Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe closed its doors with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man last year, but Phase 3 is here and there is a whole lot to look forward to. Though Ant-Man wasn't technically a part of Phase 3, it was very telling about the plans the studio has for their upcoming slate of films in that we are going to be getting a whole lot of new characters, some of which we have already seen and will be seeing a whole lot more of in the next few years. Captain America: Civil War officially kicked off Phase 3 of the MCU with a bang and though it was a Captain America movie at its heart, there was still time to introduce a few new characters, most notably Spider-Man.
Yes, nerd dreams dating back to the earliest days of Marvel Studios have finally been realized and the studio was able to work out a deal with Sony to have your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man be part of the MCU. Those who have seen Civil War, which at this point seems to be just about everyone, know that the new version of Spidey is absolutely on point and has been incredibly well received. The journey to get Peter Parker into the the hands of Marvel Studios was a long one and a complicated one, but when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 failed to really generate the buzz Sony was hoping it would in order for the studio to be able to launch an entire cinematic universe centered around the wall crawler, the door of opportunity was open and Kevin Feige pounced.
Well, we're in luck because in 2017, Tom Holland is coming back as Peter Parker for his first solo film, which will also be a part of the MCU. Since Captain America: Civil War is out of the way and production has wrapped and anticipation is building for Doctor Strange, details are starting to surface for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and we know a lot more than you might think. Here is everything we know so far about Spider-Man's first solo adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It kind of goes without saying since his name is the main part of the title of the movie, but this is going to be a Spider-Man movie all the way. The only reason that is maybe worth mentioning is because as great as something like Captain America: Civil War was and as much as it was a Captain America story, it was really Avengers 2.5. Make no mistake though, this first Tom Holland outing is going to be his show and Spidey is going to be front and center. If there were any doubts about that prior to now, after Civil War, those doubts have been all squashed.
Holland absolutely crushed it in his first appearance in the MCU, brief as it may have been, the insanely positive response has surely given the top brass at Marvel all of the confidence in the world to put this movie on the shoulders of Spidey entirely. We know that Parker will already have been Spidey for a little while as well. This will absolutely not be an origin story. As referenced in Civil War, during that movie he had his powers for about six months, so depending on how much later after those events that Homecoming takes place, he'll still be learning, but comfortable enough to be fun. We also know that this is going to be a high school aged Peter Parker and a Spider-Man who isn't shy about making jokes. Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire had their moments for a quip or two, but Spidey's limited screen time so far has shown us this will be a much more vocal and true to form representation.
Even though we are five films and three reboots deep with the character, Marvel is definitely going to do something different with the character on this go around. With the help of Tony Stark, Parker is going to have a technologically advanced suit and some other tech. Though this is likely going to be the version of Spider-Man a lot of us have been waiting to see for a very long time, it very likely won't be treading too much of the same water that has come before it.
It isn't like Marvel has had a hard time attracting talent to their movies, but getting Oscar nominee Michael Keaton at this exact point in his career to play the main villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming is a pretty fantastic get. Though an official statement hasn't been made by the studio about the casting yet, it is by all accounts a done deal. The film's director sent out a tweet that essentially confirmed the long standing rumors circulating the Birdman actor's involvement in the project. As for who Keaton will be playing? That is less certain, but all signs are pointing to Adrian Toomes, aka The Vulture.
For months the odds have been in favor of Vulture being the main bad guy in Homecoming and it is far from likely that Keaton would be taking on a small, ancillary role in the film. Plus, with Keaton's history as Batman and what he did with Birdman, it is actually a really fun bit of casting beyond the fact that he is a terrific actor and fits the role like a glove. Vulture was one of the very first villains Spider-Man ever faced in the comics and has remained a primary enemy of his ever since. The character of Toomes is a former electronics engineer who builds himself a flying suit that also gives him superhuman abilities. Vulture, though not a young nemesis, is ruthless and incredibly smart, so though he may seem a little but uninteresting to those without a deep history of comic book knowledge, this should make for a very great showdown.
Director Jon Watts
If there is anything that feels a bit unsure about what is shaping up to be a potentially excellent comic book movie, it is director Jon Watts. He has been working the business for quite some time, but only has two very small films under his belt that virtually nobody has seen. A horror movie Clown that is just now coming out in the U.S. this year and a small indie film called Cop Car he did with Kevin Bacon. That is about all we have to go off of. What is maybe even more surprising though is that Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios, along with some of the execs at Sony we assume, hired Watts even before Cop Car came out. Marvel has a track record of giving a promising director a shot at the big time with great success, but with a guy like James Gunn, his resume up until that point all made sense for the project he was given as Guardians of the Galaxy seemed to line up with his sensibilities. With Watts, we are pretty much putting our faith entirely in the fact the incredible talent around him is trusting him with this huge responsibility. This will be his first big test as a director in the public eye, but Marvel and Sony know how big of a deal this is and it is hard to imagine they didn't really think this through.
Marvel's In Control
The journey to get Spider-Man to be part of the MCU was a very long one, and not exactly an easy one by any accounts. As of now, Sony owns the rights to the character and absolutely did not want to just give them up. That is why we saw a rebooted version of the character with Andrew Garfield after Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 fell apart. However, Feige and his team were able to work out a very complex deal whereby Sony and Marvel Studios would co-produce future Spider-Man films and allow the character to show up in other MCU films.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 made more than a decent amount of money, but was a big disappointment for fans and critics and left Sony in a bad place. That is the whole reason this deal happened. Fans need not worry though, as Feige has went on record saying that, though Sony still owns the character and will surely be involved in the process, Marvel is in creative control of the project. It seems like Sony knows that if it isn't broken, they shouldn't try to fix it. They are seemingly comfortable just sitting back and cashing the check, which is probably the best case scenario for moviegoers.
Robert Downey Jr. Returns as Tony Stark
After Iron Man 3 and before Captain America: Civil War, the future of Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man in the MCU was a little uncertain. We were pretty sure that there wouldn't be an Iron Man 4 and it seemed like Downey was looking to distance himself from the character that revived his career. Fortunately for us, that is very from the case and as of right now, Downey is doubling down on Tony Stark for right now and we are going to be getting more of his iconic take on the role over the next couple of years as he will be in both Infinity War films and perhaps more important, will be in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
In Civil War, one of the absolute best parts of the entire film was the interaction between Stark and Parker in both the initial meeting and during the airport battle. Though brief, it was clear that Stark was going to take on a bit of a mentor role for Parker, even designing his suit that is used in the airport battle in Civil War. We don't know exactly how big of a role Downey will have in the movie, but it is likely he will be in it at more than a cameo level, but he will likely keep the Iron Man suit off this time around and will be around to mentor the young Spider-Man for his first big challenge. No matter what, this is great news and will very likely only make the film better.
Since this isn't going to be an origin story, we probably won't be seeing Uncle Ben in Spider-Man: Homecoming, unless there is some sort of a flashback or something, but we will definitely be seeing Aunt May who is being played by Oscar winner Marisa Tomei. We had already seen two different versions of May on screen prior to Tomei's brief bit in Civil War, most recently by Sally Field in The Amazing Spider-Man series. However, even before seeing her on screen, we know this was going to be a very different Aunt May. Typically, May is portrayed as a much older woman, but Tomei is somebody's good looking aunt, and that someone is Peter Parker. During the very small scene that Tomei was featured in Civil War, she was interacting with Robert Downey Jr. and he made a joke or two about Parker having an alarmingly attractive aunt. This is definitely different than what normally comes to mind when we think of May, but there is no doubt that Tomei is a great actress and she clearly has chemistry on screen with Downey already, so it is very promising. Homecoming needs to be different than what we've seen from Spider-Man before, and Tomei as Aunt May is one way to do that.
Though Michael Keaton will be playing the main villain, rumored to be The Vulture, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans should expect to see at least one, if not more than one more of Spidey's classic bad guys in the film. We have almost no idea who else will be in the film, but there will definitely at least be references and cameo appearances of other villains in the movie. Rumors have been floating around about how some of these other villains may appear in Homecoming, with a report claiming that The Tinkerer will be involved in the film by building Vulture's suit. Not only that, but a very interesting rumor was circulating that Vincent D'Onofrio would be making an appearance in the movie as his character from Netflix's Daredevil. That has since looked to be almost totally derailed, but the prospect is still exciting. Even if it isn't Wilson Fisk, Marvel will definitely sprinkle in some more of Spider-Man's rogues gallery to help set up battles in future installments. This part is a little speculative, but there are some signs that show Marvel Studios and Sony may be planting the seeds for a Sinister Six movie down the line. If that is the case, they will have to plant at least a couple of those seeds in Homecoming to make that happen.
Setting and Tone
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone did their best to convince moviegoers that they were both peculiarly good looking high school kids that both looked like they were pushing 30, but that really didn't work. One of the most interesting parts of the early years of Spider-Man is that he is very young and still in high school. It gives him a lot to contend with aside from the fact that he has been bitten by a radioactive spider and given superhuman abilities. Tom Holland, as we already know, is playing a 15 or 16 year old version of the character and will indeed be in high school during Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The film has been described as having a John Hughes type of tone. So, think The Breakfast Club, but with supervillains and web slinging. That should make Homecoming both very different from pretty much any Spider-Man movie that has come prior and very different from anything we have seen in the MCU to date. We also know that Zendaya has been cast as a character named Michelle, and given her age and appearance, it looks like Marvel is going to give us a convincing cast of young talent.
With about a year remaining until the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, we still have a lot to learn, but what we already know is a very good and very promising start. The film arrives in theaters on July 7, 2017. Be sure to stay tuned for updates as we will be sure to keep you up to date as we learn more.