When Mary Jane was cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, most assumed it was because the concrete plans for a third and fourth film meant there is no need to pack another character into film number two. But if Andrew Garfield has any say, the move may actually be due to the fact that Shailene Woodley is female, and this version of Spider-Man‘s saga calls for a more masculine MJ.
When talking to EW, Garfield brought up the fact that Spider-Man’s sexuality is something that could be open to interpretation and explored. He said he discussed the issue recently with producer Matt Tolmach.
Check out Garfield’s quote below.
“I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ… And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking!…So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”
Garfield even said he has an actor in mind: Michael B. Jordan. Check out his explanation for wanting Jordan below.
“I’ve been obsessed with Michael B. Jordan since The Wire. He’s so charismatic and talented. It’d be even better—we’d have interracial bisexuality!”
Undoubtedly, many fans will not give Garfield’s idea a warm reception, but that doesn’t mean the unwillingness for a change in Peter Parker’s sexual orientation is necessarily based in prejudice or homophobia. Changing a character’s sexuality changes a part of who they are. Peter Parker is one of the most romantically active superheroes due in large part to the fact he’s a teenager in many versions of his story. Because of this, he has more iconic girlfriends than most other comic heroes. Mary Jane is the ultimate superhero girlfriend, and Gwen Stacy is up there as well. There’s also Felicia Hardy/Black Cat who both Peter Parker and Spider-Man have had interest in. So the argument could lie in the fact that changing Spidey’s sexuality fundamentally changes his character.
It’s the same argument that comes up when colorblind casting is discussed. There was an outrage from many when Jordan was rumored to be in consideration for the Human Torch, not necessarily because those upset didn’t want a black man to play the role, but because they believed a core part of Johnny Storm’s character is the fact he’s an upper-class, white, suburban kid, and changing his race would alter that.
While I don’t think making the Torch black changes his character in any significant way, there are certain characters where color blind casting simply wouldn’t work. For example, the Black Panther is not going to be white, because his race is a core part of his character. With other characters such as the Kingpin or Electro, race really isn’t a significant factor at all, or sexuality for that matter.
So it really boils down to whether making Peter Parker gay would significantly alter the character all that much. I’m a huge, life-long fan of Spider-Man, but I’m not going to pretend to have the answer on that question. It would change the character, without a doubt, but would that change actually matter? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue, so head on down to the comments section and share whether you think Andrew Garfield is onto something with exploring Peter Parker’s sexuality.