2014 will be a big year for Shailene Woodley, Hollywood’s new go-to lady for YA adaptations between the dystopian Divergent and the melancholy romance The Fault in Our Stars. But Woodley originally had a third major role this year, playing ginger galpal Mary Jane Watson in this summer’s Amazing Spider-Man rebootquel. Photos of Woodley on the set showed the young actress rocking some denim jackets and some unconvincing red hair — because no redhaired superhero girlfriend will ever have convincing red hair, and we can all just accept that and move on. But the filmmakers pulled a Paquin before it was cool, cutting Woodley out of the movie, presumably because they needed more time to service current love interest Gwen Stacy, not to mention all the villains from all the spinoffs.
Speaking to MTV’s Josh Horowitz at Sundance, Woodley admitted that she didn’t really know what her future was with the Amazing franchise, but she seemed ambivalent about the possibility of returning. “I don’t know anything,” she said. “But seeing as how they picked up the next two Divergent films, I don’t know how I would keep my sanity doing two big action films in one year. But anything can happen.” True, anything can happen — and if Divergent explodes, it’s possible that Sony would rejigger their ambitious Spidey schedule to make room for an ascendant superstar.
But let’s assume that doesn’t happen. And let’s also assume that that thing we all think is going to happen in Amazing Spider-Man 2 happens, and Mary Jane as a character becomes hugely important for Amazings 3 and 4. Who should take on the role of Peter Parker’s eventual one true love? Here are a few possibilities, ranked on the Dunst scale; post your own in the comments!
Jane Levy: There are at least two main incarnations of Mary Jane — the old-school model-actress hiding a deep sadness behind her party-girl veneer, and the hipsterized Ultimate version who trended acerbic and brainy. Let’s assume that Woodley’s denim jacket means they’re opting for the latter. Jane Levy plays an acerbic redhead on Suburgatory and she demonstrated some serious action chops as the Girl With the Chainsaw in last year’s Evil Dead remake. Suburgatory hasn’t quite popped yet, but everyone agrees Levy has star potential: A role in the later Amazings could be just the thing. FOUR DUNSTS.
Emma Roberts: Then again, maybe the Amazingverse’s Mary Jane will trend way more glamorous, a definitive shift from spunky-everygal Gwen Stacy. If that’s the case, then Roberts the Younger might make sense for the movie. The onetime Nickelodeon actress has been burning up this season of American Horror Story — although admittedly, her terse energy vibes more like a Felicia. TWO DUNSTS
Evan Rachel Wood: Wood was actually slated to play Mary Jane in the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Fortunately, she dodged that bullet. Even more fortunately, that means she’s available to inhabit the role on the big screen. FIVE DUNSTS
Aubrey Plaza: Did we mention acerbic? Admittedly, the Parks & Recreation star might look weird with red hair. But everyone looks weird with red hair except for actual redheads. And Plaza is earning good notices for her role in Life After Beth, where she plays the zombie girlfriend to Dane DeHaan — coincidentally, the guy who’s playing Neo-Harry Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man 2. It’s an outside-the-box choice, which doesn’t mean it’s bad. THREE DUNSTS
Lily Collins: Don’t we have to just consider Lily Collins for everything now? You remember her! She was in Beautiful Mortals or City of Creatures, you know, with the twilight and the hunger games or whatever. HALF-DUNST.
Lucy Hale: Or anyone from Pretty Little Liars. Working under the assumption that having ABC Family on your résumé is a dealmaker for the Mary Jane role. THREE DUNSTS.
Dora Madison Burge: A way off-the-radar choice, Burge had a lead role in the latter two seasons of Friday Night Lights. As Becky Sproles, she played a beautiful pageant gal whose bright smile masked all manner of dark emotions — her teen-pregnancy plotline was a dramatic high point in the show’s later years. Since FNL, she hung out on Dexter and has a role on the CW’s new Star-Crossed. So she’s available. FOUR DUNSTS.