WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures announced Tuesday that 19-year-old Tom Holland has been chosen as the next actor to play Spider-Man after an extensive casting search and what the studios described as “complex screen tests.”Holland's first "Spider-Man" movie is currently scheduled for release on July 28, 2017, making him the third actor to portray the superhero and his civilian alter ego, Peter Parker, on the big screen in 15 years, following three films starring Tobey Maguire and two starring Andrew Garfield.
Jon Watts, director of the upcoming film “Cop Car,” was also announced Tuesday as the director of the 2017 Spider-Man film.
“I’ve worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent,” Sony Pictures Chairman Tom Rothman said in a press release. “For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special.”
Holland, a British actor whose screen credits include the 2012 tsunami film “The Impossible” and the TV miniseries “Wolf Hall,” had posted several videos of himself performing acrobatic stunts on his Instagram account in recent days.
Much of the initial reaction to the casting online has focused on the fact that the studios have chosen to make a sixth film featuring the Peter Parker character behind the mask instead of Miles Morales, the newer half-black,half-Latino Spider-Man introduced in Marvel’s alternate Ultimate Universe in 2011.
Though Marvel Comics recently ceased publishing its "Ultimate Spider-Man" title, Marvel announced last week that Miles Morales will star in a new Spider-Man series set in the "All-New, All-Different" main Marvel Universe this fall following the publisher's summer "Secret Wars" event.
"This is a direct result of very loud voices telling Marvel what they want," Brian Michael Bendis, writer of the upcoming series and co-creator of the character, said in a Marvel.com interview. "Miles, a child of color, will be Spider-Man. Not Ultimate Spider-Man, not Spectacular Spider-Man, not Amazing Spider-Man—Spider-Man."
Some fans feel that sentiment should have carried over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The words "Spider-Man" and "Miles Morales" were trending on Twitter for hours after Tuesday's casting announcement.