The Impossible star Tom Holland has been announced as the new Spider-Man. He will be playing the friendly neighbourhood web-crawler starting from Captain America: Civil War and then in a stand-alone Spidey flick directed by John Watts, the helmer behind Cop Car.
After a long and arduous search for the actor who would go on to headline a new franchise after the previous one starring Andrew Garfield fell apart, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures announced an unprecedented collaboration for the future of the series and came together to audition young actors for the role.
Previous contenders included Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars), Liam James (The Way Way Back) and Timothee Chalamet (Interstellar). They were all brought to Atlanta, Georgia where the Captain America sequel was in production so that the chosen star could immediately be put to work.
Marvel and Sony met more than 1,500 actors and then narrowed it down to six actors -- Holland, Asa Butterfield, Judah Lewis, Matthew Lintz, Charlie Plummer and Charlie Rowe. They are all in the 14-19 age group as demanded by the studio. Unlike the earlier actors who played Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who were in their 20s when they took on the role, the producers now want a young actor to essay the character who is a high school student.
Robert Downey Jr., whose Iron Man character appears in Civil War and is said to share scenes with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, was part of the screen test as the studio wanted to see their chemistry together.
Read: Marvel casts its web, gears up to announce new Spider-man
Along with this big announcement, the studios have also named relative newcomer John Watts as the man who will helm the solo Spider-Man movie for Sony. Contenders for the directing gig included Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies), Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), Ted Melfi (St Vincent), Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Vacation) and Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite).
After rumours of a growing rift between the studios over who to pick, Holland's casting is expected to lead the character into fresh new territory.
Marvel president Kevin Feige previously confirmed that the character would indeed be Peter Parker and controversially, not Miles Morales. He also confirmed that the new series would focus on Parker as a high schooler.
Captain America: Civil War is due on May 6, 2016 and the solo Spider-Man movie is expected to arrive on July 28, 2017.