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Two is Just Too Many Women for Spiderman to Deal With

by Melissa Silverstein
June 19, 2013 3:01 PM
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Gwen and MJ meeting in a now cut scene from Spiderman 2

I noticed on twitter some chatter earlier today about the fact that Shailene Woodley who is about to cover EW with her new film Divergent (which looks like it could be a real successor to The Hunger Games) will no longer be a part of the second Amazing Spiderman movie playing MJ Watson.  

Earlier, during filming, Woodley's photos were released, and she is rising star and so it seemed that her character would be central to the plot.  It is also worth noting that Sony is investing heavily in the Spiderman franchise (as if we didn't already know that) by setting the release dates for The Amazing Spiderman 3 and 4 for 2016 and 2018.

But back to the 2014 film... We don't know exactly why AN ENTIRE ROLE WAS CUT from the film but one colleague speculated that the movie was overcrowded and couldn't handle another character.  Well sure, the film is overcrowded with male villains, as my colleague Scott Mendelson said on twitter.  These are the villains slated for the Amazing Spiderman 2: Vulture, Green Goblin, Rhino, Electro.

So the idea we get here is that there can be numerous male villains and other male parts but there really can only be one female character of substance allowed onscreen.  God forbid we should take any of the attention away from all the male bonding and fighting going on with our girly words and needs.

So many things piss me off about this, but most especially, how easy it is just delete a whole female character from the film and move her to another film.  That just confirms that characters written for women are not integral in the plot and if you cut them, it just won't matter.  

I want female characters that matter and that if they are cut it is a problem because then things won't make sense and you can't get away with it.  

The irony for me is just recently how Amy Pascal -- whose studio produces and releases the Spiderman films -- talked about the importance of having female characters who are integral to the plot.  Here's a reminder of what she said:

The most important thing in the job that we do here is to make movies about women where they are characters that have consequences in the story.  They can be villains, they can be protagonists, I don't care but their movements, their actions what they do in the plot has to actually matter.  And that's the most important thing because young girls coming up are going to see that they matter that your not an appendage to someone else- that you're not married to the person, not their sister or friend or girlfriend, you actually are the plot.

Sounds like she needs to practice what she preaches.  

The Amazing-Spider Man 2 Cuts Mary Jane Watson And Promises Heartbreak (CinemaBlend) 

Shailene Woodley's Mary Jane Has Been Cut From 'Amazing Spider-Man 2,' Won't Appear Until Third Movie (The Playlist)

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More: Emma Stone, Shailene Woodley, Amy Pascal

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  • Jason | June 20, 2013 8:49 PMReply

    Apparently math skills aren't required when blogging complete BS. Spider-Man is going to feature Emma Stone and Felicia Jones. Last I looked that's TWO WOMEN. It seems that knowledge of Spider-Man is also unnecessary when writing because Mary Jane isn't remotely relevant to "The Death Of Gwen Stacy" storyline. Mary Jane wasn't even in the original fucking story because the story is about GWEN STACY, NOT MARY JANE.

    Personally, I couldn't be happier. I prefer a woman play the part of Mary Jane as opposed to Woodley and her five O'clock shadow. Mary Jane was a model, a night club dancer, an actress. When one thinks of Mary Jane they should be thinking a young Julianne Moore or a young Christina Hendricks. Someone that actually has sex "appeal" rather than someone "A Sexual". One shouldn't have to spend a few minutes wondering if MJ is a dude or a transgender.

    I know this is hard for MJ/Peter "shippers" to understand because of their tunnel vision regarding MJ but there was an actual period in Peter's life when the love of his life was someone NOT MJ. However, just because you have to wait for MJ to appear in a story about a period in Spider-Man's life when MJ WASN'T IN IT, doesn't mean you'll never get to see her. I'm sure she'll be all over the third film. Besides, I'd rather see Spider-Man's entire rogues gallery make it to film before MJ does. And yes, I'm including the Kangaroo and the Gibbon (for which Woodley might be confused).

  • Star | June 19, 2013 11:54 PMReply

    "So many things piss me off about this, but most especially, how easy it is just delete a whole female character from the film and move her to another film. That just confirms that characters written for women are not integral in the plot and if you cut them, it just won't matter."

    You know not of what you speak. Woodley's participation in this sequel was little more than a cameo to set up her more central role in the third movie. You would've known that if you had bothered to research the situation (of course, that would've spoiled your fun of getting all indignant). Sadly, this is just another case of you seeing what you wish to see - reality be damned.

  • ska-triumph | June 19, 2013 4:26 PMReply

    It's truly ridiculous. So much so, coming up right after the sequel announcements, it had to be reported up front ASAP. This franchise had one messy rushed start and it looks like the economically-burdened desperation to keep Spidey going will keep it so. How do you not lock Woodley in? If JLaw and KStew could do two branded action franchises, surely she can.

    And as for GWEN being the only female lead, fighting for quality Spidey time versus FOUR villains, this is par for the course with Sony. The first film couldn't help but have GWEN everpresent in PETER's adventure - the captain's daughter, the whip-smart girl at school, the intern of the mentor-enemy - so who knows what narrative burdens she'll carry in displacement of a real character. Lucky Stone's casting gave the role depth.

    As for Woodley: their loss.

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