By every standard, Spider-Man: No Way Home has been an enormous success. It’s the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie in history, and the highest grossing release in Sony’s entire filmography. It united a fanbase by reuniting three generations of Spider-Men in Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire. And, it’s generating authentic Oscar buzz. But all of that positive goodwill would be in jeopardy of fizzling out if Tom Holland’s recently stated concerns were to come to fruition.
During a recent interview with Deadline where all three Spider-Man leads got together for a chat, Tom Holland was squeamish about committing to his future as the wallcrawler, despite how the most recent Spider-Man film ended. Many have been saying (Andrew Garfield included) that the three MCU films collectively served as Holland’s origin story, and he has only now grown into the Spider-Man he was destined to become as he swung over a snowy Manhattan in his homemade suit. That says to me that Holland is just BEGINNING his run as Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man, but Holland said to Deadline:
If you are a huge fan of Tom Holland as Spider-Man, or just the concept of stability, then the actor’s uncertainty about his future could be cause for concern. Let’s break down his comments, and why they could be very bad… or just a tactic.
Why I Think Tom Holland Is Exaggerating
For starters, Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man is riding an incredible wave of popularity, so ending his run in the Spidey suit would be a costly mistake for Marvel Studios. It’s evident that the MCU is rolling out a slew of new characters both through movies (Eternals, Shang-Chi) and Disney+ television series (Kate Bishop, She-Hulk, Moon Knight). But the MCU also lost some heavy hitters when Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. hung up the costumes, so saying goodbye to yet another fan-favorite actor in a popular role would be ill-advised.
Also, Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal both came out and said in interviews immediately following the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home that they were actively developing Tom Holland’s next Spider-Man movie. Pascal went so far as to call it the next trilogy of films. Maybe they didn’t tell Holland this? But that’s very unlikely.
More than anything, Holland seems to be playing the leverage game in public, warning the fans that his future as Spider-Man is in doubt, so he can renegotiate a hefty payday to continue playing MCU Spidey. He tells Deadline he’s not done, and wants to keep going. But he’d be content to hang it up knowing what he had accomplished if Marvel and Sony decided to terminate his run as Peter Parker.
I really, really don’t think they are going to do that. But here are a few reasons why they might.
Why Tom Holland Might Be On To Something
Here are a few reasons why Tom Holland COULD wrap up his stint as Spider-Man, at least for the time being. First, the ending of Spider-Man: No Way Home can be read as a new beginning for the character… or a clean end. What if the final swing in No Way Home was the comic-book equivalent of riding off into the sunset? Tom Holland’s Peter Parker restored the chaos caused by his identity being revealed. He ripped open the multiverse, which Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) can address in his next movie. And he shared the screen with the two previous Spider-Man actors.
If there’s such a thing as going out on top, this would be the moment for Holland to do so. He really has accomplished wonders during his MCU run. And maybe he returns for one more contractual appearance in a soon-to-be-determined MCU movie (not his own feature). But the next Spider-Man movie figures something else out. Miles Morales, for example?
At the same time, Sony now has two viable Spider-Man actors that it didn’t have before, if Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire wanted to continue. Personally, I don’t see Tobey doing it. At least, not for any long-term stretch. But Garfield seems game to keep swinging in the Spidey suit, and his beloved portrayal of Peter Parker could fill a gap left by Tom Holland. Neither Sony nor Marvel have to be as desperate to keep Holland in the role, because options exist. Granted, he’s incredibly popular, but No Way Home does prove that he’s not the only Spider-Man in the studio stable.
What Happens Next?
None of this has to be decided overnight, but it’d be good for Marvel and Sony to lock up whoever it’s going to be leading Spider-Man forward, so fans have clarity. Feige probably thought he was doing that by announcing development on a fourth Marvel Spider-Man movie. Then Tom Holland had to hedge bets in the Deadline interview instead of just saying, “I’m coming back, so let’s get a script!”
Instead, Holland will try to branch out with Uncharted, the latest attempt to show the world that Holland is more than just Peter Parker. Those attempts haven’t really worked just yet, as movies such as Cherry and Chaos Walking both failed to reach larger audiences. If Uncharted stumbles, don’t you think Holland will be ringing Feige and Pascal up, asking for a three-picture deal? Because I sure do.
There are no dates down for future Spider-Man movies, but Sony has circled 2023 release dates for untitled projects. One is expected to be a third Venom movie, which could include a Spider-Man (played by Holland, Garfield, OR Maguire). The other is expected to introduce a new character from the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters. And as Marvel works through Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the other upcoming Marvel movies, we’ll await clarification on the future of Tom Holland in the signature role. Until then, let’s all go see Spider-Man: No Way Home again, and appreciate the historical team up that it finally gave us.
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