Avengers: Endgame Director Says Tom Holland Is Becoming MCU's New Robert Downey Jr.

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Spider-Man, Iron Man, Marvel Studios

After weeks of speculation about what Marvel fans would see next from a trailer perspective, Sony Pictures delivered a game-changing look into the MCU's last 2021 film, Spider-Man: No Way Home. Coming first at a fan event in Southern California before the world jumped online to watch the madness, this new look at the Spider-Man threequel set the stage for something massive coming in Phase 4.

This second trailer mostly focused on giving Alfred Molina's Doc Ock a clearer path in the story while also showcasing the first full footage of Willem Dafoe's terrifying return as the Green Goblin. Additionally, following rumors going back a few months regarding other villains in the film, new takes on Sandman, Electro, and the Lizard were all confirmed to play key roles in the Multiversal mayhem.

At the center of all this, of course, will be Tom Holland's Spider-Man, who is in for undoubtedly his biggest adventure in the MCU since coming into the franchise over five years ago.

Even though Spidey's future after No Way Home is unclear after this threequel, fans and Holland alike want to see the web-slinger's MCU journey continue. This is the case in such a fashion that one of the MCU's iconic directors placed Holland in a special stratosphere in relation to his A-list co-stars.

Tom Holland Taking on RDJ Responsibilities

Tony Stark, Peter Parker

In the recent edition of GQ, MCU director Joe Russo spoke about seeing Spider-Man star Tom Holland fill a role for the MCU as a whole that was once occupied by Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr.

Specifically, Russo sees Holland becoming the fan-favorite of all fan-favorites in the MCU as Spider-Man, which was a title Downey held for more than a decade as he played Tony Stark:

“Tom is stepping into the role that Robert Downey once occupied for Marvel, which is the favorite character, and in a lot of ways the soul of the Marvel universe."

Holland, on the other hand, reflected on this being the first time he hasn't been preparing to take on major duties as an MCU superhero after finishing most of his work on Spider-Man: No Way Home. At the time of this interview in early October, all Holland had left to do for this threequel was a few more shots and additional dialogue to complete for the film:

“It’s very strange. The last six years of my life, I always had a job to go to. It’s kind of terrifying, but it’s also really exciting."

Russo also looked back to when Holland first was cast in Captain America: Civil War as Peter Parker in 2015, specifically touching on the "likeability" Holland brought to the set when he took on the Spider-Man role:

“He had a vulnerability and a wit, and an immense likability that felt to me like Peter Parker from the comics."

Holland Filling Huge MCU Shoes as Spider-Man

Robert Downey Jr. is well-known for getting the MCU off the ground in a big way with 2008's Iron Man before making ten appearances as Tony Stark over the next eleven years. Having concluded his time with the franchise after 2019's Avengers: Endgame, many fans and critics alike are now looking to see who will take his place as not only the Avengers' on-screen leader but the face of the MCU as a whole.

Joe Russo has certainly seen his fair share of stars in his time directing four MCU movies, three of which included Holland as Spider-Man. Looking at the way Holland has carried himself since first joining the franchise six years ago, Russo clearly sees some of the same qualities in Holland as he saw in Downey Jr., with Holland now set to appear in his sixth movie as Peter Parker.

These quotes come as an interesting juxtaposition to Holland's perspective on the matter, as this is the first time he's not deep into preparation for another round as Spider-Man after finishing the job on No Way Home

Filling the shoes of someone like Downey Jr. in the MCU is a tall order for anybody, although Holland has shown that he has all the qualifications to do it should his Spider-Man continue in the MCU over the coming years. However that works out, though, the young star put forth a Spider-Man that fans adore, all before he stars in what may be the biggest solo comic book movie ever made.

Spider-Man: No Way Home will debut in theaters on December 17, 2021. Tickets for the threequel will go on sale on November 29, 2021.

- In This Article: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Release Date
December 17, 2021
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.