Tom Holland is looking back on how he may have mishandled replacing Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man in 2015. But first, a quick lesson in Spidey history.
After Sony bought the rights to the character in 1999, the Spider-Man franchise was revived on the big screen with a trilogy of movies starring Tobey Maguire that were released in 2002, 2004, and 2007.
Five years later, Andrew Garfield became the second person to don the famous Spidey suit with the release of the first Amazing Spider-Man movie in 2012, followed by a second in 2014.
When Andrew landed the role, it was expected that Sony would make at least threeAmazing Spider-Man movies with him at the helm, just as they had done with Tobey.
However, this ultimately was not to be, as Sony reportedly scrapped a third film just before it was set to be announced — subsequently recasting Andrew and starting from scratch with Tom.
The two Amazing Spider-Man movies that did come to fruition were met with underwhelming reviews and box office figures. And even while he was still attached to the role, Andrew was openly critical of the films, accusing the studio of cutting “deep scenes” and ruining “the thread” of the franchise.
Aside from this, the actual details around what went wrong between Andrew and Sony remain a little blurry.
In 2015, emails leaked in the Sony hack appeared to suggest that Andrew was prematurely “let go” after studio bosses were left unimpressed by his failure to attend an event in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, where the third Amazing Spider-Man movie was set to be announced in front of 750 guests.
According to reports, one email read, “Here we are about one hour away from our Gala event and Andrew decides he doesn't want to attend. He has a rather scruffy beard and he just wants to be left alone.”
Obviously, we can’t be sure what actually went down behind the scenes. However, Andrew was subsequently dropped, and in June 2015, Sony and Marvel announced that a then-19-year-old Tom Holland would be stepping into the role.
Now, in a brand-new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Tom has reflected on his entry into the MCU, expressing regret at the way he handled Andrew’s departure.
“That’s because of my naivete as a kid,” he said, admitting that he regrets not having had a conversation with Andrew at the time he replaced him in the coveted part. “I was 19 when I got cast. I was so caught up in getting the role that I never took any time to think about what it must have been like for him.”
Tom has appeared as Spidey six times now — three movies with his fellow Avengers, and three stand-alone films of his own — with each outing garnering widespread acclaim and staggering box office stats.
Seeing that Andrew’s experience as Peter Parker wasn’t so positive, Tom praised his predecessor’s ability to face the backlash and maintain a thriving career to this day.
“If I’d made my second movie and it didn’t necessarily deliver in the way it should have done and they recast me, I would really struggle to bounce back,” he said. “Andrew bounced back in the most unbelievable way.”
Tom added, “I just wish I’d called him and just said, ‘You know I can’t turn down this opportunity.’”
Needless to say, there certainly isn’t any bad blood between the duo, who were able to share the screen in 2021 when No Way Home brought together all three original Spider-Men.
“It was wonderful,” Tom said of the iconic reunion. “Myself, Andrew, Tobey — we have this amazing bond as three people who have been through something that is so unique that we really are like brothers.”
For his part, Andrew has gone on to find plenty of success away from the world of superheroes, earning himself two Oscar nominations since his departure from the Spider-Man franchise.
In a 2016 interview with Variety, Andrew admitted that he was left “heartbroken” by the disappointment of the Amazing Spider-Man movies and the way they were “compromised” by the studio.
“There’s something about being that young in that kind of machinery which I think is really dangerous,” he said, referring to the big-budget movies. “I was still young enough to struggle with the value system, I suppose, of corporate America, really; it’s a corporate enterprise mostly.”
He added, “I found that really, really tricky. I signed up to serve the story and to serve this incredible character that I’ve been dressing as since I was 3, and then it gets compromised and it breaks your heart. I got heartbroken a little bit to a certain degree.”