Earlier this month, Zendaya faked everyone out with a set of temporary bangs for the red carpet premiere of her new HBO series, Euphoria. But now that she’s embarked on the press tour for Spider-Man: Far From Home, she’s committing (semi-)permanently to a new radical hair transformation: Zendaya is a ginger now.
During a photo call for the forthcoming Marvel film, Zendaya appeared in an Alexandre Vauthier suit (a look courtesy of her longtime stylist, Law Roach, who’s also styling Tom Holland these days) topped off with blown-out bright red waves. When a Spider-Man fan Twitter account tweeted at her, “is it a wig or dye? we gotta know,” she replied, “I dyed it, semi-permanent.” Clip-on bangs may come and go, but a dye job is forever.
Though there’ve been rumors that Zendaya is among the frontrunners to play Ariel in the forthcoming live-action Disney remake of The Little Mermaid, the actor was quick to deny her mermaid-appropriate red hair was a nod to that character. (“Although flattering this is and always has been a rumor lol,” she tweeted earlier this year.) Instead, it’s an “MJ homage,” she tweeted—a tribute to MJ Watson, the original love interest of Holland’s Peter Parker, who’s depicted with red hair in the original comics and previous film adaptations.
Marvel fans have also suspected that Zendaya’s Spider-Man character, Michelle—who, as revealed at the end of the first standalone film, also goes by MJ—is eventually going to become the MJ of the comics' mythology. But as things stand in the film series right now, they are separate characters—Zendaya’s MJ isn’t even a redhead—so her new red hair has also prompted speculation that she’s hinting at her character’s fate. (It really makes you think—remember how Sophie Turner gave away the whole thing with Cersei Lannister’s elephants on Game of Thrones many moons in advance? A spoiler in plain sight.) And given how tightly spoilers are guarded in the Marvel camp, maybe it’s true…that Zendaya’s hair is full of secrets.