It's official: Marvel and Sony have settled on a new Peter Parker, and they've also chosen a director for the next Spider-Man film, to boot.
Marvel has confirmed Tom Holland, 19, will play Peter Parker for the foreseeable future (he's set for Captain America: Civil War and a Spider-Man film already, with many more movies all but certain). As expected, Holland is teenager, which fits with Marvel's decision to take Peter Parker back to high school for the umpteenth time. Despite his youth, Holland has put together a respectable resume that includes performances in The Impossible, Wolf Hall, and the upcoming In the Heart of the Sea. The kid can also rock some killer Spidey moves, as evidenced in the below posts from his Instagram account:
He reportedly beat out early frontrunner Asa Butterfield (Ender's Game) for the gig.
As for Marvel's first standalone Spider-Man film, the studio has tapped relatively unknown director Jon Watts to helm the project. Watts has been a rumored contender for a while, and is riding high on buzz from his indie thriller Cop Car, which recently debuted at Sundance. Watts apparently had to go through a veritable gauntlet to be hired, needing approval from both Marvel and Sony heads (since this represents a joint production due to Sony's inability to make a good movie with the most successful comic character in history). Marvel's Kevin Feige likened Watts to a "new and exciting voice" akin to fellow studio alums James Gunn and the Russo Brothers.
"It's a big day here at Sony. Kevin, Amy and their teams have done an incredible job. The Marvel process is very thorough, and that's why their results are so outstanding. I'm confident Spider-Man will be no exception," Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group Chairman Tom Rothman said. "I've worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent. For Spidey, himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom's screen tests were special. All in all, we are off to a roaring start."
Both Holland and Watts seem like potentially solid hires, and considering Marvel's track record of turning relative unknowns into bankable talent, you'd have to assume they're following the same track here. So long, Andrew Garfield's hipster Spidey and Marc Webb's choppy narrative editing. We hardly knew ye.
The new Spider-Man will be financed and released by Sony (who holds the Spider-Man film rights), though Marvel is co-producing and providing creative input that should let the character officially mesh with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's a unique deal, to be sure, but just goes to show how much respect Marvel has earned in a relatively short time. Sony knows hitching Spider-Man to the Avengers-verse is a wise move financially, and was willing to eat a bit of crow to make it happen.
Holland's version of Peter Parker will make his debut in Marvel's upcoming Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016 (likely in a small role). The new Spider-Man's first solo outing is set for July 28, 2017.