After entering the Marvel universe in last summer’s Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man returned home to Queens after a life-changing experience fighting with (and against) the Avengers. In his first solo outing, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker, now played by Tom Holland, learns to become a hero in his own right. The appropriately aged Spidey battles the Vulture (Michael Keaton), a blue-collar salvage worker who has been stealing and selling stolen alien technology for criminals.
On Sunday morning at the Whitby Hotel in Manhattan, the cast, director Jon Watts, and producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal participated in a live press conference to talk about the movie. During a lively conversation with a moderator and the audience, the Spidey crew revealed news ins and outs of Spider-Man’s solo film debut, as well as the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are a handful of things fans learned about the new movie during the half-hour briefing.
1. Toby McGuire was Tom Holland’s Spidey while growing up.
As the press conference kicked off, lead star Tom Holland was asked about becoming a new hero for a new generation. Holland referred to his own childhood and watching the original Spider-Man trilogy, which was directed by Sam Raimi and starred Toby McGuire as Peter Parker. In regards to Maguire, Tom Holland said:
“I think the thing I had to remind myself most when I first took on this character was [that] Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man had such a huge impact on me as a kid. He was my role model growing up, he was my favorite character, so I had to keep reminding myself that I’m gonna have that same impact on kids of the younger generation. So I really wanted to do them proud and be a solid role model for them, and do a fresh version of a character we know so well.”
2. The premise of Homecoming was very simple: What if you gave a kid superpowers?
“The [thing] Jon and I asked ourselves was, if you gave 15-year-old superpowers, he would have the time of his life,” Holland said. “And when I made this movie I had the time of my life.”
3. The Vulture has legitimate gripes.
Michael Keaton said audiences will recognize the motivations of his blue collar character, Adrian Toomes, who becomes the Vulture. He said it’s timely, “but let’s not talk about why it’s timely because I want to blow my brains out,” Keaton joked, referring to the current political climate. “I thought it was a unique approach, and obvious when you think about it.”
4. Marisa Tomei didn’t know what Aunt May looked like until after she signed up.
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), who played Aunt May in Captain America: Civil War and reprises the role in Spider-Man: Homecoming, said she was unaware of what Aunt May — a traditionally older character — would look like in this version before she signed on. “I didn’t understand why my agents kept going ‘She’s sexy.’ Ugh, stop trying to coddle me,” she joked. She then gave props to the filmmakers who had the vision “of how it was going to be revamped and how everyone was going to be younger.”
5. She’s also Peter’s aunt by marriage.
A minor change to Peter Parker’s family is that Aunt May, whose relation to Peter has always been kind of vague, is related to him by marriage. “She’s his aunt by marriage so she can be any age at all.”
6. Jacob Batalon wants Ned Leeds to become the Hobgoblin.
Although his character functions more like the Ganke Lee character in Brian Michael Bendis’s Ultimate Spider-Man comics, Jacob Batalon plays Ned Leeds, who in the comics becomes the super-villain Hobgoblin. When asked if he knew about this part of his character, Batalon said he knew it all too well. “I want that to happen,” he said.
7. The suit is an homage to the Iron Spider suit.
In Marvel’s Civil War comics, Tony Stark builds Peter Parker a new costume, which fans dubbed the Iron Spider suit. This part of the comics played a huge role in inspiring Spider-Man: Homecoming.
“If Tony Stark built a Spider-Man suit, what could it do that could be so amazing?” asked Watts rhetorically. “There’s a little bit of precedence in the comics with the Iron Spider suit, so we used that as inspiration for the bells and whistles Stark would put in this thing.”
Watch the whole press conference below.
Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters on July 7.