The Amazing Spider-Man 2 director Marc Webb announced yesterday that Shailene Woodley, who has already filmed several scenes as the future Mrs. Spidey, Mary Jane Watson, was being cut from the film, with the character not being introduced until 2016's The Amazing Spider-Man 3. The official reason given is that Webb wants to focus on the relationship between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone), Spidey's love interest from the previous film.
The move has the added benefit of stretching out the series' romantic storyline, all the more important now that Webb has four movies to fill. It also cuts down on the already-dizzying array of characters in the sequel, as Spidey will be fighting Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti), while also coming into contact with the future Green Goblin (Chris Cooper) and post-James-Franco Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), and possibly even the Vulture (Colm Feore) and Black Cat (Felicity Jones), possibly while juggling and keeping 15 spinning plates from crashing to the ground.
Woodley's reaction to being cut was gracious, with the actress saying, "I completely understand the need for holding off on introducing [Mary Jane]." However, shortly after the announcement was made, the speculation began circulating that Woodley was actually being dropped completely, and that the character would be recast.
Will Shailene Woodley end up playing Mary Jane? Will there be any villains left for Amazing Spider-Man 4? Will Sony Pictures finally sort out this mess in time for the inevitable 2020 reboot with Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Keirnan Shipka? Stay tuned, true believers! Excelsior!!!