Will the MCU Follow the Traditional Spider-Man & Mary Jane Romance in ‘Spider-Man 3?’

Spider-Man and Michelle Jones, in recent standalone Spidey installments, have served as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Peter Parker and MJ…with a twist. Jones is a bit more independent, less of a damsel in distress, and is quite skilled at deducing the truth. Many fans presumed that the shared initials with Mary Jane were the MCU’s way of paying homage to the original love interest without replicating her identity or introducing the traditional Mary Jane. However, recent news suggests that Mary Jane Watson may be coming to the MCU in Spider-Man 3. If she arrives, how will her character be put to use? What will Mary Jane’s narrative journey entail? 

Spider-Man and Mary Jane
Spiderman and Mary Jane in a scene from the film ‘Spiderman’, 2002 | Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

According to We Got This Covered – who released a report a few weeks back — insider sources claim that Marvel Studios is planning to bring Mary Jane into its landscape. The sources — the same ones who knew Marvel was eyeing Daniel Radcliffe for Moon Knight and that a She-Hulk show was in the works pre-announcement — spilled the Mary Jane news. 

The source claimed that the current script features a “traditional” Mary Jane, who arrives as a love interest for Spidey. However, given the MCU’s tendency to break molds, and distance itself from the Sony Spider-Verse (think Uncle Ben’s absence), will this be the character’s full story? Let’s explore both options — the traditional narrative and a refreshed one. 

If Mary Jane joins the MCU and retains her traditional narrative in ‘Spider-Man 3’…

If Marvel Studios plans to introduce Mary Jane as a love interest for Parker, fans can expect a love triangle to develop — between Jones, Jane, and Parker. If the writers want to flesh out the traditional narrative, Parker will wind up choosing Mary Jane, leaving Michelle Jones to venture off on her own, which could work in Marvel’s favor for a standalone installment. How?

Given Jones’ personality and knack for detection, one can argue that Marvel has been grooming Michelle Jones for Spider-Woman, and breaking up with Peter may be the push she needs to become the hero she has the capacity to be.

Spider-Man 3 would then lay the foundation for another young hero, who could become one of the many Young Avengers, fighting by Peter’s side as a friend and confidante after the romantic tension settles. However, what happens if Peter doesn’t choose Jane. How can the traditional Mary Jane and Parker narrative take a turn? 

If Mary Jane joins the MCU with a different purpose (beyond that of a love interest)…

If Spider-Man 3 introduces Mary Jane, it’s likely that the character will stick around. Would the writers bring a name — with such an iconic legacy — into one movie, merely to throw a wrench in Parker and Jones’ love story for a brief moment…then disappear? This feels weak. But, if Mary Jane does not wind up with Peter, what is her purpose to the overarching narrative? 

Mary Jane does become Spider-Woman as well, in certain comic book iterations, but this would feel rushed. In What If…? she is a widow (as Spider-Man has died) but this seems unlikely to occur in the near future. 

What if the MCU chooses to use Mary Jane to seduce Parker, but turns her into a villain, manipulating Parker via his emotions? What if Michelle Jones has to step in to save Parker, catalyzing her transition to Spider-Woman? Would fans be able to handle a villainous Mary Jane, or is this blasphemous — so noncanonical it’s unacceptable?