The rumor mill had been running rampant for some time on this one, as fans eagerly awaiting news on who would be cast as the icon web-slinger. Though it seemed like Asa Butterfield had the role firmly in hand, news trickled out days ago that he was no longer in the running, and today Marvel & Sony made the official announcement.
After reviewing his previous movies, and conducting rigorous screen-tests, producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal made the announcement mid-day that Tom Holland would be taking the role. Regarding Holland, Pascal had this to say:
Sony, Marvel, Kevin and I all knew that for Peter Parker, we had to find a vibrant, talented young actor capable of embodying one of the most well-known characters in the world. With Tom, we’ve found the perfect actor to bring Spider-Man’s story into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Holland is known for his roles in The Impossible, Wolf Hall, and the upcoming In the Heart of the Sea. He also shares a name with director Tom Holland, who has been receiving all sorts of tweets today by fans who are eager enough to congratulate the actor, but not thorough enough to look at the account before tweeting.
In addition to the casting news, the still-untitled Spider-Man film (slated for a 2017 release) was also given a director. Jon Watts, director of Cop Car and Clown was given the keys to the franchise. A relatively unknown filmmaker, Watts continues the trend of Marvel’s hiring fresh directors for their tent-pole films. Regarding the decision, Feige stated:
As with James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and the Russo brothers, we love finding new and exciting voices to bring these characters to life. We spent a lot of time with Jon and find his take and work inspiring.
Now the real question: Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane?