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Enter Tom Holland, the new Spider-Man (there’s a new Spidey director too)

After an intense and much discussed casting session, Marvel and Sony have decided on the actor that will play Peter Parker/Spider-Man for years to come. Get used to seeing 19-year old Brit Tom Holland (The Impossible, Backcountry), the soon-to-be-very-well-known actor playing Spider-Man.

The studios also announced the director for the untitled Spider-Man solo film as well, and well, it’s a little surprising. The untitled Spider-Man film scheduled for July 28, 2017 will be directed by Jon Watts.

Notice how there aren’t any films in parenthesis listed after his name? His biggest film to date is the hard-to-find supernatural horror film Clown, which debuted in Italy before a home media release in the U.S. a few months later. His next film, Cop Car, is a little more high profile. It’s a thriller starring Kevin Bacon that debuted at Sundance, and it hits theaters on August 7, 2015.

Someone somewhere must have really, really liked it, given that Watts is now in charge of what will be one of the biggest films of 2017. It will also be incredibly complicated due its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the two studios that will both want their opinions taken into account, the massive amounts of special effects, and Sony’s almost desperate need for this – its third Spider-Man film franchise in 15 years – to be a big hit.

“As with James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and the Russo brothers, we love finding new and exciting voices to bring these characters to life,” Marvel boss Kevin Feige said. “We spent a lot of time with Jon and find his take and work inspiring.”

As for Holland, he must have also impressed the hell out of a lot of people. The casting process was an unusual one to say the least. Both Marvel and Sony had a say, and the timing was working against them. Spider-Man is set to appear in Captain America: Civil War, which is already well into filming.

The casting process for the new Spidey began with a pool of around 1,500 actors. It was eventually narrowed down to six , then to two – supposedly. Although reports did correctly identify Holland as a frontrunner, there were plenty of stories that had others in contention. At one point several outlets were reporting that Asa Butterfield had the job, and he was just in the negotiating process.

That turned out to be wrong, but there may have been more to it than just an errant rumor. The casting process wasn’t just for a guy to play Spidey in a film or two. The contract hasn’t been released (and probably won’t be), but it is believed to span multiple films over several years. Part of the reason Sony and Marvel decided to recast (beyond just starting fresh), was to go with a young actor that could stick with the role for years to come.

Holland’s name continued to remain in the discussion though, and a video of the actor showing off his Spidey-like skills recently landed online. Now that the news is official, he will likely have to get to work immediately – after maybe buying a new yacht, or whatever 19-year olds that just landed a multi-million acting contract do.

Expect to see leaks of Spidey on set very soon, as there will probably be some big bounties from entertainment outlets for first looks – assuming Marvel doesn’t beat them to it and release artwork and set shots itself. His first official appearance on screen will be on May 6, 2016, when Captain America: Civil War is released.



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