Spider-Man has a no-longer-secret identity: Actor Tom Holland will play the Marvel Comics webslinger in the next film starring the everyman superhero and his alter ego, Peter Parker.
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios jointly announced the casting of the 19-year-old "Wolf Hall" and "The Impossible" actor Tuesday, adding that Jon Watts, director of the upcoming thriller "Cop Car," would direct. The next Spider-Man movie is scheduled for release in IMAX and 3-D on July 28, 2017.
Holland's casting follows what The Hollywood Reporter on May 30 said had been an all-day test-screening process with Holland and fellow teens Asa Butterfield (films "Hugo," "Ender's Game"), newcomers Judah Lewis and Matthew Lintz, and fledgling actors Charlie Plummer (a recurring player on the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire") and Charlie Rowe (the Fox series "Red Band Society"). Reports of Butterfield having been offered the role were false, the magazine said.
Spider-Man comes to Marvel Studios movies following a rare agreement between two distributors, Walt Disney and Sony, to share the character, who has appeared in a $4 billion, five-film Columbia Pictures franchise from "Spider-Man" (2002) to "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (2014). The latest film did less well in the box office than expected.
Since the deal, which was announced on February 9, trade reports have indicated Spider-Man will make his Marvel Studios debut in next year's "Captain America: Civil War," but neither Marvel nor Sony have confirmed either this or reports that the new cinematic iteration of Spider-Man would be a high school student.
Holland, like the most recent Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield, is British. American Tobey Maguire played the character in the franchise's initial three movies.
Last week, Gawker.com reported that a leaked email from the Sony Pictures hacking revealed a September 2011 licensing agreement between Marvel and Sony that specified numerous "mandatory Spider-Man character traits." These included that he be male, do not smoke tobacco, do not abuse alcohol, do not torture, do not kill unless "in defense of self or others" and be "not a homosexual (unless Marvel has portrayed that alter ego as a homosexual)."
It also specifies the superhero gained his spider powers "while attending either middle school or college" rather than high school, which appears to be at odds with reports that the fateful accident occurs during his high school years in the new version.
In August 2011, a Black Latino character, Miles Morales, became Spider-Man in Marvel Comics' alternate-universe imprint, Ultimate Marvel.