Zendaya Explains Peter & MJ’s Role Reversal In Spider-Man: No Way Home

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Tom Holland, Zendaya, Spider-Man, Peter Parker, MJ

Spider-Man: No Way Home is finally here after over two years of waiting for a resolution to Far From Home. Last audiences saw Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Mysterio’s insurance policy had just been released to the world, and everyone learned the truth: “Spider-Man's name… is Peter Parker.” Little did the hero know how insane his life would get, and neither did fans.

It would have been impossible to see what was coming next. If someone told the world five years ago that they’d eventually be getting a movie where Tom Holland’s Spider-Man fights Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin kills Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May, and Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield enter the MCU through Doctor Strange’s portal, they’d probably have them committed.

Yet, it exists. It also brought with it one of the darkest conclusions to a live-action Spider-Man story yet. Peter tells Strange to cast the spell of forgetting to save the Multiverse, and in doing so, his entire universe forgets that a Peter Parker ever existed.

Of the many reasons why this is tragic, at the top is how it breaks apart Tom Holland’s hero and Zendaya’s MJ. Their relationship gets lots of attention in the new outing, with the story perfectly showing audiences how the two characters couldn’t be better for one another; each makes the other grow in unexpected ways.

Peter and Zendaya's Reversed Roles

Spider-Man Zendaya

In an interview with Marvel, Spider-Man: No Way Home stars Tom Holland and Zendaya discussed how their characters’ outlooks on life ended up reversing as the film went on.

Zendaya noted how “Peter helps MJ… break [her] shell,” and that he’s now one of the few in her life she feels she can trust and rely on, “and she doesn’t want to lose him:”

“Peter helps to melt MJ a little bit, and break the shell that she's had to build in order to protect herself from the world. She doesn't have many people she feels that she can trust and rely on, and Peter has now become one of those people. And she doesn't want to lose him.”

The actress commented that MJ is there to “pick up the pieces and keep reminding him who he is, and what he cares about.”

With Peter going through so much, she pointed out how he takes on “a more negative nihilistic outlook,” while her character is growing “more and more confident:”

“She doesn't want to lose this person that really has allowed her to feel more and more like herself, and more and more confident in who she is, and loves her exactly for all the quirks and things that make her who she is. Because he's going through so much, she now takes on his positivity that maybe he's losing a little bit. He takes on a more negative nihilistic outlook.”

The sad irony of it all is that despite how hard they may try to stay together, fate has different plans. Zendaya added how the two “don’t want to” say goodbye, but saving the Multiverse had to come first.

Zendaya and Tom Holland's Starcrossed Love

While Zendaya’s MJ isn’t the traditional one that fans know from the comics, she’s still a fantastic character, one which Spider-Man: No Way Home does incredible justice to.

Like the actor behind the character mentioned above, having MJ hold up Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, and actively making him a better person as he does the same, is a big part of why their relationship in the film worked so well; especially with how little time on screen the two had prior to this movie. 

The duo seems perfect for each other, which makes it hard to believe that the continued story will truly keep them apart for long. Marvel shouldn’t take away from the consequences No Way Home brings with it, but maybe two or three adventures down the line, MJ and Peter can have the reunion the starcrossed lovers deserve.

Until then, it seems like it could be an excellent time to bring Felicia Hardy, aka Black Cat, into the picture. Their relationship amounts to a fun and ill-influenced romp—a temporary one at that.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters worldwide.

- In This Article: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Release Date
December 17, 2021
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.