[Spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming]
Spider-Man: Homecoming has been in theaters for less than 24 hours, but Marvel is already looking ahead to July 5, 2019, when Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 comes out. One character who will presumably have a larger role in the sequel is Peter Parker’s classmate, Michelle, played by Zendaya.
She doesn’t have much to do in Homecoming, other than flip Peter off and make sarcastic comments. But after Michelle becomes the president of the school debate team, she — here’s the spoiler part, if you’re still reading but haven’t seen the movie yet — reveals that “people call me MJ.” Even the most casual Spider-Man fan knows who MJ is, but is Zendaya playing that MJ?
No. But also, yes?
“My character is 100 percent Michelle,” Zendaya said about her “spirit animal” at the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards. “That’s her name. I promise you I’m not lying.” It’s true, she’s not, but, “The only thing Homecoming tweaked was the first name on her birth certificate.” With how often MJ is seen hanging around Peter, including at his lunch table with Ned, it’s clear that Homecoming positioned her to become his future love interest, especially since Liz moved to Oregon after her dad tried to kill her superhero prom date. Been there.