When Spider-Man swung into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, it was a huge deal. But, it turns out that Peter Parker actually made his MCU debut much earlier. That’s right, Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland has confirmed that the future web-slinger did indeed make an appearance in 2010’s Iron Man 2.
Holland confirmed the longstanding fan theory while speaking to The Huffington Post ahead of Homecoming’s release. During the climax of Iron Man 2, a hijacked fleet of drones attacks civilians at the Stark Expo (which was held in Queens, where Peter lives). One brave little kid, wearing a toy Iron Man masked, stands up to a drone, only for the real Tony to swoop down and take the baddie out. “Nice work, kid,” he says.
“I can confirm that, that is Peter Parker,” Holland told HuffPost when they asked the 21-year-old star about the theory. And, this isn’t just a young actor making some off-the-dome retroactive changes to the canon — this got the blessing of Marvel Studios’s top brass, Kevin Feige.
“I can confirm that as of today. I literally had a conversation with Kevin Feige only 20 minutes ago,” Holland said. “Maybe I’ve just done a big, old spoiler, but it’s out there now. It’s cool. I like the idea that Peter Parker has been in the universe since the beginning.”
Io9 spoke with Holland after the HuffPost interview went up, and he backtracked just a little, saying that Feige didn’t come out and confirm the cameo as much as he was open to it. “It’s funny, I literally had a conversation with Kevin like 20 minutes before [The Huffington Post] interview and he didn’t confirm it, I took it upon myself just because I thought it would be a good story and it’s exploded,” Holland said.
Now, it’s probably safe to place a little asterisk next to since the beginning. Back in 2010, when Iron Man 2 came out, Marvel didn’t have the rights to Spider-Man, as Sony still had complete control of the character. While it’s possible that the little kid was always meant to be a subtle homage to the most popular Marvel character the movies couldn’t use, it seems more likely that it was just a happy coincidence.
Still, even if the kid wasn’t always Peter Parker, he is now, and the retroactive cameo adds some nice history to the MCU.
Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters on July 7.