Mary Jane Watson
|Mary Jane Watson|
Art by Adam Hughes
|First appearance||Partial appearance:|
The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965)
The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966)
|Created by||Stan Lee (writer)|
John Romita Sr. (artist)
Steve Ditko (artist)
|Full name||Mary Jane Watson|
|Place of origin||Earth-616|
|Supporting character of||Spider-Man|
|Notable aliases||Mary Jane Watson-Parker|
Mary Jane "MJ" Watson is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics and created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. The character made her first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25. Since then she has gone on to become Peter Parker's main love interest and later his wife.
The character has been portrayed by Kirsten Dunst in the three Spider-Man feature films directed by Sam Raimi (2002–2007) and by Shailene Woodley in deleted scenes of the 2014 film The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Other versions
- 4 In other media
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Mary Jane Watson, is first mentioned in The Amazing Spider-Man #15 (August 1964), and is initially used as a running joke of the series, as Peter Parker's Aunt May repeatedly attempts to set her unwilling nephew up on a date with her. Parker (also known as Spider-Man) consistently worms his way out of meeting Mary Jane who, aside from a brief appearance in #25 (June 1965) with her face obscured, is never actually seen until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966). Peter David wrote in 2010 that artist John Romita Sr. "made the definitive statement of his arrival by pulling Mary Jane out from behind the oversized potted plant [that blocked the readers' view of her face in issue #25] and placing her on panel in what would instantly become an iconic moment." Romita has stated that in designing Mary Jane, he "used Ann-Margret from the movie Bye Bye Birdie as a guide, using her coloring, the shape of her face, her red hair and her form-fitting short skirts."
According to co-creator Stan Lee, he and Romita had intended for Gwen Stacy to be Spider-Man's one true love, and introduced Mary Jane "just for fun", but that "somehow, Mary Jane seemed to have all the personality, and much as we tried to make Gwen more attractive, we couldn't! We, ourselves, felt that Mary Jane ended up being not only more attractive but more fun and more interesting, and we finally decided to let Peter end up with her, but it was ... as though the characters had taken over!" The names "Mary Jane" and "MJ" are also common slang terms for marijuana. When asked about this, Stan Lee claimed it was purely coincidental, that he knew nothing about drugs and never tried marijuana.
Gerry Conway succeeded Stan Lee as writer of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1972. Conway pushed Mary Jane to the forefront of the cast, and made her a serious love interest for Peter Parker. Like Lee, Conway found Mary Jane to be more compelling than Gwen: "[Mary Jane] hadn't lost the edge that made her an interesting character. Gwen didn't have an edge. She was just a nice person. I don't think she had a mean bone in her body, and wasn't likely to do something that was likely to screw things up for Peter, out of some misguided sense of self-aggrandizement, which Mary Jane was quite capable of doing - which makes her a much more interesting character."
In 1987, the character was married to Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. As a consequence, writer J. M. DeMatteis made Mary Jane and her marriage to Spider-Man one of the central themes of the critically acclaimed "Kraven's Last Hunt", published the same year as the wedding. DeMatteis commented that "'Kraven’s Last Hunt' has a lot of darkness in it, but the story primarily is about Peter and his journey into the light and the power of simple human love. The reason Peter makes it out is because he has Mary Jane in his life, and that is his salvation."
Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said that he feels the marriage ages the characters, making them less appealing to young readers, and lessens the dramatic, "soap opera" possibilities, but also stated that "divorcing or widowing, or annulling the marriage... would only be worse." He has also pointed out that the marriage itself was editorially mandated; Stan Lee decided to marry the characters in his daily newspaper strip and, even though the two were not even dating at the time in the comic book series, it was decided to marry them in the regular Marvel Universe as well. In 2007, Quesada presided over the controversial "One More Day" storyline, which he also drew, in which Peter and Mary Jane's marriage is erased from history and everyone's memories by the devil Mephisto. Quesada states he is an avid fan of the Peter and MJ relationship, and in several interviews has claimed that the alternate MC2 universe, in which Peter and Mary Jane are happily married, is a "natural progression" of the characters.
The erasing of Peter and Mary Jane's marriage was initially adopted in the newspaper strip as well, but due to negative reader reaction Lee later revealed it to be a bad dream. Mary Jane remains Spider-Man's wife in the newspaper strip continuity.
Fictional character biography
Mary Jane is depicted as an extremely beautiful, green-eyed redhead, and has been the primary romantic interest of Peter Parker for the last twenty years, although initially competing with others for his affection, most prominently with Gwen Stacy and the Black Cat. Mary Jane's relatively unknown early life was eventually explored in The Amazing Spider-Man #259.
Early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man featured a running joke about Peter dodging his Aunt May's attempts to set him up with "that nice Watson girl next door", whom Peter had not yet met and assumed would not be his type, since his aunt liked her (in the Parallel Lives graphic novel an identical scenario is shown between Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna). Mary Jane made her first actual appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), although her face was obscured. It is not until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966) that her face is actually seen. In that issue, on the last page, Peter finally meets her, and he is stunned by her beauty even as she speaks the now-famous line: "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!"
Peter begins to date her, much to the annoyance of Gwen Stacy. However, they eventually become irritated with each other and Peter subsequently chooses to date Gwen. Mary Jane, who becomes Harry Osborn's love interest and girlfriend, remains a close friend to Peter and Gwen.
Despite her enjoyment of life, her friendships, and dating, Mary Jane refuses to be tied down for too long. When her relationship with Harry Osborn comes to an end, it has significant impact on Harry, driving him to a drug overdose. This in turn creates a boomerang effect, driving his father Norman Osborn to the brink of insanity, temporarily restoring his memories as the Green Goblin.
After the Green Goblin murders Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man #121, Mary Jane attempts to comfort Peter. Peter, who is distraught over the loss of Gwen Stacy, angrily confronts MJ about her seemingly flighty and carefree attitude. He questions her ability to ever care about people like him and Gwen, and states "You wouldn't be sorry if your own mother died," unaware that her mother had actually died. Mary Jane is hurt by Peter's comments. She attempts to leave, but hesitates as she approaches the door, and ultimately chooses to stay with him. This served as a turning point in their relationship, and over the next couple of years, she and Peter become very close friends. Eventually, upon realizing the feelings that they share for one another, they decide to take their relationship to the next level. Their relationship has a few initial hurdles, such as MJ's hot temper and Peter's always dashing off to be Spider-Man.
Despite loving Peter, MJ does not wish to be tied down, and when she allows the relationship to progress too far, she is left with a difficult decision when Peter proposes to her. After taking a short time to consider, she turns him down. Following a series of traumatic experiences involving Peter's absences and his costumed alter ego endangering his Aunt May, a spiritually exhausted MJ leaves New York for several months. Peter meanwhile dates other women, most notably Felicia Hardy.[volume & issue needed]
MJ eventually returns, her behavior showing a marked change with her abandonment of her false front. Following an attack on Peter by Puma, she breaks down and admits her knowledge of Peter's secret identity in The Amazing Spider-Man #257. After learning of her own family history in The Amazing Spider-Man #259, Peter finds a new respect for her and begins to truly understand her. MJ makes it clear to Peter that knowing his identity changes nothing about her feelings, and that she only loves him as a friend.
Despite the one-shot graphic novel Amazing Spider-Man: Parallel Lives and Untold Tales of Spider-Man #16 revealing that Mary Jane discovered Peter's secret when she noticed Spider-Man climbing out of Peter's bedroom window after his uncle's murder, many comics published before this revelation claimed that she had simply "figured it out", with the details of how and when left ambiguous to the reader.[volume & issue needed]
After yet another period of reconsidering his priorities in life, Peter contemplates letting go of the Spider-Man mantle, with Mary Jane backing the decision, but his relationship with Felicia Hardy soon resumes. Feeling lost and guilty, Peter visits Mary Jane and apologizes with an awkward kiss before heading to Berlin with Ned Leeds.[volume & issue needed]
Following Ned Leeds' murder at the hands of the Foreigner, a changed and bitter Peter returns to New York, where his lack of direction in life is not helped when Ned is framed as the Hobgoblin, and Felicia elects to leave Peter behind as she is tied to the Foreigner. Mary Jane returns to Peter, presumably to patch things up, but Peter surprises her with a second proposal of marriage, which MJ again turns down. She returns to her family to settle old debts with her father, with Peter following her. After aiding her sister in having her crooked father arrested, and aiding Peter against a Spider-Slayer, Mary Jane has an epiphany on marriage, and agrees to become Peter's wife.
In spite of Peter and Mary Jane's mutual worry that they were marrying too early, Peter's concern for her safety, and her unwillingness to give up her "party girl" lifestyle, they marry. She adds Peter's surname to her own, making her Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Spider-Man wears his black costume around this time, but after Mary Jane is frightened by a stalking Venom, she convinces him to change back to his old costume.
Mary Jane continues to model after her marriage, but is stalked by her wealthy landlord, Jonathan Caesar. When she rejects his advances, he kidnaps her, but she manages to escape. While Caesar is briefly incarcerated, he uses his powerful business connections within the city and has her blacklisted as a model. She gets a role on the soap opera "Secret Hospital", but is unhappy with her character's air-headed and mean personality. On top of that, Caesar, who has been released from prison and is still obsessed with Mary Jane, plots to kidnap her again—this time intending to whisk her away to a private island he owns in the Caribbean. After luring Mary Jane to an abandoned studio and threatening to kill her, Caesar is confronted by Officer Goldman, a policeman assigned to Mary Jane's original case against him. Goldman then shoots Caesar dead, saving Mary Jane's life. Although she successfully petitions her boss to adjust her character's personality, a deranged fan tries to kill Mary Jane out of hatred for the actions of her soap opera character. Mary Jane quits her job out of fear for her own safety and returns to modeling. This, along with Peter's role as Spider-Man, triggers a growing divide. She briefly flirts with actor Jason Jerome, who tries to tempt her into a secret affair, kissing her twice. She resists out of faithfulness to Peter, but her weak rebuffs fail to convince Jerome, and she realizes she is enticed by him in spite of herself. However, she eventually realizes that her craving for romance can be filled by her husband as easily as an extramarital affair, and she pointedly rejects Jerome's advances while rebuking his behavior.
Due to this stress, and the seeming return of her husband's parents, Mary Jane begins smoking (a habit she had quit in high school), only increasing the tension between her and Peter. Peter ultimately convinces her to stop smoking when he tricks her into visiting Nick Katzenberg suffering heavily from lung cancer. When his parents are discovered to be fakes, Peter is unable to cope with the knowledge and disappears for a time. Mary Jane visits her sister Gayle and her father for the first time in years, and finally reconciles with them. Meanwhile, Peter overcomes his problems on his own. When she and Peter reunite, both are happier than they had been in a long time.[volume & issue needed]
During the 1994–96 "Clone Saga" storyline, Peter's clone, Ben Reilly, appears. Mary Jane discovers that she is pregnant. While she experiences some complications in her pregnancy, Reilly's scientist friend Seward Trainer helps her. Peter and Ben are told by Trainer that Ben is the real Peter Parker, and Peter is the clone. After conducting the tests themselves (tests which Seward rigged) they confirm Seward's story. A disbelieving Peter, while arguing with Ben, accidentally strikes Mary Jane. After this, he decides to quit as Spider-Man, because the stress of his double life is endangering his wife and unborn child. Peter, acting on hypnotic suggestion by the Jackal, attempts to kill Mary Jane, but is prevented by Ben Reilly (as the Scarlet Spider), his teammates the New Warriors, and Kaine. Later, Peter and Mary Jane leave New York and move to Portland, Oregon. They live there peacefully for several months, adapting happily to normal life after an accident causes subtle damage to Peter's genetic structure that disrupts his ability to use his powers. However, they miss New York City and their friends, and move back, a strange illness culminating in the restoration of Peter's powers. During the Onslaught crisis, Mary Jane is scanned by a Sentinel robot, who detects genetic abnormalities in her fetus.
Soon afterward, when Mary Jane's baby is already past due, she is poisoned by Alison Mongrain, an agent of the Green Goblin. Mary Jane's baby is stillborn. Combined with Ben's death in a battle with the reborn Norman Osborn and the revelation that the tests identifying Peter as the clone were actually rigged as part of Osborn's plan to break Peter's spirit, Peter returns to the role of Spider-Man.
Mary Jane returns to college to major in psychology, but the stress of the ongoing manipulations of Norman Osborn take their toll. After the Gathering of Five incident and the return of Aunt May, Mary Jane begs Peter to quit being Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed]
He is happy to do so for several months, but soon feels the tug of his great power and great responsibility to be a hero. Meanwhile, Mary Jane is offered a new modeling contract and reaches new heights of success. Peter becomes Spider-Man again behind Mary Jane's back, which puts strain on their marriage. At the same time, she begins receiving lewd and threatening phone calls from an anonymous stalker. Mary Jane is flying across America when her airplane explodes in midair in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #13 (January 2000). Peter is shocked and goes into deep denial over her death. Although he is set up with several other women, and his friends encourage him to move on, he believes she is still alive. Her mysterious stalker, an unnamed, telepathic mutant, has telepathically connected to Peter in some way, and wants to take over his life. He kidnapped Mary Jane as part of his plan and held her hostage for several months. The stalker kills himself after finally gleaning enough of Peter's personality and morality to discover that he had done terrible things. Peter and Mary Jane are reunited in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #29 (June 2001).
The stress of her captivity drives Mary Jane away. She moves to Los Angeles and immerses herself in acting — starring as the doomed love interest in the film Lobster-Man. Although missing Peter after he fails to meet her on a visit back to New York, she refuses to talk to him; Aunt May gets Peter to visit her in Los Angeles, however the two remain separated. Peter's encounter with the supernatural Spider-Wasp Shathra eventually leads to the two of them flying to New York and Los Angeles to see each other. Despite missing each other at their respective homes, they meet in an airport in Denver, Colorado where they reconcile after a brief encounter with Doctor Doom and Latverian terrorists.
During the events of the 2006 – 2007 "Civil War" storyline, when Peter and Mary Jane's apartment and Aunt May's house are burned down by Charlie Weiderman, and Spider-Man joins the New Avengers, Mary Jane and Aunt May accompany him to live in Stark Tower. Mary Jane immediately feels at home with the New Avengers and is happy to finally be a part of Spider-Man's world.[volume & issue needed]
The Civil War events forced Peter to stage a secret transfer of Mary Jane out of Stark Mansion, feeling that with the loss of his secret identity and his doubts about Tony Stark's ideas, Mary Jane had become a hostage in a luxurious house. Now residing in a cheap motel, her whole life had been affected, from her increasing difficulties in finding a new job as an actress to her being an easy target and prey, along with Aunt May, for the superpowered foes of Spider-Man.
Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May are targeted by an assassin working for Spider-Man's old foe, the Kingpin. When Peter returns to the Parker family's motel hideout, the assassin takes aim at Peter and fires, but hits Aunt May instead.[volume & issue needed] Peter and MJ scramble to save Aunt May's life, rushing her from hospital to hospital while trying to maintain their fragile cover of anonymity. In trying to keep May alive and hidden from Spider-Man's enemies, they become fugitives on the run.[volume & issue needed]
"One More Day"
During the 2007 "One More Day" storyline, Peter is forced to decide whether he will accept Mephisto's offer to save Aunt May in return for wiping the knowledge and memory of Peter and MJ's life together as husband and wife from the face of reality, which would leave only a single, subconscious piece of their souls to remember, allowing Mephisto to feast on the pain exhibited by those vestiges for eternity.[volume & issue needed]
MJ accepts Mephisto's offer, but only with the caveat that Mephisto promises to restore Spider-Man's secret identity. She also asks to put his life back as it was and have a chance at happiness. Mephisto accepts these terms, and in the revised timeline, which begins at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #545, and is further explained in the following issues, MJ and Peter were never married, but instead "dated seriously for years".[volume & issue needed]
According to interviews conducted with then-Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, every story prior to this story remains canon (this would later be contradicted as the events of later stories imply MJ never fell pregnant). Quesada also stated that a gap of undefined duration occurred between pages in "One More Day", during which the couple separated. By the end of that period, MJ has moved to California to become an actress, but continues to visit New York from time to time. In the epilogue to "One More Day", she attends a "coming home" party held by Harry Osborn during one such visit, with Peter catching a small glimpse of her before she left.
At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #560, as part of the "Brand New Day" storyline, Mary Jane makes her return as the girlfriend of actor Bobby Carr. In The Amazing Spider-Man #561, Mary Jane is seen getting into bed with Carr, and is later attacked by Paperdoll. Concealing herself in the panic room, Mary Jane observes a battle between Spider-Man and Paperdoll, and communicates with Spider-Man over the intercom. Mary Jane says that she and Spider-Man made a great team "in another life" and longingly touches a monitor screen showing his face, hinting that she still has strong feelings and misses him.
Peter does not learn that Mary Jane is the girlfriend of Carr nor that she was the voice on the intercom. Mary Jane is seen at the conclusion of the issue contemplating a phone call to Peter, but is hesitant to do so. She is asked for an autograph by Sara Ehret, an associate of Jackpot. Mary Jane tells her she does not know when she will return to New York. She left a message on Peter's machine but it was cut off before she could say anything.
Mary Jane has been living on the West Coast pursuing her acting career. She returns to New York after Carr is found to be taking Mutant Growth Hormone for a movie role, supplied by the White Rabbit. Carr complains that now she would tell them all about his drug use. His shallowness makes MJ walk away from him and take a TV job, which takes her back to New York.[volume & issue needed]
Mary Jane and Peter agree to meet with each other. Peter does not remember when or where as he had been drunk, and is further delayed due to his activities as Spider-Man. MJ also was drunk (while waiting for Peter to muster his courage in order to talk to her) and while she recalls their meeting she has overslept it. Issue 605 flashbacks to Mary Jane recalling a fight with Peter while he was dressed as Spider-Man, where she said that she did not care where he was and that he had a responsibility to their relationship. Peter begins to explain about his Uncle Ben, but Mary Jane interrupts him to say that he cannot let a single moment define his life.[volume & issue needed]
In the 2010 "One Moment in Time" storyline, it is revealed that Mary Jane whispered to Mephisto that Peter would not agree to the deal unless Mary Jane tells him to make it, and that Mephisto will leave Peter alone forever when the deal is done. Mephisto replies "Agreed, as far as I'm concerned—this never happened." In present time MJ shows up at Peter's door. They talk about how they have been acting towards each other lately and both agree they want to be friends. They recall how Peter missed what was supposed to be their wedding day due to his activities as Spider-Man, leading MJ to demand that he retire from crimefighting. His refusal to do so convinced MJ that they must remain unmarried, since any children they might have would be endangered by his being a superhero.
Mary Jane goes to check on Anna Watson, just in time to stop a hitman, who goes after her. Spider-Man saves Mary Jane and dispatches the hitman. Spider-Man brings the wounded Mary Jane to Doctor Strange, who performs a healing spell on her. Peter insists that Doctor Strange should make people forget he is Spider-Man. Peter enters a protective shell to shield himself from the changes. At the last moment, he leaps out of the shield and pulls Mary Jane in with him so she will not forget either. Back in the present, Mary Jane explains that, although she still loves him, she is not strong enough to be at his side. She tells him he has to move on and find somebody who can be with him.
Peter soon begins a new relationship with Carlie Cooper. Though initially jealous, MJ decides to respect their relationship, and encourages Peter to reveal his secret identity to her.[volume & issue needed]
"Spider-Island" and "Ends of the Earth"
During the "Spider-Island" storyline, much of New York City becomes infected with a virus that gives its inhabitants Peter's Spider-like abilities. MJ finds herself caught in a series of riots across the city. Saved by the intervening Future Foundation, MJ later locates Peter and Carlie, the latter having also been granted spider-powers. MJ encourages Peter to use his civilian disguise when displaying his powers and rally the city against the chaos. She would later attain spider-powers herself and come to the aid of defenseless citizens, her prolonged contact with Peter during their relationship granting her a degree of immunity that protected her from the mutative side-effects of the transformation. Peter successfully cures all of New York.
Shortly after, Carlie Cooper breaks up with Peter, having deduced his secret identity. Conflicted over her lingering feelings for Peter, Carlie confides in Mary Jane, and the two begin to bond over their experiences with Peter.
"Dying Wish" and The Superior Spider-Man
Mary Jane remains in the role of best friend and confidant to Peter until he begins to take an interest in her romantically again. They begin dating again. Unknown to MJ, Peter has had his mind swapped by Otto Octavius. The real Peter Parker, trapped in his rival's dying body, breaks out of prison and attempts to switch back, only for his body to eventually give out on him before he can complete the procedure. As a last resort, Peter downloads all of his memories and experiences into Octavius' mind, convincing his foe to develop some sense of responsibility. Octavius, as Peter, continues to date Mary Jane after this, but she begins noticing distinctly different character traits displayed by him, such as a heavy intake of alcohol and his rude behavior towards his loved ones. Octavius intends to become more intimate with her and makes several advances, only to be rebuffed each time. In desperation and frustration, Octavius relives Peter's memories with MJ, which infuriates Peter. After one of Octavius' Spider-Bots detect Mary Jane in trouble and saves her from the Vulture gang, Mary Jane moves to kiss him, but Octavius, who has by now developed genuine feelings for her, rebuffs her, and breaks up with her, though vowing to continue to protect her.
Peter's mind is returned to his body, and informs Mary Jane that it was Octavius' mind in control of Peter's body for the past several months. Mary Jane tells him that she knows Octavius' actions were not Peter's fault, but she cannot let his dual life affect her anymore. She recognizes and admires the choices Peter has made in his life, but now she wants to build her own life, mostly thanks to the successes she has enjoyed with her nightclub and her new relationship with Ollie.
All-New, All-Different Marvel
As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Mary Jane Watson is in Chicago, Illinois hosting the opening of her newest nightclub Jackpot. Mary Jane had opened this nightclub after MJ's got destroyed during a superhero battle. When a Belhilio is quickly killed by an energy blast from Madame Masque, people start to run away as Iron Man and Doctor Doom arrive to confront her. With Mary Jane's assistance, Masque is apprehended, but during the fight the nightclub is irrevocably damaged. Three days later, Iron Man approaches Mary Jane Watson in Grant Park while she is mourning the loss of her club and offers her a job working for him. Mary Jane later waits for Tony Stark at Stark Tower, but their audition is interrupted by Friday, who tells them that War Machine is missing. Before Tony becomes Iron Man and flies to Tokyo, Mary Jane gives Tony the emergency number for Peter Parker. It is revealed that Mary Jane declined Tony Stark's offer due to being uncomfortable around Friday. However, Tony sends Friday to plead Mary Jane to help him stop the board of directors from seizing his company while he's off on a mission. Mary Jane claims to the Board of Directors that she is the new executive administrator, and she and Friday convince the board that the company is in safe hands.
In the Amazing Spider-Man series, it is revealed that she has eventually accepted Tony's employment offer when she and Tony attend a Parker Industry event, making Peter very uncomfortable. Later, she catches up with Betty Brant and Harry Osborn, and the three discover that businessman Augustus Roman is actually the powerful being known as Regent who is imprisoning heroes and villains to add to his own strength. Spider-Man and Iron Man try to stop Regent, but are defeated due to Regent's overwhelming power. With few options left, Mary Jane dons Peter's Iron Spider armor and uses her experience in Iron Man's suit and her brief spider powers in Spider-Island to assist Peter and Tony in battling Regent. During the fight, Mary Jane and Tony distract Regent long enough for Peter, Harry, and Miles Morales to release the rest of the prisoners. Mary Jane's attitude towards Peter during her time with him reminds Peter not to let his work take priority over his loved ones. Spider-Man warns Tony not to take Mary Jane for granted as Peter did not realize he lost Mary Jane until after she moved on.
After "Civil War II", Tony was put into a comatose state and his body went missing due to his own covert machinations. Mary Jane along with Riri Williams and Amanda Armstrong went on a search for him, and it was not until Friday made a calculated analysis that the A.I. duplicate of Tony would know exactly where to find him. However, Tony was continually complicating the search by sending them to other locations, believing he needed his privacy until he was finally ready.
After Peter's company went belly up, and he got a new career as the Daily Bugle's science editor, Mary Jane started being more supportive of Peter getting his life back on track. After a less than stellar Alchemax demonstration, Mary Jane and Peter started being more romantically involved, but as Peter still wore his Spider-Man suit, Mary Jane was conflicted: she wanted Peter to stop being Spider-Man but people really counted on him and she did not want to be the one to do that. She has Peter exit her apartment as Spider-Man so if anyone sees they will just think she was talking with him because she knows Stark.
After Norman Osborn becomes the Red Goblin, MJ received a warning from Peter and adjusted Stark Tower's defences against a Symbiote intruder. However, because Venom arrived before Red Goblin, the defenses only injured Venom and had no effect on the Red Goblin. Surviving with minor injuries after a short skirmish, MJ urged Peter to absorb the Venom Symbiote, which would give him the edge to stop his arch-enemy. She, along with others attacked by Red Goblin, were cured of his Carnage spikes by Flash Thompson with the Anti-Venom symbiote.
As part of the Fresh Start relaunch event, Peter's personal life took serious knocks in both his civilian and heroic life: his doctorate was determined to be based on plagiarized work (due to him having received the doctorate when Doctor Octopus was controlling his body and the scientist used his own work) which led to him being fired from the Bugle, while the Kingpin tried to separate Spider-Man from other heroes by making him the only vigilante he would accept in the new anti-vigilante New York. However, his personal life picked up when he began reconnecting with Mary Jane more regularly and they talked about recent events. Finally, Peter told Mary Jane that he needed her in his life once again, prompting Mary Jane to decide on a "fresh start" and resume her romantic relationship with him.
In addition to her mainstream incarnation, Mary Jane Watson has been depicted in other fictional universes. In one reality visited by the Exiles, where she was Spider-Woman, she had a relationship with Exiles member Sunfire (Mariko Yashida).
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, she dated Harry Osborn before Peter and she learned Peter was Spider-Man in issue #13. She still had cameos in Ultimate Spider-Man comics after Peter had died in "The Death of Spider-Man" storyline in issue #160 and after his subsequent revival (in Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #7) as well.
In other media
- Mary Jane Watson appeared in the original Spider-Man cartoon, voiced by Peg Dixon. She appeared in the episode "The Big Brainwasher" (based on The Amazing Spider-Man #59–61). Unlike her comic book counterpart, she is the niece of police captain Ned Stacy.
- Mary Jane Watson appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Sara Ballantine. She first meets Peter Parker in "The Return of the Spider-Slayers", where May Parker sets Peter up on a blind date. At the time, Peter's main love interest was Felicia Hardy and Peter did not look forward to meeting Mary Jane but is left speechless upon meeting her. In "The Man Without Fear", Mary Jane reveals some martial arts talents. In season three's finale, Mary Jane is last seen when the Green Goblin discovers Spider-Man's true identity and takes her to the George Washington Bridge. Spider-Man tries to save her but she falls into a dimensional portal created by the Goblin's stolen time dilation accelerator. In season four, she appears alive and well at the site of the battle between the Goblin and Spider-Man. She resumed her relationship with Peter who eventually reveals the secret identity and proposes to her. In season five's premiere, Mary Jane and Peter subsequently marry and later she's kidnapped by Hydro-Man. While in captivity, Mary Jane discovers that she possesses water-based powers like Hydro-Man, however, she also discovers that she and Hydro-Man are actually clones created by Miles Warren, and that his controversial cloning technology is unstable. Not soon afterward Mary Jane and Hydro-Man's bodies began suffering from the imperfect cloning process and disintegrate. In the series finale, Madame Web promises Spider-Man the real Mary Jane will be found.
- Mary Jane Watson had a minor appearance in Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced by Jennifer Hale.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, voiced by Lisa Loeb. She appears as the on-and-off girlfriend of Peter Parker. Her hair is shorter here than in any other version. She was going to have long hair but there were difficulties rendering it with animation so it was cut down.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Vanessa Marshall. Despite May Parker's "wonderful personality" description due to this description given on those who are unattractive, Peter Parker finally meets her, and is stunned by her beauty even as she speaks the famous line; "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!" where it is arranged for them to attend a school dance together.[episode needed] Mary Jane later appears to attend the same school as Peter and Gwen Stacy. She later enters a short romantic relationship with Mark Allan.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series, voiced by Tara Strong. Like her Ultimate incarnation, she is a childhood friend/best friend of Peter Parker, and an aspiring journalist who dreams of reforming Daily Bugle Communications and rehabilitating Spider-Man's reputation that's attacked by J. Jonah Jameson on a daily basis. During seasons one and two, she initially thinks that Peter and Spider-Man are two individuals (unaware that both are one and the same), is a student at Midtown High School, and also has Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson as friends/acquaintances. Mary Jane is an occasional target for super-powered characters that Spider-Man encounters. She makes sporadic appearances in Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors consisting of cameo appearances while an alternate version based off her Noir iteration appears as Spider-Man Noir's potential love interest. In the episode "The Spider-Verse" [Pt. 3], she is used as bait by the Green Goblin so that the Goblin can steal Spider-Man Noir's DNA, and points out that Spider-Man Noir shouldn't leave the people who care. Mary Jane Watson returns in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six. She has a central role in the three-part "Symbiote Saga". She watches over Harry's comatose status even when the Carnage symbiote ran rampant. As Spider-Man with Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy dealt with Carnage's hive hosts and Anti-Venom, Mary Jane goes with Cloak and Dagger to Midtown High to broadcast a message giving a safe route to New York citizens to escape. Mary Jane gets transformed into the Carnage Queen, the leader of the Carnage-enveloped Midtown High hive that has also assimilated elements of the Anti-Venom symbiote. At the "heart" of Carnage's hive, Spider-Man, Patrioteer and Agent Venom encounter the Carnage Queen, subsequently fighting with the three young heroes. Because of Michael Morbius's mind-control device, the Carnage Queen holds Spider-Man for Morbius while Crossbones holds Agent Venom and Patrioteer. When Spider-Man breaks her mind-control device, the Carnage Queen fends off Morbius while Crossbones escapes. Spider-Man, Patrioteer and Agent Venom were able to free her from the Carnage Queen's possession by revealing their respective secret identities to give her the strength to break free of the Carnage symbiote. While given a check-up by S.H.I.E.L.D., she and Peter appear to realize their hidden feelings for the other, and it's hinted that she still has some of the symbiote inside of her. The episode "Return to the Spider-Verse" [Pt. 2] revealed that her Noir counterpart died as a result of a gang war between Joe Fixit and Hammerhead. The two's fight caused a building to come crashing down, and she went in to rescue some of the residents. Fixit tried to hold the building up to save Mary Jane but failed as she fell during her self-sacrifice. In the three part "Spider Slayers", Mary Jane reveals to Peter that, thanks to Dr. Curt Connors's experimentation, she can now control the symbiote to be Spider-Woman (also referenced as Spider-MJ), and joins the Web Warriors team. In the series finale, she attends S.H.I.E.L.D. academy as a new student as well.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in the 2010s Spider-Man animated series. She is first seen in the episode "Venom" as Midtown High's school mascot wearing a full-body tiger suit. She helps Spider-Man defeat Venom by engaging the crowd to use their air horns on Venom.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in the Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors prequel Initiation voiced again by Tara Strong. Like her Earth-65 counterpart, she is part of a musical band and is one of Gwen Stacy's friends.
- In James Cameron's aborted script, Mary Jane Watson was Peter Parker's love interest.
- In the three Spider-Man feature films directed by Sam Raimi (2002–2007), Mary Jane Watson was portrayed by Kirsten Dunst.
- In the 2002 feature film Spider-Man, Mary Jane is Peter Parker's childhood and high school crush, and high school girlfriend to Flash Thompson. Desperate to escape her abusive, alcoholic father, and to pursue a happier future, she breaks up with Flash after they graduate, and an aspiring actress, waiting tables to support herself. She dates Harry Osborn, Peter's best friend who knows of Peter's interest in her, but notes that Peter has never asked her out. She first develops an attraction to Spider-Man after the latter repeatedly rescues her, first from the Green Goblin and later from thugs in an alley, after which they share a kiss. She also grows closer to Peter, and in response, Harry breaks up with her. When Norman Osborn deduces Spider-Man's identity, Mary Jane gets kidnapped, and in a recreation of the Goblin's kidnapping of Gwen Stacy from the comics storyline, holds her at the top of a city bridge, but Spider-Man rescues her. Mary Jane and Peter later share a kiss as she tells Peter that she loves him, but Peter, fearing that a relationship between them would endanger her, rejects her. The heartbroken Mary Jane realizes that her kiss with Peter reminded her of the one she shared with Spider-Man.
- In the 2004 sequel Spider-Man 2, Mary Jane, frustrated at Peter's reluctance to be with her and apparent lack of commitment even as a friend (which occurs when Spider-Man's crimefighting keeps away from shared activities with her), begins a relationship with John Jameson. Deciding that being without her is too high a cost, Peter resolves to abandon being Spider-Man, despite the fact that Mary Jane accepts a marriage proposal from John. However, Mary Jane comes to realize that she does not truly love John. After Doctor Octopus kidnaps Mary Jane, Spider-Man rescues her, and during a struggle with Doc Ock, is unmasked in front of Mary Jane, confirming what she suspected. Refusing to let the potential dangers get in the way of their happiness, Mary Jane breaks up with John and begins a relationship with Peter.
- In the 2007 film Spider-Man 3, Peter decides to propose to Mary Jane, their future is complicated by professional setbacks suffered by Mary Jane, a rivalry for Peter's affections in the form of Gwen Stacy, manipulation by the scheming New Goblin seeking revenge, and by behavioral changes in Peter that are brought on by Peter's encounter with the symbiote. After Peter disposes of the symbiote which falls into the hands of photographer Eddie Brock to bond with, Venom kidnaps Mary Jane. Spider-Man defeats Venom, destroys the symbiote, and rescues Mary Jane. In the end, Peter and Mary Jane reconcile.
- In October 2012, Shailene Woodley was confirmed to be playing Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Her scenes were later cut from the film, with director Marc Webb explaining this as "a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter and Gwen and their relationship".
Mary Jane Watson has appeared in numerous Spider-Man video games.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, Mary Jane Watson is kidnapped by the Kingpin, and is hung over a tank of acid. She is freed if Kingpin is beaten in a certain amount of time. If the fight takes too long, she falls to her death and, after Kingpin is arrested by the police, Spider-Man vows revenge. If the player is defeated in battle, then both she and Spider-Man die.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man's endings in Capcom's Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in the Spider-Man game for the Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and PlayStation, voiced by Jennifer Hale. Venom believes that Spider-Man stole an invention of Dr. Octavius (it is later revealed that Mysterio is the actual thief) and kidnaps Mary Jane in attempt to get revenge. She is held in the sewers and must be rescued by Spider-Man.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace. Mary Jane forgets to purchase a fish bowl for fish she won at a carnival, and asks Peter Parker to retrieve one for her at the beginning of the game. In the end, Peter obtains one for her (Mysterio's helmet) and says "You'll never know the trouble I went through for this.".
- Mary Jane Watson appears in the 2002 Spider-Man game based on the film. Although Kirsten Dunst provided the likeness, she was voiced by Cat O'Conner.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man 2, where Kirsten Dunst reprised the role. In this game, like the movie, she is unaware of Peter's secret identity until the end. There is a brief additional storyline where Peter is tempted to abandon interest in Mary Jane due to the possibility of a new relationship with the Black Cat, but eventually abandons such a relationship when Peter realizes the importance of civilian life.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, voiced by Andrea Baker. She appears several times in the game, helping Peter Parker research and discover information on the villains Spider-Man must fight. The game ends with her talking to Peter. In the game's Nintendo DS version, the player must save an unnamed character who has Mary Jane's clothing and hair color.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man: Battle for New York.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man 3. Much like in the game based on the first movie, she is not voiced by Kirsten Dunst. Here, she is voiced by Kari Wahlgren.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Dana Seltzer. Unlike most of her appearances in Spider-Man games, she takes an active participation in one of the boss battles, taking out foes with a shotgun while Spider-Man fights a symbiote-possessed Black Cat. In the beginning of the game, she is caught in the crossfire during a fight between Venom and Spider-Man and is put into the hospital. She frequently appeared throughout the game, where her cutscenes are based on the player's choice. In one Red Suit ending, she joins Spider-Man in web slinging across New York. In another Red Suit ending, Spider-Man attempted to call her to apologize for his own actions but she did not pick up and left a message on her phone hoping that she'll one day forgive for what had to be done. In one Black Suit ending, Mary Jane abandons Peter completely for the willingness to use the Black Suit even after promising her otherwise, particularly when using its powers to save Black Cat. In another Black Suit ending, Spider-Man vows to reclaim Mary Jane.
- Mary Jane Watson is referenced in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. She is referenced by Deadpool in the Ultimate level as a "redhead" that Spider-Man is always saving. Deadpool accuses Spider-Man of being in a love triangle with her and Kitty Pryde, much to the latter's embarrassment.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in the video game Spider-Man: Edge of Time, voiced by Laura Vandervoort. While temporarily trapped in the year 2099, Spider-Man discovers records of Mary Jane's death back in the 'prime' time in an accident at Alchemax, forcing the future Spider-Man to try and save her. After rescuing Mary Jane from a falling elevator, Mary Jane comments that Miguel O'Hara is just as brave and unselfish as another Spider-Man she knows.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Tara Strong.
- Mary Jane Watson makes a cameo in Lego Marvel's Avengers.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced again by Tara Strong. She appears in a non-playable situation often appearing in story line dialogues. She has received several playable forms in later updates, including her Spider-Island powers, Spider-Armor, and in a Regent Power suit.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in Marvel Avengers Academy. She appears as part of the Spider-Man event, and is given the Iron Spider armor to wear similar to the "Power Play" arc in the comics.
- Mary Jane Watson appears in the 2018 Spider-Man video game, voiced by Laura Bailey. Similar to her Ultimate counterpart, she is portrayed as an investigative reporter for the Daily Bugle. She and Peter were in a relationship months before the game's plot, with MJ aware of his dual life as Spider-Man, but her frustrations with his protective behavior led to a break up. Her reporting duties cause her and Peter to cross paths after months without contact, and she offers to work together with Spider-Man, as a full partner, to investigate a new wave of crime in the wake of Wilson Fisk's arrest. During the story, she and Peter struggle with defining their relationship romantically and as a crime-fighting duo as their work brings them closer together. She is also featured as a playable character during various investigative stealth gameplay portions in the story.
- Mary Jane is also in Marvel Rising: Initiation (a tie-in to Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors), voiced again by Tara Strong. This version is based on her role in the Spider-Gwen storyline.
Romance novelist Judith O'Brien wrote two young adult novels featuring a teenage Mary Jane in 2003 and 2004. They featured illustrations by Mike Mayhew.
The first novel is a basic retelling of the origin story from Mary Jane's point of view. She is depicted as a shy, insecure girl who knew Peter Parker from elementary school. She deals with such problems as anorexia and peer pressure.
At a field trip to Osborn Industries, Peter is bitten by a spider, which grants him powers. It is later revealed that Norman Osborn had injected a super drug known as OZ into the spider, which he later uses as a sports drink which he sells to Mary Jane's classmates. The use of OZ is the only real connection to Ultimate, but even that is drastically different from the way it is portrayed in the original comics, being much closer to Bill Jemas' original concept. As Peter suits up to become Spider-Man (his origin with Uncle Ben is only hinted at), Mary Jane sets out to expose Norman with Peter's help.
The novel was successful with teenage girls who were not familiar with the comics, but was met with criticism from the core fans due to its characterization of some of the characters (most notably Harry Osborn, who is portrayed as manipulating Peter into doing his homework while treating him horribly) and changing continuity.
The second novel, Mary Jane 2, deals with the continuing relationship of Peter and Mary Jane, and the emergence of Gwen Stacy. In this continuity, Gwen is an 'ugly duckling' who Mary Jane gives a 'makeover'. However, Gwen soon has feelings for Peter. Harry Osborn reappears and is made more sympathetic than he was in the previous novel; with his father in jail, he is now poor and has to live without a life of luxury.
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After teasing the readers for more than two years, Stan Lee finally allowed Peter Parker to meet Mary Jane Watson.
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We wanted Gwen to be the heroine of the book, but no matter how we wrote it, Mary Jane always seemed more interesting! We used to joke about it: 'We can't even control our own characters!'
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