How Robert Downey Jr. Helped Pick The New Spider-Man

The previous big screen incarnations of Spider-Man that we've seen featured him as the only superhero in his world - but that won't be the case when the character officially joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only will the webslinger be throwing down with supervillains, but he will now also have the opportunity to pal around and trade stories with the likes of The Avengers and others. Because of this, it makes a good deal of sense that actor Tom Holland was screentested with both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans before Marvel Studios signed him to a contract.

The Hollywood Reporter has published a report about the details of the new Spider-Man casting, and it's in their story that they mention the A-listers who helped out with the process. According to their sources, producer Amy Pascal and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige first had the Iron Man star come in to read with the candidates up for the wall-crawler role, which was a list that included Tom Holland, Asa Butterfield, Judah Lewis, Matthew Lintz, Charlie Plummer and Charlie Rowe. The idea behind this was to test the chemistry between the young stars and the veteran Marvel hero - partially because Iron Man and Spider-Man apparently share scenes in Captain America: Civil War (the movie where Spider-Man will be making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut).

It wasn't until later that Chris Evans became involved with the casting process. Sources say that Marvel and Sony were having trouble deciding between Tom Holland and Charlie Rowe, and decided to do a second screen test to help them make their final decision. It was during this test that Holland got to work alongside the actor best known as Captain America - though THR notes that Rowe apparently didn't get this same opportunity.

It makes plenty of sense that Marvel would want to see how the new Spider-Man was like around both Iron Man and Captain America, but one also must wonder if this isn't a hint about Spidey's future as well. In late April, a rumor began circulating not only saying that the 2017 Spider-Man movie will be called Spider-Man: The New Avenger, but that the project would feature Robert Downey Jr. in a supporting role (the idea being that he's testing to see whether or not the friendly neighborhood superhero is good enough to be considered one of Earth's mightiest). This new development is hardly confirmation of that, but it is interesting to consider.

Since this morning, stories about Spider-Man's involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have kept pouring out, and we don't expect the flow to stop any time in the next few years. As always, stay tuned for more updates, and get ready for Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016, and the untitled Spider-Man movie on July 28, 2017.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.