As per the original storyline of Spider-Man Gwen Stacy is the first serious love of Peter Parker (Betty Brant is the first relationship of him which never worked). Then why did Marvel/Columbia Pictures choose Mary Jane over her for the 2002 Spider-Man.

Is there any specific reason for it or just a random decision? I know about the death of Gwen Stacy but none of them forced them to eliminate her role.

Now in the 2012 reboot, they are using Gwen in the lead role and replacing Mary Jane by Gwen.

But my question is that why they used Mary Jane in Sam Rami's Spider-Man Trilogy?

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    I found it highly amusing that in the Sam Raimi movies they brought in a blonde (Kirsten Dunst) to play a red head (Mary Jane), and in the new movie they have a red head (Emma Stone) playing a blonde (Gwen Stacy). May 19, 2012 at 1:08
  • 2
    @SystemDown Raimi did the Gwen-hairdo switch-a-roo too. Bryce Howard is a red-head.
    – ray
    May 19, 2012 at 4:10
  • Actually I have been reading the amazing spider man comics from the 60s and actually betty brant was his first girlfriend for 3 years.
    – user1519
    Jun 17, 2012 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


I'd reason it's because Mary Jane was the more famous/iconic choice for Peter's love interest at the time of the original films and the writers/producers wanted to try their best to appeal to a wider audience.

The Mary Jane entry on Wikipedia notes:

According to co-creator Stan Lee, Mary Jane was originally intended to be simply a rival for Gwen Stacy for the affections of Peter Parker. Lee had always intended for Gwen Stacy to be Spider-Man's one true love. The pairing of Mary Jane and Peter Parker became one of the most prominent couples in the superhero genre.

The 2002 film was one of the first big superhero adaptations in years, so they may have wanted to play it safe by choosing the more popular character, which at the time was definitely Mary Jane.

Since then, superhero movies have become much more popular and there have also been big changes within the Marvel universe such as Peter Parker and Mary Jane no longer being married. I would still argue that Mary Jane is more well-known than Gwen Stacy, but I don't think that fact mattered as much when they were making the reboot.

  • At the time of the 2002 movie, Mary Jane and Peter were married in the comics, and had been for nearly 15 years. Anybody who had recently read a Spider-Man comic, or wanted to get into them after seeing the film, would probably expect Mary Jane to be the woman for Peter in both. Jul 1, 2016 at 4:26

One possible reason might be the desired to avoid too much angst. A Gwen Stacy plot has to end with Peter blaming himself for Gwen's death, and being blamed by her father.

We already have that plot element in any Spider-man origin story with the death of Uncle Ben. Running the same plot device twice in the same movie seems wrong.

Those of us who were reading Spider-man in the 60's think of Betty Brant as Peter's first crush, and MJ as the first girl he has any significant relationship with. She may not have been Peter's first love, but she was many a reader's dream.

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    +1 for raising a point. But Betty Brant is just a crush and then he fall in love with Gwen, i know in most of spiderman series Gwen gone dead and peter blames himself but their is no compulsion to kill Gwen because Marvel movies mostly do slight different story then comic
    – Ankit Sharma
    May 19, 2012 at 18:59

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