Mary Jane Watson is Black



A few days ago we learned that Zendaya will play the role of Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot (we can talk about the reality of yet another Spider-Man franchise later. I still heart you, Toby Maguire). As with all things comic book based, well…

There’s an argument I’ve had with my oldest for a while now: Whether or not source material should be revered. As in: If a comic book renders a character one way, is it okay to change it? We’ve argued about whether Batman taking a life in the latest flick was okay (Batman famously does not kill), or whether Superman’s origin story can be tampered with. You get the idea. So now, Mary Jane, she of the long flowing locks of red hair is to be played by a black woman, and we’re back to the uproar when Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic 4 reboot (FTR: While Jordan was fantastic, the flick was decidedly not).

James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, has written:

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.


I’m an ordained minister, and a progressive one at that. Something I deal with often is biblical literalists. As Americans, we often hear about wanting Supreme Court Justices who are “strict constructionists.” In most areas of life, someone is telling us that there is no possibility for change, that things are the way they are, ad infinitum, forever and ever amen.

But while I grew up hearing that “ain’t is not a word,” everyone around me said it. While I grew up learning that gay folk were an abomination, I discovered otherwise. While we were being taught that “this is what America is,” the make up of America changed.

Everything alive changes. Only dead things don’t change.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

If you’re a religious nerd who’s into growth and change, you might like my book.

One thought on “Mary Jane Watson is Black

  1. Death does end the processes of change. Change continues in decomposition. Every inert material, over time, changes. If the change in the characteristics of Zendaya troubles the “purists” imagine the disorientation experienced by those who always imagined Jesus to be “white” when they see pictures of a black or brown Jesus.

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