We previously reported that Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) would be playing Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and we had seen some set photos of the talented young actress as the iconic character. However, director Marc Webb later said that this would be a brief appearance to set up the third installment, and now it looks like the character has been nixed from part 2 altogether. In the latest issue of EW [via CBM], which focuses on Woodley and her lead role in the upcoming film Divergent, she told the publication, “Of course I’m bummed. But I am a firm believer in everything happening for a specific reason…Based on the proposed plot, I completely understand the need for holding off on introducing [Mary Jane] until the next film.” There’s no word if Woodley’s scenes will be held until the next movie, or if these scenes will stay on the cutting room floor.
Woodley will next be seen in The Spectacular Now, and this August she’s set to start filming on the adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in 3D on May 2, 2014. As we reported a couple days ago, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is set for June 10, 2016, and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 is due out on May 4, 2018. [Update: Now it looks like the Mary Jane role may be recast. More after the jump.]
“I made a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter and Gwen and their relationship. Shailene is an incredibly talented actress and while we only shot a few scenes with Mary Jane, we all love working with her.”
THR adds in its report that it’s likely that Woodley will not return for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and that the role will be recast. The reason for the change is not stated, but Sony could be worried that Woodley might be too busy with a franchise of her own. Summit has already enlisted a screenwriter to start working on the Divergent sequel Insurgent, and if Divergent is a hit with audiences then it’s possible that the actress could start filming the follow-up as early as late next year or early 2015.
With Sony already announcing release dates for Spidey 3 and 4, the studio is clearly eager to keep the franchise going at a rapid pace, which means that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 could feasibly start production in early 2015 as well. I quite liked the choice of Woodley as Mary Jane so I’m personally hoping that things can be worked out, but leading a series of her own isn’t necessarily a bad trade off for Woodley and Webb has shown a knack for casting great actors in his rebooted Spidey franchise, so I’m sure the replacement would be a sufficient choice.