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Oh, Zendaya knows all about that ‘Spider-Man’ female lead-to-tennis player ‘prophecy’

Eva Hartman – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Just like Zendaya did with the trend of every pair of “Spider-Man” co-stars dating, the actor has fulfilled another franchise prophecy.

The “Challengers” actress is well aware of the alleged “pipeline” through which female “Spider-Man” leads later star in tennis movies. She reacted to the trend last week on “Good Morning America,” where she was appearing to promote “Challengers” with co-stars Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor.

Host Robin Roberts showed Zendaya a meme with six photos, two each for her (who played Peter Parker’s and Spider-Man’s love interest, MJ), Kirsten Dunst (also MJ) and Emma Stone (who played love interest Gwen Stacy). Three of the shots showed the women in their respective “Spider-Man” roles.

The other three? They showed Dunst in the 2004 rom-com “Wimbledon,” Stone as Billie Jean King in 2017’s “Battle of the Sexes” and Zendaya in her current role as tennis coach Tashi Donaldson in “Challengers.”

“(T)his spider-man to tennis pipeline is something serious,” read the X tweet that came with the meme.

The group laughed in recognition of the post.

“You, Emma Stone, Kirsten Dunst … now you’ve all gone on to play a role as a tennis player!,” Roberts exclaimed. “What’s this pipeline?”

“I have seen this,” The “Euphoria” star said. “This is so cool.”

Zendaya played boyfriend Tom Holland’s love interest MJ in the three most recent “Spider-Man” movies, the first to be included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She succeeded Dunst, who portrayed Mary Jane alongside Tobey Maguire in the original 2000s trilogy, and Emma Stone, who appeared opposite Andrew Garfield in 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” and its 2014 sequel.

“We were joking,” Zendaya said. “I was like, maybe it’s just some prophecy that I need to fulfill.”

The superhero franchise is no stranger to jokes about actors who portray its roles: Holland, Garfield and Maguire all put their Spidey suits back on for the 2021 multiverse mash-up “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and they re-created another meme while on set, posing for a photo all pointing at one another.

“It’s quite funny, isn’t that? I don’t know,” Zendaya added. “I guess it worked out for all of them.”

“Challengers” opened in theaters Thursday.

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©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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