Spider-Man: Homecoming introduces actor Tom Holland as the new face of Peter Parker and his costumed, web-slinging alter ego Spider-Man, with director Jon Watts (Cop Car) behind the camera for the first film to come out of a character-sharing partnership between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios. Along with Holland, the film’s cast features Michael Keaton as the villain Vulture, as well as Marisa Tomei as Peter’s aunt, May Parker, and Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr.
Scheduled to hit theaters July 7, 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming will be the 16th film in Marvel’s cinematic universe and the fourth film in the studio’s “Phase Three” chapter. Here’s everything we know about the film so far.
That missing scene
There’s a lot going on in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but one thing audiences aren’t going to see is a memorable scene from one of the early trailers for the film.
In an interview with ScreenCrush, Homecoming director Jon Watts explained why that shot of Iron Man and Spider-Man soaring through Queens, NY, didn’t actually make it from the trailer to the final cut of the film.
“I think what happened was in the very first trailer they wanted a shot of Spider-Man and Iron Man flying together,” he recalled. “And they were going to use something from the Staten Island Ferry [scene], but it just didn’t look that great — the background plate, because the Staten Island terminal is a very simple building. It almost looks like an un-rendered 3D object. So I think I was like, ‘Let’s just put them in Queens. Let’s use that as a backdrop.’ Because we couldn’t just create a whole new shot, so let’s just use one of these shots of the subway; put them in there.”
“I feel a little weird that there’s a shot in the trailer that’s not in the movie at all, but it’s a cool shot,” he added. “It’s funny, I forgot that we did that.”
A creative sneak peek
Just over a week before Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters, Sony and Marvel released the first four minutes of the film online for audiences.
This sneak peek at the movie featured a home video made by Peter Parker himself, and reveals his perspective on the events leading up to, during, and after his introduction to the superhero world in Captain America: Civil War.
While promoting Spider-Man: Homecoming in France, star Tom Holland confirmed some news that will be surprising to, well … no one at all.
Speaking to French-language news outlet AlloCiné, Holland indicated that Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have a three-movie arc planned out for the famous web-slinger.
“There is still a lot of room for Peter Parker and Spider-Man, especially, to grow in the next two movies,” said Holland when asked about his character’s narrative arc across Homecoming and his other appearances in Marvel’s cinematic universe. “He’s definitely not the finished article by the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming and I really look forward to exploring the different ways he can grow up and … go through puberty, I guess. It’s going to be an exciting couple of movies.”
When asked whether he is referencing plans for two solo Spider-Man movies, Holland admitted that he might have revealed more than the studio wanted to let out at this point.
“There will be a Spider-Man 2 and 3,” he confirmed. “Yeah, well … now you know, sorry Marvel. Whoops!”
A powerful mentor
Peter Parker’s relationship with Tony Stark was first introduced in Captain America: Civil War, and that dynamic got a closer look in a brief video released on Twitter in June. Along with providing some commentary from Stark himself, actor Robert Downey Jr., the video features some additional footage from the upcoming film.
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) June 12, 2017
“As mentors go, Peter could have done worse—by picking anyone but ME!” wrote Downey in a caption for the video.
A hot ticket
Following up on the release of a new trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming a day earlier, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios got into the NBA Finals action with a clip tied to the professional basketball league’s annual championship playoffs.
In the brief clip — which probably will not appear in the actual film — Tony Stark is tasked with finalizing the guest list for his upcoming NBA Finals party and decides to send Peter Parker an invitation. Stark’s assistant and friend Harold “Happy” Hogan (as played by Jon Favreau) first balks at the idea, then laments the facial hair he’s sporting due to a lost bet with Tony.
When Favreau’s character is asked whether to invite Captain America, he shakes his head and says, “Too soon” (a nod to the events of Captain America: Civil War). We then see Parker receive the invitation and swing off into the distance, leaving a criminal webbed-up in the background.
Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures doubled-down on the Spider-Man hype in May 2017 with a pair of trailers — one for U.S. theaters and one for international audiences — packed with fresh footage. The international trailer is particularly interesting, as it offers a glimpse into what was going on with Peter Parker in the moments leading up to (and during) his encounter with Captain America, Iron Man, and the rest of the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War.
The second trailer put the emphasis on the wall-crawler’s relationship with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who takes the teenage wannabe-superhero under his wing and provides him with a high-tech costume, only to offer a stern rebuke when Peter’s immaturity puts innocent people at risk.
Those latest trailers followed the first official trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, released December 12, 2016 during an episode of late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, appeasing fans who had been waiting a long time to see the web-slinger’s return to Marvel Studios’ expansive universe. Along with showcasing quite a bit of Tom Holland’s teenage Peter Parker as he leads his double life as a superhero and student, the trailer also features the grand — and explosive — introduction of the film’s primary villain, The Vulture, as played by Birdman and Batman actor Michael Keaton.
The new kid
After it was confirmed that The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actor Andrew Garfield would not be returning as Peter Parker, the search for a new Spider-star included quite a few high-profile contenders rumored for the role.
Among the early names orbiting the project were Ender’s Game actor Asa Butterfield, Interstellar actor Timothee Chalamet, The Killing actor Liam James, The Fault in Our Stars actor Nat Wolff, and eventual star Tom Holland, who was best known at that point for his supporting role in The Impossible. Holland was officially confirmed as the new Peter Parker in June 2015.
In the following months, Holland turned skeptics into believers with a series of photos featuring the athletic actor jumping, flipping, and otherwise showcasing the sort of gymnastic abilities that make him seem like a natural fit for the acrobatic superhero. The actor’s Instagram account quickly became a highlight reel of sorts for his gravity-defying skills.
Meta Michael Keaton
After some major back-and-forth on his involvement with the film — which involved him publicly passing on the project at one point — Michael Keaton was finally confirmed as the villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming in June 2016.
Keaton will play Adrian Toomes, the villain more famously (or infamously, in this case) known as Vulture in the Marvel Comics universe. First appearing in 1963’s Spider-Man #2, Toomes was initially portrayed as the deranged creator of a supernatural flying harness that gave him super-strength. Over the years, Vulture has been a recurring threat to Spider-Man, and several different characters have adopted the villain’s name at various points.
Keaton’s version of Toomes is reported to be the owner of a salvage company in New York City who gets his hands on some remnants of Chitauri technology after the aliens’ attempted invasion of Earth in The Avengers.
Of course, the casting of Keaton in this particular role has inspired quite a bit of comparison between Vulture and Birdman, the winged superhero character portrayed in 2014’s Oscar-winning film Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and his famous portrayal of another winged comic character on the DC side of the coin, Batman. While Birdman brought him back to the comic book table, so to speak, the role as Vulture will be Keaton’s first as a comic-book character since the 1992 sequel Batman Returns.
Welcome (back) to Marvel
After years spent occupying his own solo cinematic universe at Sony Pictures, Spider-Man finally joined Marvel Studios’ cinematic supergroup in February 2015, thanks to a partnership between the two studios.
The deal gave Sony control over financing, distribution, and final creative decisions on future Spider-Man films, with Marvel producing the movies and integrating the famous web-slinger into its own Marvel Cinematic Universe projects. The deal works in reverse, too, with MCU characters appearing in Spider-Man films.
Spider-Man made his debut in the MCU official in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, one of several new MCU characters introduced in the film (along with Black Panther, among others).
Behind the camera
Early rumors regarding the first Spider-Man movie to come out of Marvel and Sony’s partnership had The Cabin in the Woods co-writer and director Drew Goddard directing the film, with The Spectacular Spider-Man reported to be its working title in March 2015. A few months later, six different names were floated around the movie news outlets as contenders for the director’s chair, with Goddard falling out of the conversation.
The six filmmakers rumored in May 2015 to be in the mix included Warm Bodies director Jonathan Levine, St. Vincent director Ted Melfi, Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore, Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess, and the two-person team of Vacation directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein. That report suggested that the film was hoping to have “John Hughes humor and emotion, plus all the superhero stuff,” and that each of the sequels would chronicle a new year in high school for Peter Parker.
A month later, however, all seven directors fell out of contention when Cop Car director Jon Watts officially signed on. However, Daley and Goldstein were later confirmed to be revising the film’s script, applying their knack for comedy — having penned the scripts for Horrible Bosses and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, among other projects — to the web-slinging superhero’s big-screen return.
Spider-Man might be a solo act as a superhero, but Peter Parker has never been without a strong supporting cast of family and friends to help him cope with life outside the web.
First and foremost among Parker’s supporting cast has always been his aunt, May Parker. Often depicted as a much older woman — in truth, more like a great-grandmother than an aunt — May has been Peter’s caretaker for much of his life in the absence of his parents. (The reason behind his parents’ absence has been revised countless times over the years, so it will be interesting to see how it’s set up in the new franchise.)
In July 2015, Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) entered negotiations to play May Parker, and was later confirmed for the role. She eventually made her on-screen debut as the character in Captain America: Civil War.
In March 2016, Disney pop star Zendaya also joined the cast in a role identified simply as “Michelle.” Her character later appeared in a brief scene in the first trailer, and appears to be a classmate of Peter Parker. Contrary to early rumors, however, her character doesn’t seem to be set up as a potential love interest for Parker.
Providing some additional support on the superhero side is Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, who will also play a major role in Homecoming as Peter’s mentor.
The pair first appeared on the screen together in Captain America: Civil War, and Homecoming will be set after the events of that film, with Peter struggling to balance his life as a high-school student with the high-flying adventures he tasted during the Civil War events.
Additional supporting roles are played by Community actor and Atlanta star Donald Glover, who plays an as-yet unidentified role in the film, as well as Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Isabella Amara (The Boss), Hannibal Buress (Broad City), and Michael Mando (Better Call Saul).
What’s in a name?
After hearing about Spider-Man’s first film in Marvel’s cinematic universe for more than a year, fans finally learned the title of the movie in April 2016 when star Tom Holland revealed it during the annual CinemaCon event in Las Vegas.
— Spider-Man (@SpiderManMovie) April 13, 2016
Holland made the announcement after attending the premiere of Captain America: Civil War earlier that day, and said of the newly titled Spider-Man: Homecoming that the film “really is a homecoming because, throughout the movie, Peter is trying to find out who he is and where he belongs in this world.”
Fans, of course, were quick to point out that it’s also a homecoming for the character due to his arrival in the Marvel cinematic universe, the big-screen home of many of his Marvel Comics peers.
Update: We added a preview of the first four minutes of the movie and some news about a scene from the trailer that didn’t make it into the film.
- The best superhero movies of all time
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales — Everything we know
- Black Panther 2: Everything we know about the sequel so far
- The 50 best movies on Netflix right now
- Black Widow: Everything we know about Marvel’s Phase 4 movie