Forget Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy, Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man / Peter Parker should have ended up with his landlord’s daughter, Ursula Ditkovich (Mageina Tovah).
Die-hard Spidey fans, especially those who read the comics, know that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson have had more downs than ups in their lengthy relationship. From alternate reality doppelgangers to literal deals with the devil, there’s always something standing in the path of Peter’s love.
Maybe that’s why the iconic Sam Raimi trilogy of Spider-Man films had Peter and Mary Jane’s complicated relationship as an enduring plot point throughout the three movies. In a moment that might be the trilogy’s most faithful adaptation of a comic book storyline, Peter and his beloved end on somewhat bittersweet terms.
However, for every waking hour Peter spent daydreaming about his childhood crush and whether or not she could fit into his life as an arachnid vigilante, there was another character introduced in the Sam Raimi trilogy always there to pick up the pieces of Peter’s broken heart.
Ursula Ditkovich is the unsung heroine of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, and I think most fans would have been okay with her becoming Peter Parker’s newfound love interest.
Love Blossoms in Unlikely Places
For many Spidey fans, Spider-Man 2 is the pinnacle of what a live-action Spider-Man film should be. Instead of upping the ante with larger, more shocking action setpieces like most modern superhero flicks do, this sequel provided a closer look into the life of Peter Parker as an ordinary guy living in the Big Apple on a meager wage.
Sure, he might be Spider-Man, but he also has to pay rent – and that’s where Mr. Ditkovich comes in.
Peter’s landlord is a character explicitly created for Sam Raimi’s film trilogy. Although Mr. Ditkovich might seem like a strict guy, he still treats Peter with respect – even if some of his apartments could barely qualify as such. Still, he still shows some appreciation for Peter, even giving him some “tips” on how to mend his relationship with Mary Jane in Spider-Man 3.
Much like her father, Ursula Ditkovich helped Peter Parker through some of the most hopeless moments in his life in New York City. She was consistently there to hear Peter vent his frustrations – always with a glass of milk and a slice of chocolate cake at the ready.
After some of the events in Spider-Man 2 – particularly those involving Mary Jane and her upcoming wedding – it seemed like the movie was about ready to introduce Ursula as a new romantic interest for Spidey. For some reason, this relationship never truly developed, leaving Ursula Ditkovich just as Peter Parker’s best friend – even if she wasn’t even acknowledged as such.
Mary Jane and Peter Parker 4Ever?
It’s no secret that the final Sam Raimi Spider-Man flick had a troubled development and an even worse fan reception. It was so bad that it killed any possible prospects for any future entries in the franchise – even though there were plans already for a Spider-Man 4.
This might explain why Spider-Man 3‘s ending feels so rushed: Peter Parker’s story wasn’t meant to end there. By the movie’s end, we still don’t know if Peter and Mary Jane will return as a couple, or what awaits them in their life now that their closest friend is gone.
If we follow the comics, this is just what Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship is always like. As we mentioned earlier, Spidey fans have become desensitized when it comes to this sort of thing. For some reason, it never works out in the end for Spidey. Even in some of the most recent comics, Mary Jane remains outside Peter’s grasp, denying thousands of fans of their long-awaited happy ending.
Even in the recent MCU Spider-Man trilogy, Peter has to part ways with his version of Mary Jane. Moreover, the 90s animated Spider-Man series had a bittersweet ending for Spidey and Mary Jane, as the two were never properly reunited.
It’s almost like the Multiverse is trying to give Peter a signal – one that unmistakably warns him about being with Mary Jane. Considering how much the Sam Raimi trilogy deviated from the comics in some characters, introducing a new love interest for our protagonist would have been a sound choice.
Due to the overbearing amount of empirical evidence, it would be safe to say that maybe Spidey and Mary Jane weren’t always meant to be. Granted, most writers seem to have an obsession with making Peter Parker’s love life as miserable as possible, but maybe Sam Raimi could have been the one to break the mould with Ursula Ditkovich.
Why Ursula Works (From A Storytelling Perspective)
In a nutshell, the best Spider-Man stories have always been about Peter Parker‘s personal growth as an individual – not about his superhuman feats as the Amazing Spider-Man. We as an audience root not only for the arachnid superhero but for the meek teenager who’s under the mask as well.
Early on, we root for Peter when he wants to be with Mary Jane because, as we hear multiple times throughout the trilogy, he fell in love with her from the very first moment he saw her moving next door. As soon as the two are together, however, we begin to notice that maybe the two don’t work as a couple.
For starters, Peter and Mary Jane don’t share anything in common beyond knowing Spidey’s secret identity. Peter could more easily stop a city-wide threat than stop by Mary Jane’s play, and that was just a single-night commitment.
On the other hand, Ursula showed a great interest in Peter Parker’s daily life, going as far as helping him get back to Mary Jane. These intimate moments of idle chat and genuine care were missing from any scene where Mary Jane and Peter were together, making Ursula and Pete’s relationship feel the most authentic between the two.
And regarding the whole “girl next door” kind of romance going on between Pete and Mary Jane, you just can’t get any more next door than Ursula. She literally lives right next to Peter.
Sure, it’s safe to say that Mary Jane was always meant to be Peter Parker’s only love interest in the Sam Raimi trilogy – even Gwen Stacy is left as nothing more than a side character – but one can’t help but notice how much of a missed opportunity Ursula’s character was in the trilogy.
As we know, there were plans for a fourth Sam Raimi Spider-Man flick before the series’ sudden cancellation. If Pete and Mary Jane’s relationship was truly strained beyond repair by the end of the third film, maybe we would have got Ursula in an extended role in the fourth film.
Considering how close she was to Peter, it would be easy to see him confessing his true identity to her. If we want to get even more into the comic book lore, there’s also the chance that Ursula Ditkovich might have eventually turned into this universe’s Black Cat. As farfetched as that might sound, that would have been a clever and lore-friendly way to explain why, yes, Ursula Ditkovich and Peter Parker should definitely become a thing.
Tell us, do you think Peter Parker (Spider-Man) should have ended up with Ursula?