotline in the Spider-Man arc that feels familiar, yet not mimetic. However, how will Michelle Jones grow? Will she remain within the confines of Spider-Man’s web? Will she be replaced? Let’s dive into the various options based on information currently available. 

1. The Real Mary Jane Watson replaces Michelle Jones, and Zendaya bids Spider-Man (and the MCU) farewell

While this option may seem the least plausible given the beloved fan response to Zendaya’s Michelle Jones, Mary Jane Watson is allegedly coming to the MCU. And, if Mary Jane Watson appears, it goes without saying that the writers would be foolish to dodge the character’s well-known trajectory.

You do not bring a character into the landscape — with such a defined history — merely to override the source material. If that was the case, why use a name that carries so much weight?

Mary Jane Watson will likely cause a split in Jones’ and Parker’s relationship. And, Mary Jane may become Spider-Man’s love interest in the MCU, leaving Michelle Jones behind, lacking a continued purpose to the overall narrative. 

Michelle Jones could wind up out of the picture, prepping Tom Holland’s Spidey for a future with Mary Jane, and setting up a narrative that concludes with one of Marvel’s most famous romances: the one between Watson and Parker. 

2. Michelle Jones could receive her own MCU franchise: Spider-Woman? 

What if the MCU is introducing Mary Jane Watson, not because the writers have bigger plans for Spidey, but because they have bigger plans for Michelle Jones?

Jones has proved herself to be quite the detective in the Spider-Man franchise. She knew Mysterio was a fraud, and she was also able to discover Parker’s secret superhero identity via his “coincidental” disappearances in times of crisis. Thus, could they be turning her into a superhero?

Could Michelle Jones become Spider-Woman or a different Young Avenger (to appear in a New Avengers mash-up franchise when it finally hits silver screens)? Could Mary Jane separate Parker and Jones, leaving Jones to discover the extent of her talents? All she needs is a suit and a little bit of combat training, and we could have the next superhero sleuth on our hands. Michelle Jones is a strong character with the character foundation necessary to develop a standalone franchise. All she needs: a reason to bid Spider-Man farewell — a reason to jump from his web of characters into her own. 

All remains to be seen, but if the MCU wishes to satisfy fans, the writers involved will find a way to give fans the desired Mary Jane arc without minimizing Michelle Jones’ value or removing her future potential.