Who Is Gwen Stacy? A Brief History Of Emma Stone's New 'Spider-Man' Role

Gwen Stacy and Spider-ManAnnounced just last night, actress Emma Stone has officially joined the cast of "Spider-Man," the upcoming reboot of the blockbuster movie franchise that kicked off in 2001 and gave us three record-breaking films featuring the famous webslinger.

Not only will the new "Spider-Man" movie bring Peter Parker back to his teenage roots, but the studio is going even further back into the character's history by having Stone play his first love, Gwen Stacy. And as Spidey fans know, Peter's heart belonged to that blonde college student way before he ever "hit the jackpot" with Mary Jane Watson.

So, who is Gwen Stacy? Here's a quick primer for any readers who might not be as familiar with Peter's pre-MJ love life.

In the early "Amazing Spider-Man" comics, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko had Peter meet Gwen while they were both students at Empire State University. Both Peter and Gwen dated other people before finally getting together themselves, with Peter doing the couple thing with Betty Brant, J. Jonah Jameson's assistant at The Daily Bugle, and Gwen dating Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn at various points.

Once the two finally got together, their relationship was both intense and tumultuous — mainly due to Peter's attempts at keeping his superhero identity a secret from Gwen. However, the two grew closer over time, overcoming tragedy in both their lives (no spoilers).

Tragedy would also mark the end of their relationship (again, no spoilers here), and the circumstances surrounding the end of Peter and Gwen's time together would also go down in comics history as one of the major moments that signified the end of comics' "Silver Age."

Gwen's legacy as Peter's "first love" would also go on to elevate the status of one particular villain from Spider-Man's rogues gallery, and eventually pushed Peter and Mary Jane together — marking the beginnings of one of comics' most famous relationships, as well as one of comics' most famous hero-villain dynamics.

As far as Gwen Stacy's movie history, the character made a brief (and somewhat controversial) appearance in "Spider-Man 3," playing a big role in the film's much-criticized dance number. Actress Bryce Dallas Howard played Gwen in the film.

With the rebooted "Spider-Man" movie set to hit theaters in 2012, Gwen Stacy will find her way to the screen again five years later, with Emma Stone now playing the role alongside the new Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield. Only time will tell, however, if their relationship follows the same path as its comics counterpart.

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