Marvel Producer Weighs In On Zendaya Racism Row

Published: Monday 22nd Aug 2016 by David


Zendaya‘s ties to Marvel’s ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ has been slammed by critics who learned that she is to play the project’s leading lady Mary-Jane Watson.

Why they’re against it?

Her race.

Details below…

Social media was inundated by racially-charged remarks blasting Marvel’s decision to place the actress in the role which was once delivered by Kirsten Dunst.

Many of these remarks are too objectionable to share.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, they didn’t go unnoticed by ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ director James Gunn.

He had this to say about the furore:

People get upset when something they consider intrinsic to a comic book character changes when adapted for a film. I get this. There are movies I dislike because I think there’s a basic misunderstanding of the story or the character when the comic is transferred to film (I still hate how in the first Batman movie the Joker was revealed as the murderer of Bruce Wayne’s parents, for instance.)

That said, I do not believe a character is the color of his or her skin. When Michael B Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm I didn’t understand the uproar. The primary characteristic of Johnny was not, to me, that he was white, or that he had blonde hair, but that he was a fiery, funny, big-mouthed braggart of a hero. I was happy that he was going to be played by one of the finest and most charming young actors out there.

Yesterday, a rumor broke out that the character of Mary Jane was being played by a young black woman, Zendaya, and all hell broke out on the Internet (again). I tweeted that if people find themselves complaining about Mary Jane’s ethnicity they have lives that are too good. (For those of you who think this means I’m confirming that Zendaya IS playing MJ, realize that although I’ve read the Spidey script, and I’ve met the actress in question, I have no idea what her role is. There’s a good chance someone told me at one time or another, but, if so, I can’t remember. I’m going to find out when I go into Marvel this afternoon, but I feel free to speak until that time because it’s about the concept about a black woman playing Mary Jane, not the actuality or hypothesis of it.)

I got a thousand or so responses to my tweet. Most of them were positive. Some folks disagreed – they thought the character should look like what she looks like in the comics – but were thoughtful. And a handful were flat out racist.

I can’t respond to the racists – I’m not ever going to change their minds. But for the thoughtful majority of you out there:

For me, if a character’s primary attribute – the thing that makes them iconic – is the color of their skin, or their hair color, frankly, that character is shallow and sucks. For me, what makes MJ MJ is her alpha female playfulness, and if the actress captures that, then she’ll work. And, for the record, I think Zendaya even matches what I think of as MJ’s primary physical characteristics – she’s a tall, thin model – much more so than actresses have in the past.

Whatever the case, if we’re going to continue to make movies based on the almost all white heroes and supporting characters from the comics of the last century, we’re going to have to get used to them being more reflective of our diverse present world. Perhaps we can be open to the idea that, although someone may not initially match how we personally conceive a character, we can be – and often are – happily surprised

‘Homecoming’ will also star the actor/rapper Childish Gambino, Robert Downey Jr, Michael Keaton, Maris Tomei and Bokeem Woodbine.

It hits theatres on July 7th 2017.


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  1. LB August 22, 2016

    Interesting considering Zendaya is racially ambiguous, like you have to squint to tell she is black.

    Anyway Zendaya is talented and insanely beautiful (I call her a goddess), who cares what a few haters say, it is 2016 and she’ll do a fantastic job.

    • Dev August 22, 2016

      These people are going on like that have been presented with KeKe Palmer or Gabourey Sidibe in a red lace front wig.
      Theses people also have no issue with the all white casts for bible films but make a issue of a girl whose colour is made up of colouring pencils and felt tip pens.

      • Danzou August 22, 2016

        @dev LB literally doesnt really care. Hes fake and only daten men zendayas color so as far as im concerned hes part of this problem. the same reason theyre upset is the same reason LB likes only light men. Im so sick of his fakeness.

  2. well well August 22, 2016

    being racially unbiased i got no problem with that. i dunno what they used as visual reference for the cast tho. neither do i know what zendaya could look like with correct tinted hair. whatever correct tinted means. google is a dummy for this right now. when it comes to correct unpopular and unbiased results. sheet.

    what i know is, people that watched the other movies and complain cause they did and liked the other mjs should still not start to complain about this particular choice for the next gen.

  3. #TeamTinashe Stan August 22, 2016

    Fact of the matter is, Hollywood is notoriously known for hiring “black female” actresses that look close to a white woman to play a role (Ex: Zendaya) just to be safe.

    It’s never a brown or dark skinned girl that is the one to “drool” for for the lead male character.

    The X-Men “Storm” character is another good example as they have YET to hire a brown or dark skinned girl to play Storm when she is in fact a dark skinned woman.

    • Alexia Alsina August 22, 2016

      Thank you!!! Thank you!!!!!

  4. Suicide Blonde August 22, 2016

    I don’t see the problem with her playing this character, it’s fiction. That being said, when the character is based on history, like mythology, attached to a certain ethnic group or culture, even if it is legendary instead of reality, one must respect the ethnicity of such characters. I remember there was an uproar here in Scandinavia when it was announced that Idris Elba (a black man) was going to play the character of Heimdall, based on the Norse God Heimdallr, which is described as the whitest of the gods. I mean it was just wrong but then again, I was a little happy that Hollywood did that, they are often accused of whitewash everything and this is the opposite ?

  5. SMH August 22, 2016

    Not surprised. White people are ignorant racists by nature, yet will be the first to deny racism exists and accuse everyone else of being racist.

    Now watch how many dislikes and denials this comment gets….

    • Dem Lessers August 23, 2016

      This is a predominantly black blog so we agree lol!

  6. Fancy BISH August 22, 2016

    “And, for the record, I think Zendaya even matches what I think of as MJ’s primary physical characteristics – she’s a tall, thin model – much more so than actresses have in the past.” – James Gunn
    The shade HATH been THROWN! lol

    • LmfaoHoe August 22, 2016

      Girl i caught that s*** too.

  7. Ciah’s Turtle August 22, 2016

    They need to leave her tf alone. Let this child prosper, damn

  8. Danzou August 22, 2016

    lol WHAT DO YALL EXPECT FROM WHITE PEOPLE? Does this honestly surprise anyone? remember when they petitioned idris for being black james bond? racism is far from over its just turnedinto a mental thing.

  9. Sasha Fierce Representative August 22, 2016

    White people get upset over everything! Yet they make bible movies with a White Moses and Jesus.

    Zendaya has beauty and her melanin is on fleek!

    FAWK what a white person has to say. Their opinion means nothing to me.

  10. FC/JC August 22, 2016

    Zendaya is used to this response, Now imma need for her not to pull out like she did the Aaliyah role, And SLAY this shitt!

    • Danzou August 22, 2016

      she was simply too light for that role and colorism played a part in that too. aaliyah was brown skin at her lightest so why was zendaya cast? Because a dark girl cant be a leading lady? And to be honest that movie ws trash and she dodged a bullet because it would be attached to her name. Movie was horrible.

  11. IloveD August 22, 2016

    She’s not even MJ. It was stated her role starts off smal them develops into big

  12. Nowd Reddish tran ivy blobukz Need UK timely Ukuno eremixi August 22, 2016

    She’ll do a great job

  13. xedos August 23, 2016

    people wonder why Trump win the republican nominations. lots of racist out their

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