Why We Didn't See Spider-Sense In 'Spider-Man: Homecoming', And The Future Of Zendaya's Character

Spider-Man: Homecoming swung into theaters last Friday and emerged from the weekend as the most beloved Spider-Man movie yet. One of the reasons the movie works so well is that it avoids rehashing Peter Parker's origin story and skips a lot of beats we've already seen in other cinematic variations on the character. That includes Spider-Man's famous "spider-sense," a precognitive power that gives him a slight edge over opponents and alerts him to danger seconds before it happens.

In a batch of new interviews, director Jon Watts and producer Kevin Feige explain why we didn't see any specific spider-sense sequences in Homecoming, Feige lays out some breadcrumbs pertaining to the future of Zendaya's character, and Aunt May actress Marisa Tomei reveals her "horrified" reaction to learning about her character's age in the comics.

Spider-Man Homecoming

Why We didn't See Spider-Sense In Homecoming

Let's tackle the spider-sense stuff first. Speaking with Collider, Watts essentially says they avoided addressing the topic in Homecoming because audiences are already familiar with it:

"The idea was, again, just you want to make this movie be less about things you've already seen before, and you've definitely already seen a spider sense sequence done extremely well in Marc [Webb]'s and [Sam] Raimi's movies...It could be something that develops over time or we can do it in a different way. It's something that seemed like maybe there's a cool thing to do with that eventually, but let's not crowd this movie with something we've already seen before... That could be ... I'm just making things up right now, but it could be something like you're saying that develops over time."

But just because this movie didn't focus on that ability doesn't mean that Peter Parker doesn't have it. According to IGN, Feige believes otherwise, and if anyone knows, it'd be him:

"No, I think he has it. And I think he has it with or without that suit. I think how we explore it in a cinematic sense will change. I mean, that was sort of a big showy part of previous versions and we thought that we'd make it more of an internal, sort of second nature thing for him. But there are ways coming up that will slowly hint at that and also just make it part of his, you know, his natural abilities. But we don't know that if it will be — I think we'll explore it further down the line, but [it's] definitely him, not the suit."

Sounds like there's a chance we could be seeing Peter display this power as soon as next year's Infinity War, so we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for that.

Warning: spoilers for Homecoming (and beyond) ahead, so if you haven't seen the film yet, turn back now.

Spider-Man Homecoming spider-sense

Let's Talk About Zendaya's Character

Let's talk about Zendaya's character for a second. She's an excellent comedic presence hovering around the edges of Homecoming, and I'd have much rather seen a few more minutes of her than a few more minutes of Spidey and Vulture fighting on top of an invisible ship during the movie's climax. We learn that her character's name is Michelle, but her friends call her "MJ," a little nod to Spider-Man's longtime comic love interest Mary Jane Watson. But let's be clear: Zendaya is not playing Mary Jane. In an interview with Den of Geek, Feige explains:

"In setting up this will be a very different thing, she's not Mary Jane Watson – that's not who the character is. But giving her the initials that remind you of that dynamic certainly is intriguing about what could go forward...Clearly, she says she's not obsessed with [Peter], she's just observant. But she's there. And to have fun with that while at the same time having it be different characters that can provide a different dynamic [is the point]."

It's clear that Feige and his team thought long and hard about the key components of what makes a good Spider-Man movie and how to keep those foundational elements in place while also shaking up the rest of the story so it doesn't just feel like slogging through things we've seen five times in the past fifteen years. Creating a new version of MJ is a perfect example, and also a great way to keep fans on their toes; because she's a brand new character, we don't have decades of comic history that spell out her fate or anything that might happen to her. It's a blank slate.

And finally, Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei spoke to the New York Times about playing a younger, sexier version of Peter's traditionally elderly Aunt May, and how she reacted when she first learned about the nature of the character:

"I was horrified. Talk about crushed. [laughs] I went through the whole negotiation without knowing. They just kept saying 'an iconic character, an iconic character.' It sounds kind of ridiculous, but it all happened very quickly. It was right before Captain America: Civil War was shooting. Everything happened within maybe 10 days. But I was more focused on my deal, honestly. And then, the illustration was revealed to me...There's nothing wrong with that depiction of the character. I don't want to be coming from an ageist point of view about that, at all. It was my own personal cross to bear at that moment. But in the scope of things, why not? I thought, maybe I should lean into that and go full-on silver hair. Instead, we gave her long hair."

Not quite sure how silver hair and long hair were comparable choices in that scenario, but either way, it worked out pretty well. May is another character in Homecoming that could have used some more screen time, but now that she knows that Peter is Spider-Man (as revealed in a final moment that was a fun riff on the end of Iron Man, a film about Peter's idol and mentor), she should be getting much more room to work in future Spidey-centric movies.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is in theaters now, and we'll see Tom Holland suit up as the web-slinger again in Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, 2018.