This, if true, is a probably a good thing. In the wake of the overstuffed Spider-Man 3, Sony and director Marc Webb seem to be taking the character back to a simpler movie storyline. So reports that the film would feature two classic love interests, Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy, seemed slightly at odds with that ‘back to basics’ approach. But what if Mary Jane wasn’t a factor?

Now The Wrap says that reports placing both characters in the film were wrong, and that Gwen Stacy, to be played by Emma Stone, will be the sole female lead. That makes more sense both from a storytelling perspective and a casting one. Why cast Emma Stone as Gwen when Mary Jane Watson is pining for her own actress? Stone is an excellent choice for the lead, and if Gwen Stacy is the choice, then things make a lot more sense.

This news is in the wake of casting reports that put Martin Sheen in the shoes of Spidey’s Uncle Ben and Sally Field perhaps in the role of Aunt May. Casting such a notable actor as Ben suggests that he’s either got a big part in the film — origin story time once more — or that we’ll see significant flashbacks to Spidey’s earliest days. That said, outside of knowledge about the basic roles, which include Rhys Ifans playing Curt Connors aka The Lizard, we still know little about the story.

So: Is Spider-Man the same without Mary Jane? She’s a significant part of the storyline, especially for people who’ve grown up with the character via the Sam Raimi movies. But a film without her will do more to make Marc Webb’s Spider-Man its own thing. Seems like a good idea, but what do you think?

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