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Gwen Stacy is having a moment, and rightly so. Ghost-Spider (or Spider-Gwen, depending on your preference) is the moment, actually, thanks khổng lồ her astoundingly successful Marvel Comics run & her increased presence in Sony's new animated masterpiece Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Before Hailee Steinfeld donned the mask, Emma Stone brought Gwen khổng lồ vivacious life alongside Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man. Stone's version was likely the most well-known lớn audiences prior khổng lồ Steinfeld, and one beloved by the Spider-Man fanbase. Yet neither actress can claim the honor of introducing Gwen Stacy to live action. That originator is a giant of a talent, a maestro in front of and behind the screen. In short: remember when Bryce Dallas Howard played Gwen in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3?

Gwen's presence in Raimi's final Spider-Man installment seems mostly forgotten in the face of Tobey Maguire nhảy memes. Sadly, Howard's Gwen had things against her from the start. Not only was Gwen introduced in a movie so universally derided that even its director calls it "awful," most of what little screentime's afforded to lớn Gwen involves a love triangle that's half-hearted at best và unnecessary at worst. Some critical re-examination of Spider-Man 3 might be worth the effort after sixteen years, but let's put that on the back burner. Instead, let's talk about Gwen Stacy via the queen of modern television directors, Bryce Dallas Howard.

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How Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man 3’ Uses Gwen Stacy

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Everyone knows Peter Parker (Maguire) and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) are endgame. It's comic book legacy, and Raimi's films made no bones about khổng lồ whom Peter's heart belonged. Spider-Man saw him quietly pining for the girl next door; Spider-Man 2 brought the lovebirds together. With that established reasoning và two films chronicling their blossoming romance, it's clear no attempt at a love triangle will last long, right?

Spider-Man 3 sees the nguồn couple riding the wave of a blissful romance toward marriage. However, as befalls most superheroes' love lives, Peter's masked heroism leads to lớn a temporary break-up. Gwen Stacy's narrative role in this turmoil, alas, is mostly as a walking plot device. Gwen is an obstacle intended to lớn manifest dramatic tension between Peter và MJ before they reconcile. This meager attempt at a love triangle boils down khổng lồ some misunderstood situations và the Venom symbiote wreaking havoc, but seeing Gwen introduced late in the game & shunted to lớn the side is a shame. Even though her comic book legacy is irrevocably tied lớn Peter, Gwen has always had more to lớn give beyond the stock love interest or executing one-third of a tired trope. Thankfully, some comics understood the assignment; Spider-Man 3 screenwriters Raimi, his brother Ivan Raimi, & Alvin Sargent missed the memo.

Don't get me wrong — at least Howard's Gwen doesn't die lượt thích her comics counterpart. Or have twins with Norman Osbourne (shudder). But shouldn't Gwen Stacy's introduction to lớn the mainstream blockbuster world have more, well, bite? Across the Spider-Verse aside, Spider-Man 3 is a striking contrast lớn The Amazing Spider-Man films where Gwen fulfills her love interest duties without losing her status as Peter's intellectual equal. Why not allow Howard's Gwen to lớn remain a good friend to Peter instead of retroactively incorporating their romantic sparks? Instead, we have Peter, controlled by Venom, using Gwen khổng lồ make MJ jealous và therefore hurting two women at once. Shame on you, young man!

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All that said, Gwen Stacy's story in Spider-Man 3 isn’t a total wash by any means. Now a blockbuster actress và an astonishing director, Howard joined Spidey's colorful world a few years after her two-time partnership with M. Night Shyamalan and outings with directors lượt thích Kenneth Branagh and Lars von Trier. She was a known name in her own right, & to no one's surprise following stellar performances like in The Village, Howard's performance is fantastic. Gwen is truly lovely; there isn't a duplicitous or cruel bone in her body. Howard imbues Gwen with such a genuine sweetness. She's wide-eyed but confident, she nails questions in science class, & she's a grateful champion for Spider-Man after he rescues her from falling lớn her death. Her tentative excitement during her date with Peter is the most adorable shy puppy energy, and her apology khổng lồ Mary Jane is heartbreaking. Howard's Gwen sparkles & easily could have soared, which makes how ruefully little she's utilized even sadder.

Before taking the role, Howard was a massive fan of Raimi's first two Spider-Man films. She researched her way through decades of comics & felt a responsibility to appropriately honor Gwen's enduring legacy. Speaking to lớn IGN about Gwen and Peter's tragic romance, Howard said, “I have so much reverence for their relationship, just as a fan."

Howard was also committed to not letting the script reduce Gwen to, in her words, “some kind of man-stealing tart. <...> I tried to lớn establish that Peter Parker và Gwen Stacy were friends from school và she was part of their circle & MJ just misinterprets some of Gwen's actions.” Thankfully, despite its flaws, Spider-Man 3 avoids portraying Gwen as that noxious stereotype. Yet the reason Gwen feels like a fully fleshed individual is due to Howard's delicate, earnest performance.

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With many of Raimi's actors reprising their roles for Spider-Man: No Way trang chủ and the multiplicity of multiverses going around in Across the Spider-Verse, Howard would happily return as Gwen. If No Way home can have three Peters & Across the Spider-Verse hundreds of Spider-People (over 250, khổng lồ be exact), why not multiple Gwen Stacys? It would be a delightful Easter Egg & a gentle correction of an oversight in one. Every version of the character has more lớn give than just being a love interest, after all.

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Tobey Maguire"s Spider-Man trilogy almost gave Gwen Stacy a bigger role in Spider-Man 2, but it also would have seen her tragic death.

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Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy had Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) as Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) love interest, but it almost added Gwen Stacy years before she appeared in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, & she would have still been doomed khổng lồ a tragic ending. Spider-Man is one of the most popular and beloved characters from Marvel Comics, but he had to go through many obstacles to lớn make the jump from the comic book pages khổng lồ the big screen. Spider-Man finally got his chance in 2002 thanks to lớn Sam Raimi in the movie simply titled Spider-Man, which explored his origin story và saw him face his first villain: Norman Osborn a.k.a. Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe).

Spider-Man is credited for redefining the superhero genre & the summer blockbuster, & its success made way for two more movies, though not all of them were well-received. Spider-Man 2 is regarded as one of the best superhero movies lớn date, while Spider-Man 3 is widely considered the worst in the trilogy, but one good thing the trilogy did was continue the complicated romance between Peter và MJ, with Harry Osborn (James Franco) thrown into the mix lớn make a love triangle. However, Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy almost had another female character as a love interest for one of its male leads: Gwen Stacy, but she wasn’t going to lớn have a happy ending.

Related: Why Sam Raimi Thinks Spider-Man 3 Failed (Is He Right?)

Gwen Stacy Almost Appeared (And Died) In Spider-Man 2


Set two years after the events of the first movie, Spider-Man 2 follows Peter Parker as he giao dịch with an existential crisis between his life as Peter & his superhero duties as Spider-Man that temporarily leaves him without powers, all while facing a new villain: Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), a scientist who after a failed experiment, ended up neurologically fused to mechanical tentacles. If that wasn’t enough, Peter also continued dealing with problems in his personal life, especially in his unstable relationship with MJ and with his best friend Harry, who resented him for knowing Spider-Man, who he thought had killed his father. Spider-Man 2 could have taken Harry’s story in a different direction with the introduction of Gwen Stacy, but it would have made his arc even more tragic.

During the development of Spider-Man 2, David Koepp was brought on board khổng lồ co-write the script with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, & he originally wanted to địa chỉ cửa hàng Gwen Stacy lớn tell her story with Harry Osborn, who she dates in the comic books. In an interview with Collider, Koepp shared that his trilogy idea was to lớn have Gwen killed in the middle of Spider-Man 2, as that followed “sort of the Empire Strikes Back model”, but in the end, his ideas weren’t used. Instead, Harry spent the whole trilogy in a love triangle with MJ và Peter Parker, và Gwen Stacy had a minor role in Spider-Man 3.

Related: Why Bryce Dallas Howard's Gwen Stacy Was So Different In Spider-Man 3


Gwen Stacy was given a place in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, but it was a small one that completely wasted the character. Gwen Stacy was introduced as Peter's lab partner who was attracted khổng lồ Spider-Man, while Peter's rival at the Daily Bugle, Eddie Brock, was attracted khổng lồ her. When Peter was under the symbiote's influence, he asked Gwen out to make MJ jealous, with Gwen apologizing khổng lồ MJ when she realized what Peter had done. Gwen was only used as a device to bring conflict between Peter và MJ, & Peter and Eddie, but luckily, The Amazing Spider-Man movies did justice to lớn her, but they also gave her the tragic ending she had in the comics.