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Mary Jane Watson Cut From 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2': What Losing Shailene Woodley Means for the Franchise

By now, most Spider-Man fans have heard the news that Shailene Woodley's scenes as Mary Jane Watson have been cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. On top of that, several reports make it sound like despite director Marc Webb's intentions to introduce the character in The Amazing Spider-Man 3, Woodley won't be the actress playing Peter Parker's iconic crush. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Woodley’s appearance in Spider-Man 2 always was intended to be brief – the actress only worked three days and shot around three scenes – but sources say director Marc Webb decided to streamline the story. 
"I made a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter and Gwen and their relationship," said Webb. "Shailene is an incredibly talented actress, and while we only shot a few scenes with Mary Jane, we all love working with her.”
First off, I'm kind of bummed to hear that Woodley won't be playing Mary Jane. Despite spending much of her young career stuck on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Woodley turned in a Oscar-worthy performance in The Descendants and has garnered a ton of buzz for her work in The Spectacular Now. This is a talented, young actress on the verge of stardom. It was easy to look forward to seeing what she could bring to the Amazing Spider-Man franchise.

When Sony announced dates for two Amazing Spider-Man sequels earlier this week, I asked how this would possibly change Webb's plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It's long been assumed that the director was planning a trilogy, so the addition of a fourth film was bound to result in some shuffling.

Now, I don't have confirmation on a lot of rumors surrounding the upcoming sequel, POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD but I've heard that in addition to Jamie Foxx's Electro and Paul Giamatti's Rhino, there was a good chance we'd also see Chris Cooper's Norman Osborn turn into the Green Goblin and that Colm Feore was actually playing the Vulture. It's awesome that Webb is possibly laying out the pieces for the Sinister Six, but that's a ton of material to cram into one movie. If The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was also going to introduce Mary Jane Watson and even give us the death of Gwen Stacy, I had serious reservations about the quality that would come from telling that much story in that little space. END POSSIBLE SPOILERS

Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 was sunk by adding in too many villains and too many storylines. Taking Mary Jane out of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and spreading out the story over two more movies will hopefully avoid that trap.

So what happens with Woodley and the Amazing Spider-Man franchise now? The Hollywood Reporter says that it's "likely Woodley will not return and the part will be recast." We'll probably see Sony and Webb embark on a new search for an actress to play Mary Jane Watson over the next year or two. With The Amazing Spider-Man 3 hitting theaters on July 10, 2016, there really isn't all that much time to move on. I understand why Woodley probably won't be back. She's a busy actress, starring in adaptions of Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars over the next year. It won't be shocking to see Woodley become highly in demand after The Spectacular Now debuts too.
"Of course I'm bummed," Woodley told Entertainment Weekly, which first reported the news. "But I'm a firm believer in everything happening for a specific reason. … Based on the proposed plot, I completely understand holding off on introducing [Mary Jane] until the next film."
Unlike the search that led to Dane DeHaan playing Harry Osborn, Woodley was really the only actress ever attached to the rebooted role of Mary Jane Watson. Odds are Sony and Webb had other possibilities, but it seems like this'll be a fresh start for the casting.
Mary Jane Watson Cut From 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2': What Losing Shailene Woodley Means for the Franchise Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 6/20/2013 Rating: 5

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