When Spider-Gwen (now Ghost-Spider) made her first appearance in Marvel’s Edge of Spider-Verse #2 in 2014, she immediately became a fan-favorite character. Co-created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez (based on a concept by Dan Slott), Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 has her own tragic backstory. Her best friend, Peter Parker, is dead; the radioactive spider who bit his Earth-616 counterpart bit Gwen instead.
In addition to playing drums for The Mary Janes and maintaining a good relationship with her dad — who happens to the captain of the police force — Gwen becomes the Spider-Woman of her world, which leads to quite a few complications down the line. In the current ongoing series written by Seanan McGuire and illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa, she’s straddling two worlds: her home in Earth-65, and her newly-minted college schedule in Earth-616.
Outside of comics canon, Ghost-Spider is just as popular, largely thanks to her appearance in last year’s multi-award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. She’s voiced by Hailee Steinfeld in the animated movie, but here at The Beat, we have some ideas of who could play Ghost-Spider in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Without further ado, here are our picks for who could play Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spider/Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 in the MCU.
(Chosen by Aaron Halls)
For anyone not named Peter Parker, being associated with the title of Spider comes with a pair of big shoes to fill; similarly, my choice is saddled with the weight of bringing in an actor related to two Hollywood powerhouses, but is slowly carving out her own destiny. Maya Hawke may be the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, but that was last thought on everyone’s mind when she was a scene stealer on the recent season of Stranger Things; as her character Robin, Hawke displayed all the charisma to be a captivating wall crawler — vulnerable, funny, and charming. Hawke, like Gwen, is also a musician, meaning the actress can bring the head-banging Mary Janes band scenes fans deserve to life.
(Chosen by Hannah Lodge)
This is wishful but unlikely thinking since we know Florence Pugh is joining the MCU in the upcoming Black Widow solo movie (which presumably will bridge her character into potential future MCU films), but I think she’d make the perfect Spider-Gwen. She’s shown what a dynamic range she has in a number of recent performances, like Midsommar, where her portrayal fluidly ranges from hyper-dramatic to standard teen angst. On top of that, she’s an excellent physical performer.
(Chosen by Kyle Pinion)
This is a difficult pick for me, as I’m woefully undereducated in young early 20s actresses and when doing the research I found that, thanks to the machinations of Hollywood, so many are relegated to Disney teen shows. Before you know it, they’re having to play some kid’s mom that’s only 10 years younger than them. But! I am familiar enough with Olivia Holt, who plays Tandy on Cloak and Dagger. Holt could slide into the role of Gwen Stacy fairly easily. She’s the right age, right type, and she’s got a vacancy in her schedule with Cloak and Dagger getting cancelled. Seems to me the time is right for a promotion!
(Chosen by Gregory Paul Silber)
As Jojo Rabbit‘s Elsa, a Jewish-German girl hiding in the title character’s attic during the final days of World War II, Thomasin McKenzie displayed heartbreak, resilience, and a wicked sense of humor — sound like anyone you know? Teenage characters played by actors well into adulthood is a pet peeve of mine (I’m looking at you, 30-year-old Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man 2!), but at 19, the New Zealand actress is still young enough to believably play 15-17, much like Tom Holland when he began his Spidey tenure. More importantly, Jojo Rabbit proved McKenzie can handle Gwen’s balance of tough and vulnerable, with a touch of unpredictability.
(Chosen by Edward Douglas)
This is a little tougher, because we’re not just having to pick a new actress to play Gwen Stacy, following in the footsteps of Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3) and Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man), but also one that’s younger and with the personality to keep an audience interested. Marvel Comics has done a pretty good job keeping “Spider-Gwen” or as she’s now known, “Ghost Spider.” (Let’s hope they don’t call her that, as “Spider-Woman” was perfectly fine for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.)
With that in mind, we have to think younger and maybe blonde? I’ve got it. Mckenna Grace. Sure, the 13 year-old has already played a Marvel character, i.e. the young Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel, but if you’ve seen her movie Gifted with Chris Evans, you know that she’s capable of so much more. She’s going to be in next year’s Ghostbusters and the SCOOB animated movie, and she starred in this year’s Annabelle Comes Home, so she already has the chops to carry the movie. I’m even going to offer an alternate in case Grace is considered too young, and that is Hit-Girl herself: Chloë Grace Moretz!
(Chosen by Samantha Puc)
Maddie Hasson has proven her superhero chops in the YouTube Original Series Impulse, and she has the right look and attitude to pull off Ghost-Spider too. Gwen is seriously smart and seriously quick-witted, but she’s also painfully earnest and exceedingly kind. Hasson can embody all these aspects of the character and more — plus, she’s young enough to stick around for a while, which is helpful in a potentially sprawling, years-long piece of the MCU.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know who you’d cast in the comments! And don’t forget to check out our other picks for fellow Spider Miles Morales, plus Catwoman, The Penguin, and Wolverine, as well as five comics roles Keanu Reeves should play onscreen.