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He’s best known for his role in ‘Billy Elliot.’
Earlier this week, former child star Tom Holland, known for playing the lead in the London musical adaptation of Billy Elliot, made a much bigger splash when he posted videos of himself doing backflips on his Instagram.
No-context backflips on Instagram aren’t that big a deal—unless you’re reportedly in the running to play a certain legendary superhero. Holland’s social media updates instantly sparked rumors that Marvel had made its decision—and they were right:
Tom Holland is your new Spider-Man.
The 19-year-old won the role after what Marvel announced as a “full worldwide casting search.”
Marvel also announced that the film’s director would be the relatively unknown Jon Watts, director of the 2014 horror film Clown and an upcoming thriller called Cop Car. Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman described Watts’ relative lack of experience as a benefit, stating, “I’ve worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent.”
Holland’s Instagram posts, in retrospect, show him clearly practicing a few stunts for the role.
Holland, who most recently starred in the acclaimed Wolf Hall mini-series, clearly has lots of limber energy to bring to the role. According to producer Amy Pascal, he’s “a vibrant, talented young actor” she and Marvel and Sony are eager to work with. Still, between his young age and his serving as the umpteenth iteration of white, straight Peter Parker, we can’t blame the Internet for responding to the casting with a round of pointed mockery:
The year is 2020. Every 18-year-old is required to serve as Spider-Man in a Spider-Man reboot.
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) June 23, 2015
I love a new white Spider-Man 😍 like who wants other superheroes if we have again a white straight teenager 😍
— elven queen saetan (@carolsangeI) June 23, 2015
There are three constants in life; Death, taxes and Spider-Man remakes.
— Ron Snow (@RonPodovich) June 23, 2015
Those of you who wanted the new Spider-Man to be Miles Morales—and we see you!—you may just have to wait a few years longer. As of Monday, Miles has officially taken over the cowl from Peter in the new iteration of the main Marvel timeline, which now puts the pressure on Sony to bring his story to the silver screen.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Neatorama, Spidey’s co-creator Stan Lee reiterated that it’s fine that Peter Parker remains a straight, white dude. Lee’s logic is that Peter was created that way, so that’s how he should stay.
So there you have it: Nerdy white guys have it for another few films at least. Or until, having exhausted its supply of white dudes named Chris, Marvel runs through its supply of British dudes named Tom.
We look forward to Miles Morales, 2019, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
Photo via tomholland2013/Instagram
Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.