Michelle Jones-Watson (better known as MJ) is a character from Spider-Man: Homecoming and is the deuteragonist of Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home. She is Peter's classmate and love interest, later becoming his girlfriend.
Michelle describes herself as observant and managed to figure out about Peter's double life as Spider-Man in during the events of the "Homecoming". However, Michelle later reveals that she has never been able to admit her feelings about anything as she struggles to get close to people. This is why she often made fun of Peter, even though she liked him and lied to him about watching him because she thought he was Spider-Man. Michelle always loved Peter from the start, but was too afraid to act on her feelings, especially when he liked Liz Toomes. Eventually, during the school trip to Europe, MJ has shown to have warmed up to making friends and is more confident than before.
Director Jon Watts revealed in an interview that the primary inspirations for Michelle Jones were Allison Reynolds from The Breakfast Club and Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks.
In regards to Michelle Jones' backstory, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers originally wrote a scene for Spider-Man: Homecoming which heavily implied that Michelle comes from a bad home, with no one to pick up her after classes or meet her at the bus after returning from Washington, D.C., leading Peter Parker and Aunt May to offer her a ride home. Although McKenna and Sommers did not know if the scene was filmed or not, they think that this backstory is alluded by the many things MJ says in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Michelle Jones is a student at the Midtown School of Science and Technology. She is a classmate of Peter Parker, and is a member of the school's Academic Decathlon team.
Michelle called Peter and Ned Leeds losers for staring at Liz Toomes for too long. When Ned asked why she sat at their table, she replied that she didn't have any friends, and returned to reading her book.
Michelle read the book Of Human Bondage throughout the entirety of gym class, even while she was supposed to be doing curl-ups.
A member of the Academic Decathlon team, Liz Toomes, threw a party at her house. Michelle attended, but when Peter and Ned arrived, she called them losers for attending. When Ned pointed out that she was attending the party as well, she gave them a quirky look and said, "am I?"
Michelle joined the Academic Decathlon team for the field trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the finals. She questioned Mr. Harrington on the timetable for the trip because she wanted to get in some light protesting while in the nation's capital. She correctly answered the last question of the Decathlon, winning the competition for the team. On the way to Washington, Peter and Ned noticed increased activity around the damaged Triskelion structure, with Michelle explaining that Damage Control was still cleaning up the mess after Captain America caused the Helicarriers to crash for seemingly no reason. While Ned states that he did it to save them, Michelle rebuffs him and declares that this is what they want the public to think.
After the Decathlon, Mr. Harrington took them to the Washington Monument. Michelle refused to go up to the top, not wanting to visit a building that had been built by slaves. While she waited at the bottom, an explosion at the top trapped her teammates in the monument's elevator. When Spider-Man arrived, Michelle informed him that her friends were in the elevator. Spider-Man successfully saved the trapped Academic Decathlon team.
Michelle sat next to Peter when he was issued a detention for attempting to skip class. After Peter left, Coach Wilson asked Michelle why she was there, as she did not have detention. Michelle answered that she enjoyed sketching people in crisis, and showed him a drawing she'd made of him.
Following the revelation that Liz Toomes' father was the Vulture, she was forced to move to Oregon with her mother. In the wake of her leaving, Michelle was made the captain of the team. She told her teammates that her friends called her "MJ". When Peter received a message and had to leave, Michelle looked at him with suspicion and asked what was he up to. She then laughed and told him she was kidding and that she did not care. Shortly after that, she was being interviewed by Betty Brant, an anchor on the school's news team, as to who she thought Spider-Man might truly be. Michelle replied that she wasn't sure but that she had her suspicions.
While she does not appear in this film, she is revealed to have been among the half of the universe that was disintegrated by Thanos offscreen.
While she also does not appear in this film, she is resurrected offscreen by the Hulk.
In Far From Home, MJ has shown to have grown closer with Peter and Ned, along with Betty, showing character development and has tried to make friends. During the 2023-2024 school year, MJ developed romantic feelings for Peter and vice versa. She plans on exploring the countries along with her friends, whilst Peter tries to tell MJ her how he feels. MJ is the center of Peter's affection as well as his romantic rival Brad Davis, but MJ shows no interest in Brad.
After the battle in London, Michelle finds an injured Peter on the bridge where she embraces him. The teens check on each other's safety and she tells him she brought a weapon to help him fight Mysterio. MJ shows Peter the Black Dahlia necklace that Happy gave her (on Peter's behalf) and he expresses that he wanted to win her over with his plan. Touched, Michelle kisses Peter and tells him that she struggles to get close to people which is why she lied about only watching him because of his alter ego. Peter apologises to MJ for the necklace being broken and she assures him she likes it better broken. Michelle and Peter express their feelings for each other with their first kiss and they return to New York as a couple.
When they return home, Peter takes MJ on a swing around New York for their first date. Although MJ is looking forward to it at first, her mind changes during the swing where she is seen screaming her way around the city and soon asks Peter to put her down.
After their swing, MJ tells Peter she never wants to do it again as it scared her too much. The couple end their date with Peter waving to the people of New York, but things get out of hand when Michelle and Peter watch the breaking news on the Bugle news. Michelle and Peter watch on and she is left horrified to learn that not only her boyfriend has been framed for the attacks Mysterio caused back in London, but his identity as Spider-Man had been exposed as well.
Michelle continues her relationship with Peter Parker, despite her, him and Ned getting shunned by the whole city. MJ works in a bakery during the Christmas season and joins Peter while he is on the run. MJ hopes to get into MIT and is there for Peter when she finds out that his Aunt May died. MJ is also revealed to be officially called Michelle Jones-Watson (reference to Mary Jane Watson).
She meets alternate versions of Peter Parker (The Amazing Spider-Man and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man), who help her and Peter over their grief because of Aunt May's death. Doctor Strange does a spell that makes MJ and Ned forget who Peter is, which breaks MJ's heart. They reaffirm their love for each other and share a passionate kiss before the spell takes effect. MJ watches heartbroken as Peter flies off while mouthing one final "I love you" in tears. He later tries to reconnect with MJ (and Ned), but decides not to when he sees the scar from the fall, before the spell happened.
- In the comics, the nickname "MJ" is used by Mary Jane Watson. However, both Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal had stated that Michelle Jones is not Mary Jane Watson and the MJ initials were just a fun homage to Spider-Man's past adventures and his past love in the comics. In No Way Home, it is revealed that her real last name is Watson, furthering the Mary Jane comparison.
- Jones' birthday being June 10th is a reference to Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #25, where Mary Jane Watson made her first appearance and was released on June 10, 1965.
- Michelle's birthday is exactly 2 months before Peter's, which is August 10, 2001. They are the only characters in their friend group to have their birthday's known and revealed.
- Both Michelle and Mary Jane from the Sam Rami trilogy started dating Peter in the second movie and continue their relationship in the third.
- Although her surname is Jones, her passport in Spider-Man: Far From Home just says Michelle.
- Michelle shares similarities to Megara from Hercules. - They both were very much loners and struggled to make friends as well as both stating they didn't have any friends when they introduced themselves to their eventual lovers. They both have a cocky-type personality and both go by their nicknames - MJ for Michelle and Meg for Megara - even saying similar dialogue - that their friends call them by the nicknames if they had friends at that point. They both then start to warm up to the protaganists and bring out a warmer, more friendly and true in love side to themselves.
- MJ and Peter's actors, Zendaya and Tom Holland, are dating in real life.