- “What makes life valuable is that it doesn't last forever. What makes it precious is that it ends.”
- ―Gwen Stacy[src]
Gwendolyne "Gwen" Stacy was the classmate and former girlfriend of Peter Parker and the daughter of the chief police officer, George Stacy. Gwen was also a senior research officer at Oscorp Industries.
- “Oh, I know what your name is. I just want to make sure if you know your name.”
- ―Gwen Stacy[src]
Gwen Stacy was born the oldest child to New York police captain George Stacy and Helen Stacy. Intelligent and beautiful, Gwen was one of Midtown High School's star students, alongside fellow star student Peter Parker. She was also friends with the lead quarterback/school bully Flash Thompson, one of his few friends, and helped him with his homework. She later applied for internship at Oscorp Industries, gaining a position as lab assistant to Dr. Curt Connors, the head scientist of the Cross-Species Genetics research division.
One day while studying during lunch, Gwen angrily admonished Flash for bullying Gordon and Peter, talking him down with threatening to quit helping him study. She later comforted Peter in class, commending him for standing up for Gordon and advising him to go to the nurse, seeming to take an instant liking to him.
Peter and Gwen would once again encounter each other when Peter snuck into Oscorp Tower where she worked, under the pretense of an intern for the Oscorp Bio-Lab tour. Instantly recognizing him, following Dr. Connor's introductions, she confronted Peter over using someone else's ID badge to sneak in, although he denied stalking her, actually interested in learning more about the Cross-Species research. Despite telling him to stay with the group, Peter snuck into a hidden lab that housed several modified spider specimens (replications of his father's own work), as well as discovering a prototype bio-cable woven from strengthened spider-webs from them. Accidentally letting loose several of the spiders, Peter managed to escape from the lab, only to run into an angry Gwen, who demanded he give the badge back and leave for breaking the rules. As Peter left, he was bitten by one of the spiders, unknown to them both.
In the following week, the spider-bite's modified venom ended up mutating Peter's genome, inexplicably granting him spider-esque attributes, actually making him a successful cross-species subject. Upon realizing this, Peter began to test his new abilities. One of these times included getting back at Flash in the gym by humiliating him in a basketball game, using his powers to perform a perfect slam dunk (which accidentally broke the backboard). After talking with his uncle Ben before leaving school, Ben noticed Gwen watching and pointed out Peter had the graduation photo she was in zoomed in as his computer desktop, playfully embarrassing him, while Peter tried awkwardly clearing this up.
Peter would later visit Dr. Connors to consult him on his relationship with his dead parents. After being invited to the lab to help solve the decay-rate algorithm (by using the sequence of his own condition), Peter had taken far too long after helping complete it with Connors. This caused him to forget to pick up his aunt May from work as he'd promised. Getting home late and being reprimanded by this by Ben, Peter was angered by the fact Ben tried used his late father as an example to follow, and ran off. Ben would later end up shot and killed by a thief from a convienence store, which devastated Peter, who blamed himself as he'd let the thief rob the store's clerk for being rude to him.
The following day, a forlorn Gwen watched a grieving Peter approached by Flash, and mistaking it for another round of bullying, slammed him against the lockers, only for Flash to express his condolences for Peter's loss, to which Peter let him go. As he walked away, Gwen approached him and gave him a heartfelt hug to comfort him, also feeling sad for his loss.
Seeking to bring Ben's killer to justice, Peter resolved to use his new powers to track down and apprehend the killer. He spent several weeks stopping many crimes, checking the wrists of each thug he caught (as the killer was reported to have a star tattooed on his wrist). To better protect himself and those he knew, Gwen included, from vengeful crooks, Peter crafted a red-and-blue spandex uniform and replicated Oscorp's bio-cable into creating small "Web-Shooters" to use to swing across the city in pursuit of crime, becoming a costumed vigilante.
Meanwhile, thanks to Peter's help, Connors was able make progress in the Cross-Species ongoing field to procure an experimental serum using lizard DNA in hopes of a new form of gene therapy to help creatures regenerate lost limbs. But due to his superior Dr. Ratha pressuring him into beginning human trials under threat of firing him, Dr. Connors tested his serum on himself. It proved a success and his arm regrew overnight, but the genetic modification ended up far more volatile and unpredictable than Peter's, and ended up mutating Connors into a humanoid lizard-beast.
When the Lizard planned to use reptilian DNA to turn the entirety of New York into humanoid lizards, Gwen helped Peter stop his plan by getting an antidote to replace the reptilian serum. Peter called Gwen while she was at Oscorp saying that she was in danger. She evacuated everyone out of Oscorp and waited for the antidote to finish.
When the Lizard came, Gwen hid where she was later found but unharmed who took what Gwen had with her. After the Lizard leaves and the antidote finishes, she runs out to her father, George Stacy and told him to give it to Spider-Man as she then went into the police car.
After her father was impaled by the Lizard, Captain Stacy's last words were a promise for Peter to keep Gwen out of the action he has to face. Peter ended up not showing up to her father's funeral saying that he couldn't see her anymore, because she could get hurt. Later at school, he said that he wouldn't keep to that promise so he and Gwen were able to see each other.
- “You're Spider-Man and I love that. But I love Peter Parker more.”
- ―Gwen Stacy[src]
Two years later, Gwen and Peter are graduating high school. However, Peter is pursuing a robbery of plutonium by Russian convict Aleksei Sytsevich as Spider-Man while on the way, to which she calls Peter on the phone to remind him he's running late. Gwen then makes a speech to her fellow class-mates and their families. Afterwards, Peter meets Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony where the two share a kiss. Gwen and Peter talk where she invites him to dinner before she is called by her mother for a family photo. Later in the evening, Peter tells Gwen about the visions he's been having and insists that he needs to keep his promise which as a result, Gwen breaks up with Peter.
Gwen is seen then working at Oscorp and meets Max Dillon in an elevator which she finds out is his birthday and is obsessed with Spider-Man. Peter later meets Gwen in attempt to maintain a friendship which they establish some 'ground rules'. Gwen tells Peter that an opportunity to Oxford means she has to move to England. Before the two can discuss it, Max accidentally shuts off the power to Times Square whilst looking for electricity to power himself. As Electro reveals himself as Max, Gwen recognizes him and later tries to find his file at Oscorp, but the file has been erased. Gwen is then chased by security for trying to find his file and runs into Peter who says he was with . As Gwen goes to the elevator, Peter distracts the security guards and Gwen then meets Harry who tells her that Peter is always complicated, but that is why he needs her.
Video Game Continuity
After the Lizard's defeat and her father's death, Gwen refused to forgive Connors. Instead, she buried herself in work, moving Oscorp's robotics division under the tutelage of the chivalrous and intelligent Alistaire Smythe. Still, she suspected something was up at Oscorp and snuck Peter in one evening to help her check things out. Little did she realize that Peter's arrival would spark a riot among Oscorp's remaining cross-species specimens and her infection with the cross-species virus.
Though sequestered to quarantine within Oscorp Tower, Gwen fought off her illness as best she could, as she did what she could from her position to help Spider-Man save the day. Whether updating Spidey on the level of contamination, hacking into computers, or reprogramming Smythe's robots to do her bidding, Gwen was on it. As the dust settled and the city was cured, Gwen remembered how much she loved the guy behind Spider-Man's mask. She now visits Peter almost every day at his aunt's friend's apartment.
- Gwen is one of the few people to know Spider-Man's true identity; the others being George Stacy, Curt Connors and Green Goblin. Ironically, in the comics until her death, Gwen never learned this, and died blaming Spider-Man for her father's death.
- Gwen's death was inspired by the comic, The Night Gwen Stacy Died.
- The differences from the comic is that besides on the Brooklyn Bridge, her death takes place in a clock tower next to the bridge.
- When the clock started spinning, it landed on 1:21 which was the comic issue "The Night Gwen Stacy Died".
- Instead of Norman Osborn killing her, the identity of the Green Goblin who does so is Harry Osborn, his son.
- Instead of breaking her neck, she hits her head on the ground which causes her death.
- Gwen is absent from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (video game) adaption of the movie, although she is mentioned. She doesn't appear during Spider-Man's fight with Electro or is killed due to the Green Goblin.
- In the junior novelization of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Gwen does not die, as it ends halfway through the movie's plot.
- Despite her death, Emma Stone would have continued portraying Gwen as a ghostly figure throughout the future movies, as her father had throughout The Amazing Spider-Man 2, to represent Peter's immense guilt over her death, namely throughout The Amazing Spider-Man 3.
- In addition, Sony had considered a spin-off film continuing on a plot point from the cancelled The Sinister Six movie that would involve an alternate dimension where Gwen had instead been bitten by the super-spider, becoming Spider-Woman of that dimension. Doctor Octopus and Mr. Negative would have been behind the interdimensional circumstances that brought her into the Amazing Spider-Man dimension, in which she would team up with rookie superhero Silver Sable and two other heroes to rescue a captive Spider-Man and Sable's team the Wild Pack from Doc Ock and Negative. The idea of an alternate Gwen becoming Spider-Woman would later be incorporated into Marvel's Spider-Gwen comic book series, which would go on to become a fan favorite.
- Following the 2014 Sony Pictures hack, Emma Stone was revealed to have been in early talks to return as a resurrected Gwen Stacy in future The Amazing Spider-Man films, derived from Sony's considered alternate-dimension Gwen storyline, with the character becoming Carnage after being rendered amnesiac by her resurrection, before falling under the thrall of a similarly resurrected Norman Osborn. These plans were cancelled upon the cancellation of the franchise.