British actor Tom Holland cast as new Spider-Man

The Wolf Hall and The Impossible star will be directed by Jon Watts in a new series of films for the character

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The Spider-Man hunt is over – Marvel and Sony have found their web-slinging successor to Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire in The Impossible’s Tom Holland.

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The British actor had been rumoured to be a favourite for the role for some time now alongside Asa Butterfield and Charlie Rowe, but was confirmed as Peter Parker/Spider-Man today in an announcement from Marvel.

“Sony, Marvel, Kevin and I all knew that for Peter Parker, we had to find a vibrant, talented young actor capable of embodying one of the most well-known characters in the world,” said Sony’s Amy Pascal, one of the film’s producers. 

“With Tom, we’ve found the perfect actor to bring Spider-Man’s story into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Holland is probably best known for his role in The Impossible, where he played the lost child of Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts’ characters in a depiction of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Thailand. He’s also appeared as Billy Elliot on the West End stage, and most recently played Gregory, the son of Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell, in BBC period drama Wolf Hall (below).

But now he’s taking centre-stage – and we’ll be seeing him onscreen fairly soon, with Spider-Man set to have a small role in 2016’s superhero sequel Captain America: Civil War alongside Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. Holland’s first solo movie is planned to be released in 2017, and will be directed by relative unknown Jon Watts in a Sony/Marvel co-production.

Said co-production has quite a tortured story which you can read about here, but here are the basics: while Spider-Man was portrayed by Andrew Garfield as recently as 2014 in Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, that film’s relative box office failure meant future films in the franchise were cancelled, including potential villainous spin-offs. Instead, Sony (who hold the rights to the character) decided to team up with Marvel (who created him originally) for a new take on Spider-Man, allowing him to interact with other heroes like Iron Man and the Hulk in future movies while the two studios share producing duties.

“The Marvel process is very thorough, and that’s why their results are so outstanding,” said Tom Rothman, Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group Chairman.

“I’m confident Spider-Man will be no exception. 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. For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special. All in all, we are off to a roaring start.”

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Spider-Man will appear in Captain America: Civil War in summer 2016