Tom Holland Hints at Spider-Man Exit as Marvel Contract Expires

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Yet, from the standpoint of the fans, it seems surreal that Holland is even entertaining the notion of an exit from the Marvel money-printing movie machine, especially with the ever-increasing prominence his character is receiving in the MCU. With Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man having been martyred in unforgettably-emotional, universe-saving fashion in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, Holland’s Spider-Man is unquestionably the de facto face of the MCU—mind you, this is despite the fact that his eponymous solo movies are still technically productions of licensee Sony Pictures, per the initial historic deal that finally brought Marvel’s mascot into the prolific film continuity. Plus, with the increasing presence of Spidey-less, canonically-confusing cold-intro character spinoffs such as the Venom films and the upcoming Morbius, an exit would renege on expected onscreen collisions with Holland’s Spidey—especially after the Spidey-related multiverse implications revealed in Venom: Let There Be Carnage’s post-credits—and would be a blow to consumer confidence in the franchise.  

Consequently, Holland’s MCU tenure somehow feels as if it hasn’t fully started, even after six apparently-taxing years for the star. Unlike predecessor Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield (both of whom might be secret No Way Home co-stars), the run of Holland’s Spidey—introduced in fully-realized form in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War—never showcased the character’s traditional arc of an origin story, and has been notably deprived of all his classic character-defining comic book moments. It’s a notable aspect that makes the whole tenure—despite its fan-celebrated status and unprecedented success—defined by unfulfilled potential. Former Sony chairperson Amy Pascal—who played a key role in forming this Spider-Man iteration—seems to agree with this notion, and unequivocally states in the GQ piece, “I’ve talked to him about doing, like, 100 more. I’m never going to make Spider-Man movies without him. Are you kidding me?”

Nevertheless, Holland seems to be telegraphing near-future plans that don’t involve web-swinging and/or wall-crawling. In fact, one of said plans would even see the actor trade his signature “Underoos” for a tuxedo, and his web-shooters for a Walther PPK to fill one of the most prominent role vacancies in the film industry. “He talks about being James Bond a lot,” co-star Jacob Batalon (best pal Ned Leeds) tells GQ, “A lot a lot.” Yet, forgoing the obvious reasons why Holland, despite being a good actor, is not the right fit for Agent 007, one must also remember that he will get to showcase himself as a proper leading man for another popular franchise when his starring role will take adventurer Nathan Drake from the realm of bestselling video games to the big screen with Uncharted—as notably directed by Venom’s Ruben Fleischer—which is currently set to invade theaters in February, which is not long after No Way Home’s December drop.

However, amid the inauspicious declaration of being done with Spidey by the age of 30, Holland also hints at a future scenario in which he continues on with the role. “I’d be very content with just being a stay-at-home dad, and producing a film here and there,” he continues. “That’s not to say that will happen right now. “I might start shooting The Crowded Room [a film project he co-scripted with brother Harry] and go, ‘You know what, this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.’ Or I might do Spider-Man 4, 5, and 6, finish when I’m 32, and never make another. I’m not sure what I want to do.”

Consequently, we can take Holland’s words with a solid grain of salt, especially since he’s been brandishing this one-foot-out-the-door mentality for some time now, and even raised many eyebrows this past October when he described No Way Home as “the end of a franchise,” speaking of the solo series in an elegiac manner while simultaneously teasing that prospective future Spider-Man appearances would “try to build something different and tonally change the films,” albeit after a hiatus for an undefined amount of time. Indeed, Holland seems to be assessing the overall trajectory of his career, about which he tells GQ, “I definitely don’t think I want to be an actor for the rest of my life,” going on to imply that he might one day fall back on his previous labor-of-love training as a carpenter. “I’ve always been really good with my hands. If something’s broken, I can always figure out a way of fixing it,” says Holland, who also toys with the philanthropic notion of “buying apartment buildings and renting them out cheaper than they need to be, because I don’t need the money.”

Spider-Man: No Way Home is positioned as a pandemic-era box office game-changer, scheduled to hit theaters on Dec. 17. A presumed direct follow-up, MCU sequel Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, is currently on schedule for May 6, 2022, barring any further delays from its reported re-shoots.

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