[Note: Marvel’s been keeping this character’s identity under pretty tight wraps, so it’s worth noting that this will probably spoil a major-ish plot reveal for Spider-Man Homecoming.]
Ever since she was cast in the latest Spider-Man reboot, Homecoming, people have been speculating about where Zendaya fits in the overall Peter Parker mythos. Was she a potential love interest, the MCU equivalent to Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey, or one of Spidey’s other romantic partners? (Michelle Gonzalez, from the comics’ late-2000s run, was a popular guess, mostly based off of her sharing a first name with the character.) All of that guesswork was complicated by her obvious disdain for Peter in the film’s trailers, but hey: It wouldn’t be Spider-Man if love came easy for our friendly neighborhood web-slinger.
Now, however, Nerdist appears to have uncovered a major clue to the character’s identity, in a relatively unlikely place: The junior novelization for the upcoming film.
Besides offering up age-appropriate web-spraying action for kids 8-12, the book—released earlier this week—reveals the full name of Zendaya’s character: Michelle Toomes. As in, Adrian Toomes, Michael Keaton’s wing-suited bad guy The Vulture. Which implies that Peter’s traditional “friends with the bad guy’s kid” angst will be finding a new way to play out.
Assuming Michelle actually is The Vulture’s daughter, it’ll be interesting to see which side of the “Oh my god, my dad’s a supervillain” coin she falls on. (That is, “I’ve got to stop him,” or “That’s so cool.”) For the record, Toomes also has a daughter in the comics, although her name’s Valeria, and she’s an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives in theaters on July 7.