After his perfect portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for just over a decade, Robert Downey Jr. left an indelible impression on the hearts and minds of fans the world over. Now that his character’s tenure in the franchise has ended, Marvel Studios is looking for a new hero to lead the Avengers. It’s a passing of the torch moment for sure, but something that has been a long time coming.
In a recent interview with GQ, Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo said Tom Holland is set to replace Robert Downey Jr. as the soul of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The director discussed how Marvel has been slowly grooming Holland to take over from Downey Jr. saying, “Tom is stepping into the role that Robert Downey Jr. once occupied for Marvel, which is the favorite character, and in a lot of ways the soul of the Marvel universe.”
After a historic partnership between Sony and Marvel Studios in 2015, a new version of Spider-Man made his big-screen debut. But this time it wasn’t through an extensive origin story. Tom Holland was first introduced as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War when Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark recruited him to join his team. From a Marvel perspective, this was a bit of a pivot on how they had done things, but it totally worked.
Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland had great chemistry together, so Marvel decided to team them up. From that point on, Tony acted as a reluctant mentor to 15-year-old Peter who was essentially his prodigy. But as time went on their relationship evolved into more of a father-son dynamic, which fans loved. Downey Jr. was the living embodiment of Iron Man while Holland’s Spider-Man was always a favorite.
Following the death of Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame it makes perfect sense for Holland to take over for Robert Downey Jr. But it’s unclear if the young actor will continue his tenure with Marvel after Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, Russo’s recent comments make it sound like he’ll be swinging around the Marvel universe for a little while longer.
While Robert Downey Jr. has officially retired his Iron Man suit, Tom Holland was named Superhero of the Year in their newest issue of GQ. Interestingly, the actor said he was a little wary about playing the character for too long. “Maybe it is time for me to move on. Maybe what’s best for Spider-Man is that they do a Miles Morales film. I have to take Peter Parker into account as well because he is an important part of my life,” Holland told the publication. “If I’m playing Spider-Man after I’m 30, I’ve done something wrong.”
While we know the fate of Robert Downey Jr., only time will tell if Tom Holland suits up as the web-slinger after Spider-Man: No Way Home. But when it comes to Marvel movies anything is possible. No Way Home will be Holland’s third outing as the famed Marvel superhero. Directed by Jon Watts, the film also stars Zendaya as MJ, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus, Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin, and Jamie Foxx as Electro.
Reprising their roles from previous Spider-Man films are Tony Revolori as Eugene “Flash” Thompson, Parker’s classmate and rival, Angourie Rice as Betty Brant, Parker’s classmate and Leeds’ ex-girlfriend, and Hannibal Buress as Coach Wilson, Midtown School of Science and Technology’s gym teacher. The story essentially examines how Peter Parker’s life and reputation are turned upside down following his identity being exposed at the hands of Mysterio. Interestingly, this is something that’s already happened in the comic book lore – sort of.
In 2007 Marvel released One More Day, a four-part comic book crossover storyline, connecting the three main Spider-Man series published at the time. In this version, Peter’s attempt to restore his secret identity culminates in him making a deal with Mephisto. Spider-Man: No Way Home will swing into theaters on December 17, 2021.