A few days ago, we came across a report suggesting that Zendaya is playing Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming. A good portion of comic book fandom hasn't taken it lightly. They are infuriated about casting a black actress to portray a character who has always been depicted as a white female in the comics.
However, Stan Lee, who created Mary Jane around half a century ago, doesn't agree with such fans and he wouldn't mind seeing Zendaya as the character in Spider-Man: Homecoming. While speaking to Toronto Sun, he says:
If she is as good an actress as I hear she is, I think it'll be absolutely wonderful.
During the interview, the Marvel Comics legend points out that the late Michael Clarke Duncan, a black actor, portrayed the Kingpin "beautifully" in the 2003 flick Daredevil. The Kingpin has always been a white character in the comics. Lee adds:
The color of their skin doesn't matter, their religion doesn't matter. All that matters is that this the right person for the role.
Stan Lee isn't the first celebrity to defend the reported casting of Zendaya as Mary Jane. James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy and its upcoming sequel, endorsed the Spider-Man: Homecoming casting via a Facebook post, assuming that it is accurate.
In his lengthy post, the director said that if a character's primary attribute is their skin tone or hair color, that character is "shallow and sucks". He adds:
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.
Gunn urged the fans to 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".