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|Mary Jane Watson|
|First appearance||(partial) The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965)|
(full) The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966)
|Created by||Stan Lee|
John Romita, Sr.
|Full name||Mary Jane Watson|
|Supporting character of||Spider-Man|
|Notable aliases||Mary Jane Watson-Parker|
|This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (April 2008)|
|Mary Jane Watson|
|First appearance||(partial) The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965)|
(full) The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966)
|Created by||Stan Lee|
John Romita, Sr.
|Full name||Mary Jane Watson|
|Supporting character of||Spider-Man|
|Notable aliases||Mary Jane Watson-Parker|
Mary Jane Watson, often shortened to MJ, is a fictional supporting character appearing originally in Marvel comic books and later in multiple spin-offs and dramatizations of the Spider-Man titles as the best friend, love interest, and one-time wife (as Mary Jane Watson-Parker) of Peter Parker, the alter ego of Spider-Man. This was after the tragic death of Gwen Stacy, and initially upon her introduction, she had a friendly rivalry with Gwen for Peter's affections.
In the 2002–2007 Spider-Man film trilogy, Mary Jane was played by actress Kirsten Dunst as Spider-Man's main love interest. Shailene Woodley was scheduled to play the role of Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but her part was cut from the film.
|This section requires expansion. (July 2013)|
Created by Stan Lee, John Romita, Sr., and Steve Ditko, after a few partial appearances and references by co-plotter and artist Steve Ditko and co-plotter Stan Lee in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), her first full appearance was in The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966) by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr.
|This article or section may be slanted towards recent events. (April 2012)|
Mary Jane is depicted as an extremely beautiful, green-eyed redhead, and has been the primary romantic interest of Peter Parker for the last twenty years, although initially competing with others for his affection, most prominently with Gwen Stacy and the Black Cat. Mary Jane's relatively unknown early life was eventually explored in The Amazing Spider-Man #259.
Early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man featured a running joke about Peter dodging his Aunt May's attempts to set him up with "that nice Watson girl next door", whom Peter had not yet met and assumed would not be his type, since his aunt liked her (in the Parallel Lives graphic novel an identical scenario is shown between Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna). Mary Jane made her first actual appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965); however, in that issue, her face was obscured. It is not until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966) that her face is actually seen. In that issue, on the last page, Peter finally meets her, and he is stunned by her beauty even as she speaks the now-famous line: "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!"
Peter begins to date her, much to the annoyance of Gwen Stacy.[volume & issue needed] However, her apparent superficiality proves to be an irritation to Peter that her rival did not share and Peter subsequently chooses to date Gwen. Mary Jane, who becomes Harry Osborn's love interest and girlfriend, remains a close friend to Peter and Gwen.
Despite her enjoyment of life, her friendships, and dating, Mary Jane refuses to be tied down for too long. When her relationship with Harry Osborn comes to an end,[volume & issue needed] it has significant impact on Harry, driving him to a drug overdose.[volume & issue needed] This in turn creates a boomerang effect, driving his father Norman Osborn to the brink of insanity, temporarily restoring his memories as the Green Goblin.[volume & issue needed] Mary Jane only realizes the true consequences of her lifestyle when she learns of Harry's predicament and after Gwen Stacy's death.[volume & issue needed]
When the Green Goblin murders Gwen,[volume & issue needed] Mary Jane attempts to comfort Peter. Initially, Peter, who is distraught over the loss of Gwen Stacy, angrily confronts MJ about her seemingly flighty and carefree attitude. He questions her ability to ever care about people like him and Gwen, and states "You wouldn't be sorry if your own mother died" unaware that her mother had actually passed away. Mary Jane is hurt by Peter's comments. She attempts to leave, but hesitates as she approaches the door, and ultimately chooses to stay with him. This served as a turning point in their relationship, and over the next couple of years, she and Peter become very close friends. Eventually, upon realizing the feelings that they share for one another, they decide to take their relationship to the next level. Their relationship has a few initial hurdles, such as MJ's hot temper and Peter's always dashing off to be Spider-Man.
However, despite loving Peter, MJ does not wish to be tied down, and when she allows the relationship to progress too far, she is left with a difficult decision when Peter proposes to her. After taking a short time to consider, she turns him down. Following a series of traumatic experiences involving Peter's absences and his costumed alter ego endangering his Aunt May, a spiritually exhausted MJ leaves New York for several months. Peter meanwhile dates other women, most notably Felicia Hardy.[volume & issue needed]
MJ eventually returns, her behavior showing a marked change with her abandonment of her false front. Following an attack on Peter by Puma, she breaks down and admits her knowledge of Peter's secret identity in The Amazing Spider-Man #257. After learning of her own family history in The Amazing Spider-Man #259, Peter finds a new respect for her and begins to truly understand her. MJ however, makes it clear to Peter that knowing his identity changes nothing about her feelings, and that she only loves him as a friend.[volume & issue needed]
Despite the one-shot graphic novel "Parallel Lives" and Untold Tales of Spider-Man #16 revealing that Mary Jane discovered Peter's secret when she noticed Spider-Man climbing out of Peter's bedroom window, many comics published before this revelation claimed that she had simply "figured it out", with the details of how and when left ambiguous to the reader.[volume & issue needed]
After yet another period of reconsidering his priorities in life, Peter contemplates letting go of the Spider-Man mantle, with Mary Jane backing the decision, but his relationship with Felicia Hardy soon resumes. Feeling lost and guilty, Peter visits Mary Jane and apologizes with an awkward kiss before heading to Berlin with Ned Leeds.[volume & issue needed]
Following Ned Leeds' murder at the hands of the Foreigner, a changed and bitter Peter returns to New York, where his lack of direction in life is not helped when Ned is framed as the Hobgoblin, and Felicia elects to leave Peter behind as she is tied to the Foreigner. Mary Jane returns to Peter, presumably to patch things up, but Peter surprises her with a second proposal of marriage, which MJ again turns down. She returns to her family to settle old debts with her father, with Peter following her. After aiding her sister in having her crooked father arrested, and aiding Peter against a Spider-Slayer, Mary Jane has an epiphany on marriage, and agrees to become Peter's wife.[volume & issue needed]
In spite of Peter and Mary Jane's mutual worry that they were marrying too early, Peter's concern for her safety, and her unwillingness to give up her "party girl" lifestyle, they married. She attached Peter's surname to her own, making her Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Spider-Man wore his black costume around this time, but after Mary Jane was frightened by a stalking Venom, she convinced him to change back to his old costume.
Mary Jane continued to model after her marriage, but was stalked by her wealthy landlord, Jonathan Caesar. When she rejected his advances, he kidnapped her and held her prisoner, but she managed to escape. While Caesar was briefly incarcerated, he used his powerful business connections within the city and had her blacklisted as a model. She got a role on the soap opera "Secret Hospital", but was unhappy with her character's air-headed and mean personality. On top of that, Caesar, who had been released from prison and was still obsessed with Mary Jane, plotted to kidnap her again—this time intending to whisk her away to a private island he owned in the Caribbean. After luring Mary Jane to an abandoned studio and threatening to kill her, Caesar was confronted by Officer Goldman, a policeman assigned to Mary Jane's original case against him. Goldman then shot Caesar dead, saving Mary Jane's life. Although she successfully petitioned her boss to adjust her character's personality, a deranged fan tried to kill Mary Jane out of hatred for the actions of her soap opera character. Mary Jane quit her job out of fear for her own safety and returned to modeling. This, alongside with Peter's role as Spider-Man, triggered a growing divide and she briefly flirted with an actor called Jason Jermome, which almost tempted her into a secret affair after he kissed her twice; but she eventually rejected his advances.[volume & issue needed]
Due to this stress, the recent death of Harry Osborn, and the seeming return of her husband's parents, Mary Jane began smoking (a habit she had quit in high school), only increasing the tension between her and Peter. Peter ultimately convinced her to stop smoking when he tricked her into visiting Nick Katzenberg suffering heavily from lung cancer (he presumably died; Peter encountered his ghost in an out-of-body experience). When his parents were discovered to be fakes, Peter was unable to cope with the knowledge and disappeared for a time. Mary Jane visited her sister Gayle and her father for the first time in years, and finally reconciled with them. Meanwhile, Peter overcame his problems on his own. When she and Peter reunited, both were happier than they had been in a long time.[volume & issue needed]
During the 1994–96 "Clone Saga" storyline, shortly afterward, Peter's clone, Ben Reilly, appeared. Mary Jane discovered that she was pregnant. While she experienced some complications in her pregnancy, Reilly's scientist friend Seward Trainer helped her. Peter and Ben were told by Trainer that Ben was the real Peter Parker, and Peter was the clone (which later proved to be a lie). After conducting the tests themselves (tests which Seward rigged) they confirmed Seward's story. A disbelieving Peter, while arguing with Ben, accidentally struck Mary Jane. After this, he decided to quit as Spider-Man, because the stress of his double life was endangering his wife and unborn child. Peter, acting on hypnotic suggestion by the Jackal, attempted to kill Mary Jane, but was prevented by Ben Reilly (as the Scarlet Spider), his teammates the New Warriors, and Kaine. Later, Peter and Mary Jane left New York and moved to Portland, Oregon. While there, he lost his powers in a lab accident. They lived there peacefully for several months, adapting happily to normal life. However, they missed New York City and their friends, and moved back. Peter became unexpectedly ill and nearly died, but instead regained his powers. During the Onslaught crisis, Mary Jane was scanned by a Sentinel robot, who detected genetic abnormalities in her fetus.[volume & issue needed]
Soon afterward, when Mary Jane's baby was already past due, she was poisoned by Alison Mongrain, an agent of the Green Goblin. Mary Jane's baby was stillborn. The baby has not been seen since in the normal Earth-616 continuity, but appears in stories set in the alternate-timeline MC2 universe. In this timeline, Mary Jane and Peter Parker are reunited with their child, a daughter they name May (though she is often referred to as "Mayday"). Peter would later lose a leg in a fateful final battle with Norman Osborn, and thus retire as Spider-Man. The couple would go on to have another child, a son called Benjamin Richard Parker, many years later in this continuity, whilst Mayday became the superhero Spider-Girl.[volume & issue needed]
In the 616 timeline, the couple managed to survive the more tragic turn of events and Mary Jane managed to return to college to major in psychology, but the stress of the ongoing manipulations of Norman Osborn took their toll. After the Gathering of Five incident and the return of Aunt May, Mary Jane begged Peter to quit being Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed]
He was happy to do so for several months, but soon felt the tug of his great power and great responsibility to be a hero. Meanwhile, Mary Jane was offered a new modeling contract and reached new heights of success. Peter became Spider-Man again behind Mary Jane's back, which put strain on their marriage yet again. At the same time, she began receiving lewd and threatening phone calls from an anonymous stalker. Mary Jane was flying across America when her airplane exploded in midair in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #13 (January 2000). Peter was shocked and went into deep denial over her death. Although he was set up with several other women, and his friends encouraged him to move on, he believed she was still alive. He was proven right when her mysterious stalker, an unnamed, telepathic mutant, made himself known. This stalker had telepathically connected to Peter in some way, and wanted to take over his life. He kidnapped Mary Jane as part of his plan and held her hostage for several months. The stalker, however, killed himself after finally gleaning enough of Peter's personality and morality to discover that he had done terrible things. Peter and Mary Jane were reunited in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #29 (June 2001).
However, the stress of her captivity drove Mary Jane away. She moved to Los Angeles and immersed herself in acting — starring as the doomed love interest in the film Lobster-Man. Although missing Peter after he failed to meet her on a visit back to New York, she refused to talk to him; it took Aunt May to get Peter to visit her in Los Angeles in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #43 (September 2002), however the two remained separated. Peter's encounter with the supernatural Spider-Wasp Shathra eventually lead to the two of them flying to New York and Los Angeles to see each other and reconcile, and despite missing each other at their respective homes, by a fortunate stroke of events they met in an airport in Denver, Colorado where they reconciled after a brief encounter with Doctor Doom and Latverian terrorists in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #50 (April 2003).
During the events of the 2006 – 2007 "Civil War" storyline, when Peter and Mary Jane's apartment and Aunt May's house are burned down by Charlie Weiderman, and Spider-Man joins the New Avengers, Mary Jane and Aunt May accompany him to live in Stark Tower. Mary Jane immediately feels at home with the New Avengers and is happy to finally be a part of Spider-Man's world.[volume & issue needed]
With a bit of strain at first, a jealous Peter swore to himself that he would find a new home for his family, but when his initial jealousy subsided, the Civil War events forced him to stage a secret transfer of Mary Jane out of Stark Mansion, feeling that with the loss of his secret identity and his doubts about Tony Stark's ideas, Mary Jane had become a hostage in a luxurious house. Now residing in a cheap motel, her whole life had been affected, from her increasing difficulties in finding a new job as an actress to her being an easy target and prey, along with Aunt May, for the superpowered foes of Spider-Man.
As the superhuman civil war reached its conclusion, Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May were targeted by an assassin working for Spider-Man's old foe, the Kingpin. The assassin's primary target was Peter, with MJ and May designated as secondary objectives. When Peter returned to the Parker family's motel hideout and stood in front of a window, the assassin took aim at Peter and fired, but Peter sensed the bullet using his spider sense, and dodged it—thus hitting Aunt May.[volume & issue needed]
In the 2007 "Back in Black" storyline, Peter and MJ scramble to save Aunt May's life, rushing her from hospital to hospital while trying to maintain their fragile cover of anonymity. In trying to keep May alive and hidden from Spider-Man's enemies, they truly became fugitives on the run.[volume & issue needed]
She was later arrested by a former acquaintance, now an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and refused to surrender Peter to the authorities. (Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1). Fortunately, she was immediately rescued by her spouse, after she signaled him using the Spider Tracer she always carried with her.[volume & issue needed]
During the 2007 "One More Day" storyline, Peter is forced to decide whether he will accept Mephisto's offer to save Aunt May in return for wiping the knowledge and memory of Peter and MJ's life together as husband and wife from the face of reality, which would leave only a single, subconscious piece of their souls to remember, allowing Mephisto to feast on the pain exhibited by those vestiges for eternity.[volume & issue needed]
MJ accepts Mephisto's offer, but only with the caveat that Mephisto promises to restore Spider-Man's secret identity which he agreed to do without question. She also asks to put his life back as it was and have a chance at happiness. Mephisto accepts these terms, and in the revised timeline, which began at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #545, and was further explained in the following issues, MJ and Peter were never married (although they nearly did), but instead "dated seriously for years".[volume & issue needed]
According to interviews conducted with then-Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, every story prior to this story remains canon (this would later be contradicted as the events of later stories imply MJ never fell pregnant). Quesada also stated that a gap of undefined duration occurred between pages in "One More Day", during which the couple separated. By the end of that period, MJ has moved to California to become an actress, but continues to visit New York from time to time. In the epilogue to "One More Day", she attends a "coming home" party held by Harry Osborn during one such visit, with Peter catching a small glimpse of her before she left.
At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #560, as part of the "Brand New Day" storyline, Mary Jane makes her return as the girlfriend of actor Bobby Carr, having earlier in the issue been referred to as Carr's "mystery girl." In The Amazing Spider-Man #561, Mary Jane is seen getting into bed with Carr, and is later attacked by Paperdoll. Concealing herself in the panic room, Mary Jane observes a battle between Spider-Man and Paperdoll, and communicates with Spider-Man over the intercom. Mary Jane says that she and Spider-Man made a great team "in another life" and longingly touches a monitor screen showing his face, hinting that she still had strong feelings and misses him.
Peter does not learn that Mary Jane is the girlfriend of Carr nor that she was the voice on the intercom. Mary Jane is seen at the conclusion of the issue contemplating a phone call to Peter, but is hesitant to do so. She is asked for an autograph by Sara Ehret, an associate of Jackpot. Mary Jane tells her she does not know when she will return to New York. She left a message on Peter's machine but it was cut off before she could say anything.
Mary Jane had been living on the West Coast pursuing her acting career and still seeing Bobby Carr. MJ returned to New York after Carr was found to be taking Mutant Growth Hormone for a movie role, supplied by the White Rabbit. Carr complained that now she would tell them all about his drug use. His shallowness made MJ walk away from him and take a TV job, which took her back to New York.[volume & issue needed]
Mary Jane appears on the last page of issue #600 at May Reilly Parker's and John Jonah Jameson's wedding. May tosses the flowers to the sea of screaming female wedding guests when MJ, arriving late to the wedding, catches them and asks what she missed, which implies that she will be soon married "again". The following issue begins a story titled "Red-Headed Stranger."
In the following issue it is revealed that both Mary Jane and Peter agreed to meet with each other the following day. However a drunk Peter does not remember when or where and is further delayed due to his activities as Spider-Man. M.J. as it turns out was also drunk (while waiting for Peter to muster his courage in order to talk to her) and while she recalls their meeting she has sadly overslept it. As she turns on the TV, wondering how Peter spent his night, she sees Spider-Man rescuing people and she comments: "Guess you did nice work, Tiger" hinting that she is aware of Peter's dual identity which is confirmed later; issue 605 flashbacks to Mary Jane recalling a fight with Peter while he was dressed as Spider-Man, where she was so angry that she stated that she did not care where he was and that he had a responsibility to their relationship. Peter begins to explain about his Uncle Ben, but Mary Jane interrupts him to say that he cannot let a single moment define his life.[volume & issue needed]
In the 2010 "One Moment in Time" storyline, it is revealed that Mary Jane whispered to Mephisto that Peter would not agree to the deal unless Mary Jane tells him to make it, and that Mephisto will leave Peter alone forever once the deal is done. Mephisto replies "Agreed, as far as I'm concerned—this never happened." In present time MJ shows up at Peter's door. They talk about how they have been acting towards each other lately and both agree they want to be friends with each other. Then they start to reminisce about what happened on what was supposed to be their wedding day. On the wedding morning, MJ shows up but Peter does not as he is lying unconscious in an alleyway due to his activities as Spider-Man.
After Peter misses his own wedding, he tries to explain what happened to MJ, but she had already intuited that it was due to his superheroics, and demands that he retire from crimefighting. He refuses, and enraged, she leaves him. After being urged to reconsider by her Aunt Anna, MJ goes to see Peter, and during the course of their conversation, tells him of the daughter she always envisioned having with him, who she hoped would take after both of them. She says that bearing children to someone constantly in danger as Spider-Man it would not be fair to them, and that they must remain unmarried. They are still together when Aunt May gets shot during the events stemming from "Civil War". Refusing to accept her death, Peter performs CPR, saving her life.
Wilson Fisk, informed of May's survival by a disguised Mephisto, decides to send a masked hitman after Anna Watson. Mary Jane goes to check on Anna, just in time to stop the hitman, who goes after her. Spider-Man saves Mary Jane and dispatches the hitman. Spider-Man brings the wounded Mary Jane to Doctor Strange, who performs a healing spell on her. Peter insists that Doctor Strange should make people forget he is Spider-Man. Doctor Strange contacts Tony Stark and Reed Richards for advice on the matter, as they were partially responsible for Peter's decision to publicly unmask.
They decide that no one, including themselves, will remember anything. Peter enters a protective shell to shield himself from the changes. At the last moment, he leaps out of the shield and pulls Mary Jane in with him so she will not forget either. They wake up in the motel and Peter explains what has happened. Back in the present, Mary Jane explains that, although she still loves him, she is not strong enough to be at his side, she tells him he has to move on and find somebody who can be with him
After being evicted from his apartment, Peter turned to many of his friends for help, including MJ, but when confronted with the idea of living together again, the two found themselves laughing off the situation and declining the opportunity.[volume & issue needed]
Peter soon began a new relationship with Carlie Cooper. Though initially jealous of how happy Carlie was making Peter, MJ decided to support Peter's decision and encouraged him to reveal his secret identity to her, an idea Peter was hesitant to try, as he desired to be loved for simply being "Peter Parker". Whilst MJ argued that Spider-Man represented the "real Peter Parker", Peter argued that MJ had the benefit of hindsight since the beginning, and that Carlie did not share that luxury.[volume & issue needed]
When much of New York City became infected with a virus that gave its inhabitants Peter's Spider-like abilities, MJ found herself caught in a frenzied series of riots across the city. Saved by the intervening Future Foundation, MJ later located Peter and Carlie, the latter having also been granted spider-powers. MJ encouraged Peter to use his civilian guise when displaying his powers and rally the city against the chaos. She would later attain spider-powers herself and would come to the aid of defenseless citizens, her prolonged contact with Peter during their relationship granting her a degree of immunity that protected her from the mutative side-effects of the transformation. As Peter is successfully able to cure all of New York, Mary Jane quietly tells him she loves him, though Peter does not hear her. The two later look over the city atop the Empire State Building, happy in each other's arms, relieved that the crisis is over after Peter cured Mary Jane of her powers.
Shortly after, Carlie Cooper breaks up with Peter, having deduced his secret identity. Conflicted over her lingering feelings for Peter, Carlie decides to confide in Mary Jane, and the two begin to bond over their experiences with Peter
While Peter races around the world to stop Doctor Octopus's latest scheme, Mary Jane has begun to make arrangements for a party once the crisis is over, apparently confident that Peter will defeat his foe. It is later revealed that she had bought herself a nightclub.
Mary Jane remained in the role of best friend and confidant to Peter until Parker begins to take an interest in her romantically again. MJ, still in love with Peter, agrees to start dating him again. Unknown to MJ however, is that Peter has had his mind corrupted/possessed by Doctor Octopus. The real Peter Parker, trapped in his rival's dying body, breaks out of prison and attempts to switch back, only for his body to eventually give out on him before he can complete the procedure. As a last resort, Peter downloads all of his memories and experiences into Octopus' mind, convincing his foe to develop some sense of responsibility, and convinces him to do good as Spider-Man so long as he has control of his body. Octopus, as Peter, continues to date Mary Jane after this, but MJ begins noticing distinctly different character traits displayed by Octopus, such as a heavy intake of alcohol and his rude behavior towards his loved ones, including herself, most notably when he observed that she was no longer anything more than "the plucky best friend with the one motivational speech". It is later revealed that Peter's mind is still active and tucked away somewhere in Octopus' psyche, and he vows to get his body back before his rival can go too far with either an opponent or even with Mary Jane.
Mary Jane still dates Otto after he developed his spider-version of his Octo-bots, Spider-Bots, to patrol the city. Otto, in Peter's body, intends to get more intimate with MJ and makes several advances, only to be blown off each time. Finally, in desperation and frustration, Otto relives Peter's memories with MJ, which infuriates Peter. After one of Otto's Spider-Bots detect Mary Jane in trouble and saves her from the Vulture gang, Mary Jane herself prepares to kiss him until Otto stops her as he begins developing genuine feelings for her. This surprises Mary Jane and Peter as Otto tells her he's ending their relationship and tells her to move on, but promises Mary Jane he will continue protecting her. Mary Jane tells Carlie about Peter calling off the relationship and agrees with him, still unaware that Otto is in Peter's body.
According to co-creator Stan Lee, Mary Jane was originally intended to be simply a rival for Gwen Stacy for the affections of Peter Parker. Lee had always intended for Gwen Stacy to be Spider-Man's one true love. The pairing of Mary Jane and Peter Parker became one of the most prominent couples in the superhero genre. The names "Mary Jane" and "MJ" being common slang terms for marijuana, Lee's comment on this was "It was the 60's, man".
Mary Jane Watson made her first full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (Nov. 1966), although she first appeared in #25 (June 1965) with her face obscured and had been mentioned since #15 (Aug. 1964). Peter David wrote in 2010 that John Romita, Sr. "made the definitive statement of his arrival by pulling Mary Jane out from behind the oversized potted plant [that blocked the readers' view of her face in issue #25] and placing her on panel in what would instantly become an iconic moment." Romita has stated that in designing Mary Jane, he "used Ann-Margret from the movie Bye Bye Birdie as a guide, using her coloring, the shape of her face, her red hair and her form-fitting short skirts."
Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada said that he feels the marriage ages the characters, making them less appealing to young readers, and lessens the dramatic, "soap opera" possibilities, but also stated that "divorcing or widowing, or annulling the marriage...would only be worse." He has also pointed out that the marriage itself was editorially mandated; Stan Lee decided to marry the characters in his daily newspaper strip and, even though the two were not even dating at the time in the comic book series, it was decided to marry them in the regular Marvel Universe as well. In 2007, Quesada presided over the controversial "One More Day" storyline, which he also drew, in which Peter and Mary Jane's marriage is erased from history and everyone's memories by the demon Mephisto. Quesada states he is an avid fan of the Peter and MJ relationship, and in several interviews has claimed that the alternate MC2 universe, in which Peter and Mary Jane are happily married, is a "natural progression" of the characters.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2008)|
Mary Jane has no special powers, but due to her relationship with Spider-Man and her job as an actress and model, she has found herself in danger many times. Having learned of the risk at the expense of her friend Gwen Stacy's life, she is unwilling to be dependent on others for her safety. Her intelligence and tenacity make up for her lack of superhuman abilities.
Mary Jane actually has training in self-defense, with teachers including Captain America. She has been able to fend off attackers of normal strength and skill, including the Chameleon, one obsessive stalker, and another stalker using a cue stick. Besides her training in martial arts, she is also strategically smart when fighting her enemies. On one occasion, she knocked out a kidnapper with a lamp and also electrified his bodyguards with it; and she was able to defeat Hydro-Man when she lured him away from water sources, and into hot dry areas, forcing him to evaporate (the latter only happened in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon).
Furthermore, there were several occasions in which she saved her husband's life from his superpowered enemies when they had the upper hand: she beat Alistair Smythe with a baseball bat, and distracted his Spider-Slayer; she set the Hobgoblin's cape on fire; and she fended off Styx and Stone as they were about to kill Spider-Man. More recently, she thwarted the White Rabbit's attempts to rob a high-class party she attended, when no superhero was available to do the job. Most notably, she managed to defeat Swarm, a supervillain even her husband had trouble defeating.
Mary Jane also carries a gun (although Peter dislikes the idea) which she uses against the Green Goblin in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #12, and in the video game Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. After Peter developed organic webshooters, he modified his original webshooters into bracelets that she could wear discreetly, giving her an additional defensive weapon. She also carries a modified spider-tracer with an amplified signal that can be traced over long distances.
Mary Jane has used her fashion design and sewing skills on many occasions to make and repair Spider-Man's costumes. She also designed the Hornet, Prodigy, and Ricochet costumes. She is usually the person who provides first aid when Peter is injured.
On two occasions, she was possessed by the spirit of Red Sonja and battled Kulan Gath side-by-side with Spider-Man. During the earlier issues of "The Other" story arc, she borrowed Iron Man's old armor temporarily.
During Spider-Island she developed versions of Spider-Man's powers, including enhanced strength and agility, the ability to stick to walls and the ability to produce organic webbing. She lost these powers when given the antidote so she would not turn into a giant spider.
In addition to her mainstream incarnation, Mary Jane Watson has been depicted in other fictional universes. In one reality visited by the Exiles, where she was Spider-Woman, she had a relationship with Exiles member Sunfire (Mariko Yashida), who was a known lesbian.
In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Mary Jane Watson (voiced by Sara Ballantine) first meets a 19-year-old Peter Parker in "The Return of the Spider-Slayers" (Season #1 Ep #4), where May Parker set Peter up on a date with her without Peter even knowing who she was (making it as Peter put it, "a blind date"). At the time, Peter's main love interest was Felicia Hardy and he did not look forward to meeting Mary Jane, commenting "A blind date is like the lottery, you have a one a in million chance of hitting the jackpot." Left completely speechless when seeing her for the first time, Mary Jane tells him "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot." Over the course of the series, Mary Jane slowly supplants Felicia as Peter's primary love interest. She is last seen in the season three finale "Turning Point," in which the Green Goblin discovers Spider-Man's true identity. In a nod to "The Night Gwen Stacy Died", he takes her to the George Washington Bridge. Spider-Man tries to save her, but she falls into a dimensional portal created by his stolen time dilation accelerator (due to censorship, no one in the show could die – she is forced into limbo and Spider-Man does not know what happened to her). Prior to her fall, Mary Jane awakes thinking she had heard Peter's voice, not Spider-Man's; this is a subtle nod to her knowing Peter's secret. As with the "Gwen Stacy" storyline, Norman Osborn is vanquished when he is impaled by his own glider and sent into limbo himself, but would soon resurface to influence his son Harry into becoming the second Green Goblin.
In season four, a clone of Mary Jane, created by Miles Warren, appears, and after the death of Mysterio at the end of the ninth episode of season four, Spider-Man reveals his secret identity to her; they subsequently marry in the first episode of season five. This marriage is portrayed as significantly different from that in the comics, which had no intervention from supervillains. In this episode, the wedding is attacked by the Green Goblin (Harry), the Scorpion, and Alistair Smythe's Spider-Slayers. Later, this Mary Jane's true nature is revealed as a clone created by Miles Warren, who had also created a clone of Hydro-Man. A side effect of the process was that Mary Jane possessed the same water-based powers as him, and aided in fighting her fellow clone off as Spider-Man went after Dr. Warren. By the end of the two-part episode, both Mary Jane and Hydro-Man destabilize into nothing. When dying, the clone professes her affections for Spider-Man, loves him as much as the original Mary Jane Watson.
In the series finale, after Spider-Man saves all reality from Spider-Carnage, Spider-Man's mystic advisor, Madame Web, promises they would find the real Mary Jane (as she promised when she took Spider-Man from Earth after the Mary Jane clone died before the Secret War, which was a test to see if Spider-Man could stop Spider-Carnage). The "true" Mary Jane is never seen again in this series, but is shown to have been reunited with and married to Peter in the sequel, Spider-Man Unlimited. Jennifer Hale provided her voice. John Semper, producer of the previous show, revealed if he had continued the show, Mary Jane would have been found in Colonial England.
Mary Jane appears in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (where she was voiced by Lisa Loeb). She appears as an on and off girlfriend of Peter Parker. In Mind Games: Part 1, Mary Jane discovers that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, but it was revealed to be a dream sequence. Her hair is shorter here than in any other version. She was going to have long hair but there were difficulties rendering it with animation so it was cut down.
|This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (April 2009)|
Mary Jane, voiced by Vanessa Marshall, appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man. She is first mentioned in the fourth episode, "Market Forces", by Aunt May, in her attempt to have her and Peter meet. Peter of course declines after May's insistence that MJ has a "wonderful personality". Later, Peter goes to visit Harry and receives an e-mail inviting him to the school's Fall Formal. Peter jokingly suggests he could bring Mary Jane Watson, as he is dateless. A running gag occurred when Peter (and on one occasion, Harry as well) shuddered every time "wonderful personality" was used in reference to Mary Jane due to the fact it is usually believed that someone who is described with a "wonderful personality" means they are hideous in appearance.
MJ finally appears for the first time just before the Fall Formal, when Peter, sulking because Betty Brant turned him down, is told by Aunt May that Anna Watson's niece will be arriving any second. Peter is shocked to discover that May planned to have Peter attend the formal with Mary Jane all along. When he answers the door he is stunned to find her gorgeous (to the point she was elected Prom Queen even though she did not go to the school, with the ballot stating "the red haired girl that came with Peter Parker"), not at all what he was expecting. She looks at him with a sly smile and says her famous line, "Face it Tiger, you just hit the jackpot..." This version of Mary Jane can be seen somewhat as a mixture of both the original and Ultimate version of the character—retaining the honest and genuine version of the Ultimate counterpart, while still maintaining the flirtatious personality of the 616 version.
Peter and Mary Jane attend the dance where she shocks the crowd by showing up with Pete and playfully flirts with the boys. When Gwen sees her, she becomes upset, believing Peter lied about not going to the formal because he had rather go with Mary Jane than her. Peter receives a call from the Daily Bugle demanding he go across town to photograph an event hosted by Tombstone where the new villain, Green Goblin, has just attacked. Mary Jane is very understanding of Peter ditching her, hinting that, like in the comics, she may be aware of his dual identity. When Peter foils the Goblin's plans and returns to the gymnasium, he finds the students emptying out and Mary Jane dancing with Hobie Brown. He sighs, believing he blew his chances with the beautiful redhead by leaving, but Mary Jane tells him she saved the last dance just for him, and the two share a slow dance in the empty gym.
In the episode "Reaction", she is seen cheering on Midtown High at a football game, sitting next to new friend Glory Grant. Peter squeezes between them and nervously tries to talk to her about the state of his and her relationship. Mary Jane assures him that they are just friends, and that the dance was simply for fun. Peter is shown to be slightly disappointed at her interest in Flash. Later, when Doctor Octopus attacks Peter and his friends at the Coney Island Carnival, Gwen trips and falls in the chaos, and Mary Jane goes back and helps her up. Spider-Man rescues both girls from Octopus' clutches. That night Flash and Liz break up, and Peter, ready to comfort Liz is held back by Mary Jane who says "Not now Tiger."
On the night of the Halloween Fair in the streets of Manhattan, Mary Jane, dressed as a vampire, searches for Peter in hopes of telling him she now attends Midtown High thanks to her acceptance by its theater magnet. Later that night, when Flash makes a move on her, she tells him she likes him, but that "this redhead's a free agent". When Peter appears at the Fair dressed in his Spider-Man garb, MJ smiles and tells him he fills out the costume nicely. The next day, Peter makes his way to school when he hears Mary Jane call him over from the water fountain in the school's courtyard. She informs him of her enrollment at the school and that she meant to tell him last night but he had disappeared once again. Gwen then arrives and tells the two that Harry has taken a leave of absence with his father (which Peter secretly knows is because of Harry's addiction to the Globulin Green Formula and his subsequent stint as the Green Goblin).
Later when the Sinister Six attacks Spider-Man (who recently bonded with the Venom Symbiote), Aunt May has a heart attack with Anna Watson nearby. Mary Jane is then the one to notify Peter of his aunt's condition, and she later informs his friends as well. Later, when Peter arrives at school and his friends attempt to console him, Peter (under the symbiote's influence) verbally dejects everyone, including Mary Jane. He apologizes in the next episode though, and Mary Jane warns him about Eddie's growing hatred towards him, as he tried to hurt Peter by using her.
She is seen at the Thanksgiving Day parade with Flash. As before, she continually dodges his advances. Nonetheless, Spidey is understandably annoyed. It is Mary Jane who initiates the assistance in helping Gwen from dangling from a float after being endangered by Venom. When Venom makes mention of his plans to go after the one Peter truly loves, he dashes to the parade and seeks out Mary Jane, believing it was her who Venom spoke of. Once he sees she is not in any danger, he notices Gwen is speaking to Eddie Brock.
Unlike the other versions of Spider-Man, Mary Jane does not appear to be a focus point of one of Pete's girls. Instead, it is focused more on Gwen Stacy and Liz Allan. After a date with Flash, she mentioned she was not interested in a serious relationship. However, she did start seriously dating Liz's brother Mark Allan, shown to be depressed when she believed he was gambling again.
Mary Jane appears in Ultimate Spider-Man. She is voiced by Tara Strong. Like her "Ultimate Comics" incarnation she is a childhood friend/best friend of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, and like later appearances of this version she shows an interest in journalism (though one of her main targets for this job is to reform Daily Bugle Communications from the inside and rehabilitate Spider-Man's reputation, which is attacked by J. Jonah Jameson on a daily basis). Peter and Mary Jane in fact tried to be a couple in their early teens, but they chose to return to just be friends. In this incarnation, Mary Jane is evidently unaware of Peter's identity as Spider-Man. She is also revealed to be a fitness and health food nut.
After the Frightful Four attack the school, Mary Jane displays an interest in interviewing Spider-Man after it is rumored he attends their school, but Peter does not think he can do this due to fear about MJ realizing who he is. She has an important role in the episode "Exclusive", where she interviews Spider-Man and records the battle between the Hulk, Spider-Man, and Zzzax. She also applies to Jameson for an internship at the Daily Bugle; the first attempt is foiled by the Beetle.
In the first three films, Mary Jane Watson was portrayed by Kirsten Dunst.
Mary Jane is Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire)'s childhood and high school crush and only sweetheart. At the time, she is dating the high school bully, Flash Thompson (Joe Manganiello), but breaks up with him at their high school graduation ceremony. Desperate to escape her abusive, alcoholic father, Mary Jane begins to pursue a career in acting, but she secretly waitresses at a diner after being rejected at an audition. Peter's friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) is her first boyfriend after leaving high school, but when she is rescued by Spider-Man when attacked by the Green Goblin, she is attracted to him. After he later saves her from several men in an alley, the two share an iconic kiss. She grows distant from Harry, and closer to Peter, when she realizes how much he cares for her. After Harry sees Peter and Mary Jane holding hands, he gets angry and breaks up with her.
Harry's father Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) knows of Spider-Man's secret identity and finds out about his feelings for Mary Jane from his son. As his criminal alter ego, the Green Goblin, he kidnaps her and holds her over the Queensboro Bridge, telling Spider-Man that he must choose between her and a group of children caught in the Roosevelt Island tram car. However, Spider-Man defies all odds and saves both Mary Jane and the children. At the end of the film, Mary Jane tells Peter that she loves him and they kiss. Peter, who decides that for her protection they cannot be together, gently rejects her. She is heartbroken, but as he leaves she realizes that her kiss with Peter reminded her of the one she shared with Spider-Man, and suspects that he is the superhero.
Mary Jane wants to start a relationship with Peter, who still resists because he fears for her safety. In her frustration Mary Jane goes on to have a relationship with John Jameson (Daniel Gillies), the astronaut son of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). Prior to this, Harry said that she was waiting for him. Much to Peter's delight, he sees her billboard picturing her modeling for a perfume near the pizza place he works at.
Later, Peter decides that being Spider-Man is not what he wants and he attempts to start a relationship with her. Mary Jane pushes him away this time because she is getting married to John Jameson, but secretly does want a relationship with Peter, although she tries to convince herself otherwise. She is also angry at Peter because he fails to see her star in The Importance of Being Earnest, which John, Harry, and Aunt May have seen (even her father went backstage, albeit to ask for money), yet Peter's absences also verifies her suspicion that he is Spider-Man but waiting for a chance of him admitting it or seeing him unmasked herself. When Peter does arrive to see it the first time, a snooty usher (Bruce Campbell) stops him for being late. The second attempt to see it, which is successful, is when he tries to reconnect with her. After Mary Jane kisses John, in a manner that is reminiscent of the upside-down kiss between her and Spider-Man from the first film, she realizes she does not truly love John, and may want a relationship with Peter.
She meets Peter in a coffee shop where she asks for a kiss to confirm her belief that he is Spider-Man. She even asks him if he loves her, to which he falsely replies, "I don't", for the sake of his superhero responsibilities and her safety. Just before Peter can kiss her, Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) kidnaps her in order to bait a trap for Spider-Man. Doctor Octopus takes her to an abandoned pier where Spider-Man confronts him. Spider-Man pulls his mask off in hopes of getting Doctor Octopus to come back to his senses, and Mary Jane sees that Spider-Man and Peter Parker are one and the same. After Doctor Octopus reforms and sacrifices himself to save New York, Spider-Man and Mary Jane share a moment together, where Spider-Man finally admits that he does love Mary Jane, but cares more for her safety.
At the film's end, Mary Jane prepares to marry John Jameson, but she leaves him at the altar, goes to Peter's apartment, and reveals that she loves Peter and is prepared to face whatever risks their relationship may bring.
Both Mary Jane and Harry now know that Peter is Spider-Man. In the film, Peter is intending to ask Mary Jane to marry him. When he reports the good news to his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), she is delighted and asks Peter to give her engagement ring as a gift to Mary Jane. However, Peter becomes slightly overconfident due to Spider-Man's success. Meanwhile, Mary Jane's Broadway debut takes a turn for the worse when her performance gets bad reviews. Unaware of this incident, Peter accidentally pushes Mary Jane away, thinking he understands her situation. She also begins a rivalry with Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) for Peter's affections. Having been replaced on Broadway by her understudy and then having to work at a jazz club, Mary Jane and Peter's relationship worsens when Spider-Man is unexpectedly kissed by Gwen Stacy in front of a whole crowd of people the same way Mary Jane kissed Spider-Man in the first film. When Peter attempts to propose to Mary Jane that same night, Gwen appears at the same restaurant and talks with him; Mary Jane leaves, furious.
Mary Jane, feeling alone and despondent, calls Harry, who recently lost his memory and hatred of Spider-Man after being defeated in an aerial battle as the New Goblin. They renew their bond, and in a moment of joy, Mary Jane kisses Harry. Realizing what she is doing, Mary Jane quickly leaves; the emotional turmoil restores Harry's memories and his mission to destroy Spider-Man as the New Goblin. He confronts MJ in her apartment, and threatens to kill Peter if she does not break up with him. Following Harry's orders, she breaks up with Peter. Peter, heartbroken and upset, refuses to tolerate these tragedies, and turns to the symbiote suit, which enhances his aggression.
One night, Peter decides to go to Mary Jane's jazz club with Gwen. He shows her up on stage by playing the piano, and makes a big show of dancing with Gwen. Gwen, realizing that she is being used as a prop to make Mary Jane jealous, apologizes and leaves. Mary Jane is still visibly shaken when Peter confronts her at the bar, and he is assaulted by two of the club's bouncers. A fight ensues, and Mary Jane tries to stop Peter. Thinking she is another bouncer, Peter strikes her. Peter, realizing what the evil symbiote is trying to do, leaves the club.
Peter tears the symbiote off his body at a church bell-tower. During the struggle, it falls on Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) standing below and creates Venom. At his apartment, Peter fears that even though the symbiote was responsible for current events, he may not be able to put Mary Jane first, and gives his wedding ring back to Aunt May, who convinces him that if he tries his best, he can put things right. Meanwhile Venom kidnaps Mary Jane, holding her hostage at a construction site, where a climatic battle takes place between the team of Venom and the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) against Spider-Man and Harry Osborn, a.k.a. the New Goblin. Mary Jane assists in the battle by dropping a cinder block on Venom's head from above. During the fight, Harry defeats Sandman, but is impaled by Venom with his own glider after jumping in the way of Venom attempting to impale Peter. After Peter defeats Venom, he goes over to the mortally wounded Harry, along with Mary Jane. Harry dies in Mary Jane's arms after mending his friendship with Peter.
After attending their friend's funeral, Peter and Mary Jane reconcile and at the end are seen dancing after Mary Jane sings at a club.
On October 11, 2012 it was reported that Shailene Woodley was in talks to portray the role in the The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the second in the Spider-Man reboot series and follow up to the The Amazing Spider-Man. On November 13, director Marc Webb confirmed Woodley's involvement in the film on Twitter.
On June 19, 2013 it was announced that Mary Jane was cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Webb told The Hollywood Reporter, that the cut was "a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter [Parker] and Gwen [Stacy] and their relationship" and that everyone loved working with Woodley.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood was scheduled to play Mary Jane in the new Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. However, she had to drop out of production due to a scheduling conflict, and was replaced by Jennifer Damiano. Jennifer Damiano left the production and the part of Mary Jane Watson is now played by Rebecca Faulkenberry.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
Romance novelist Judith O'Brien wrote two young adult novels featuring a teenage Mary Jane in 2003 and 2004. They featured illustrations by Mike Mayhew.
The first novel is a basic retelling of the origin story from Mary Jane's point of view. She is depicted as a shy, insecure girl who knew Peter Parker from elementary school. She deals with such problems as anorexia and peer pressure.
At a field trip to Osborn Industries, Peter is bitten by a spider, which grants him powers. It is later revealed that Norman Osborn had injected a super drug known as OZ into the spider, which he later uses as a sports drink which he sells to Mary Jane's classmates. The use of OZ is the only real connection to Ultimate, but even that is drastically different from the way it's portrayed in the original comics, being much closer to Bill Jemas' original concept. As Peter suits up to become Spider-Man (his origin with Uncle Ben is only hinted at), Mary Jane sets out to expose Norman with Peter's help.
The novel was successful with teenage girls who were not familiar with the comics, but was met with criticism from the core fans due to its characterization of some of the characters (most notably Harry Osborn, who is portrayed as manipulating Peter into doing his homework while treating him horribly) and changing continuity.
The second novel, Mary Jane 2, deals with the continuing relationship of Peter and Mary Jane, and the emergence of Gwen Stacy. In this continuity, Gwen is an 'ugly duckling' who Mary Jane gives a 'makeover'. However, Gwen soon has feelings for Peter. Harry Osborn reappears and is made more sympathetic than he was in the previous novel; with his father in jail, he is now poor and has to live without a life of luxury.
"Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!", Mary Jane's first words to Peter, is one of the most famous quotations in superhero comic book history. The quotation is duplicated in nearly every continuity in which Mary Jane appears and repeated in nearly every flashback to their first encounter. It is also often referenced or parodied in other contexts. Appearances of the quotations in Marvel comic books and other Marvel products include:
In Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #12, Chameleon uses the term to his partner when he discovers Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
This line was not used in any Spider-Man films, although "Tiger" has been used by Mary Jane as a term of endearment and she says "Go get 'em, Tiger."
Outside of Marvel, the line has also been used in: