Like any cinematic project, 2021’s threequel Spider-Man: No Way Home underwent its share of creative revisions.
According to the official Spider-Man: No Way Home – The Art of the Movie artbook, recently revealed concept art of Zendaya’s portrayal of MJ shows her playing a more significant role in the final battle of Spider-Man: No Way Home atop the Statue of Liberty. While the scene did not make the final version of the film, the concept art shows MJ wearing Doctor Strange’s Cloak of Levitation, which allows her to fly around the Statue of Liberty.
Additionally, the image captured Ned Leeds, portrayed by Jacob Batalon, looking on at MJ in amazement. This scene would have diverged from the final cut, where Ned, not MJ, harnessed the cloak’s powers. Along with MJ’s Cloak of Levitation, other concept art released from Spider-Man: No Way Home – The Art of the Movie showed another scrapped concept, this time featuring Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin sporting an Iron suit. The book also revealed scrapped scenes like Spider-Man’s symbiote suit and a clash between Green Goblin vs. Doctor Octopus.
In a December 2021 interview, both Zendaya and Tom Holland recounted an instance where producers wanted to make MJ a superhero. “They were trying for a while though, do you remember that?” Holland said regarding a possible super-MJ, to which Zendaya agreed. However, the actor also shared that she’s happy with a super-powerless MJ. “I leave the superhero-ing to this one,” Zendaya said. “I’m actually really happy with MJ, and the character that she is and that she plays.”
At the time, Zendaya also added her belief that MJ works best as part of a team. “Spider-Man saves the world, but he needs help, y’know?” she said. “He cannot do it on his own, at the end of the day he’s just a young person trying to figure it out, that’s where Ned and MJ come in and they try to help him figure it out. They’re all very smart kids, let’s not forget. They put their brains together, and they’re there for each other, and they support each other, so I’m totally fine with being part of a team.”
MJ, a central figure in the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy, eventually had her memories of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) erased by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), marking an end to their connection. The omission of this intriguing subplot involving MJ and the Cloak of Levitation would have changed the dynamics of the movie’s final battle, including the moment when Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man redeems himself by saving MJ from falling.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now streaming on Starz.
Source: Spider-Man: No Way Home – The Art of the Movie, via The Direct