With so much crossover going on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are bound to be bonds formed between actors. Over time, the Avengers films have spawned some creative relationships moviegoers are still benefitting from. One of the most well-known MCU relationships has been that of Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. And that bond began with Holland’s Spider-Man audition and, just recently, Downey explained why the young actor was right for the role.
From the moment Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was introduced into the MCU, it was clear Peter Parker and Tony Stark would share a special bond, and it certainly grew from Captain America: Civil War to Avengers: Endgame. I mean, we all remember that emotional Infinity War scene, right? Holland and Robert Downey Jr. managed to maintain that bond off-screen even after Downey departed the MCU, and it recently came into play again when Holland was profiled by British GQ. Downey was one of the many interviewed for the extensive piece, and he shared some keen thoughts as to why Holland was the one chosen to become the web-slinger.
Yeah, I may have done that. I did that. And the kid handled it. He was seasoned, good presence. I could tell he had good kung fu; he could roll with the punches and keep it more than interesting. Remember, I’d been testing with a bunch of kids that day. They shall remain unnamed, but they all did well and any one of them would have brought something else to the part of Spider-Man. But why Holland? That’s your question, right? Gravitas. Gravitas and the confidence to be able to take on the mantle.
After praising Tom Holland for his skills and presence as an actor, Robert Downey Jr. underlined the significance of casting the right Spider-Man. He did so by alluding to the legacy of other Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield:
Look, becoming Spider-Man is a lot. So why does Tom Holland get to be Spider-Man? That character is the gold standard in the MCU. Iron Man? Whatever. When I became Iron Man few had even heard of the character, ergo less pressure. But Spider-Man? Everyone knows Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield did a good job. Tobey Maguire did a good job. So I ask you again: why does Tom Holland get to be number three?
Robert Downey Jr. was right in that Tom Holland had a legacy to live up to, not only because of the two former actors but because of how much the character means to the superhero genre and Marvel fans. If Holland hadn’t aced his audition, there’s no telling how things would have panned out for Marvel and Sony's take on the character. But thankfully, Holland turned out to be the right choice, given the response from critics and general audience members since his debut.
It's great to see Robert Downey Jr. continue to support Holland’s projects and talents, and it's hard to argue with his sentiments on his Spider-Man performance. For many, Holland captured the spirit of Peter Parker even more than his predecessors, and Downey’s words only give more insight into his appreciation of Holland as an actor and scene partner.
Tom Holland's superhero will next be seen in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which arrives in theaters on December 17, 2021.