Andrew Garfield, who plays the lead role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequels, posited this idea the other day: why can't Mary Jane Watson (the love interest and eventual wife of Spider-Man), be a man?
From Entertainment Weekly:
Andrew Garfield has loved Spider-Man since he was a little kid. He can speak eloquently and at length about how open the Spider-verse is for interpretation. Recently, he says, he had a philosophical discussion with producer Matt Tolmach about Mary Jane or “MJ” to fans.
“I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ,” he tells EW. “And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking!…So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”
Considering that there was, at one point, popular talk of having Spider-Man portrayed by an African-American (see the Donald Glover for Spider-Man campaign, mentioned in his stand-up special), it's an interesting idea, I think.
Not one that will see the light of day, considering this country's touchy feelings on homosexuality in popular culture (I can hear the shitty jokes now: "WELL I GUESS IT MAKES SENSE CONSIDERING PETER PARKER WAS ON BROADWAY LOL," one homophobic nerd types into a comment section before high-fiving himself and going back to ranting about how the current iteration of X-Men is the worst ever because the main cast is all women), but the idea of completely flipping the script on well-known characters is one that should have more legs than it does.
[h/t: Comic Book Movie]