There’s a new Spider-Man in town.
According to comics company Marvel, actor Tom Holland has been cast as Peter Parker, better known by his superhero name of Spider-Man.
“For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special,” Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group Chairman Tom Rothman said in a statement.
The character of Spider-Man is part of the Marvel universe but was originally brought to the big screen by Sony. Marvel sold the rights to the character to the studio before Marvel itself became a force to be reckoned with at the multiplex.
Then earlier this year, Marvel announced that Spidey will be popping up in at least one movie set in the Marvel universe. Then Sony will release a new movie about Spider-Man that will be co-produced by Amy Pascal of Sony and Kevin Feige of Marvel. It’s this movie that recently had a director come aboard, according to the announcement from Marvel. At the same time Marvel announced Holland had been cast, the company named “Cop Car” director Jon Watts as helmer of the new Sony Spider-Man film, which will be released in July 2017.
Holland appeared in the 2015 miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed novel “Wolf Hall” as well as the 2013 film “How I Live Now” and 2012’s “The Impossible.”
Spider-Man has a strange history on the big screen. The character debuted triumphantly with the first two films, 2002’s “Spider-Man” and 2004’s “Spider-Man 2,” both of which starred Tobey Maguire as the webslinger. The first movie became the highest-grossing of the year, while the second movie was the second-highest, according to the website Box Office Mojo, and both were well-received by critics and fans alike. But the third movie, “Spider-Man 3” with Maguire, was regarded with derision by many, and so Sony rebooted the franchise with a new director and a new star – actor Andrew Garfield took on the role of Peter Parker and Marc Webb directed for 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man.” “Amazing” did well at the box office but got mixed reviews, and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which starred Garfield and brought back Webb, got even poorer reviews and was regarded by many as having underperformed at the box office.
So now we’re back to the drawing board, with the third Spider-Man in 13 years and another new director. Will casual moviegoers be confused with all the changes? The casting shake-ups are certainly a contrast to comic movie powerhouse Marvel, who had only one slightly confusing casting change with the role of superhero War Machine having switched from Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle and “Captain America” actor Chris Evans previously having portrayed the Human Torch of the “Fantastic Four” (though the “Four” movie wasn’t released directly by Marvel). And some were already confused by the fact that “Spider-Man” was already brought back so quickly with Garfield’s movies. “There isn’t any particular reason, besides the obvious commercial one, why we needed to re-up this franchise,” Monitor film critic Peter Rainer wrote at the time. “Still, it could have been worse.” Ty Burr of the Boston Globe agreed, writing, “Is there a reason we need a new 'Spider-Man' movie 10 years after Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire got it done properly? Only if you’re Sony Pictures and the lawyers say you have to keep the movies coming or the rights will revert to Marvel Comics. That’s correct, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' is a contract extension.”
How are fans feeling about the prospect of a third Spider-Man? Some had mixed feelings about the new film series.
But others were more pleased with the new direction.