In just a few short years, Tom Holland has become one of the biggest movie stars on Earth. After his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War the Spider-Man actor has only increased in notoriety. The young megastar is about to see his third solo Marvel movie hit theaters in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and anticipation is high, to say the least.
Ever since Holland's Peter Parker hit the silver screen, he has been closely tied to some of the biggest names of Marvel Studios' monster franchise. The most integral of these within Spidey's solo story has been Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark.
While many have criticized this iteration of the wall-crawler due to being so closely involved with Iron Man, Tony's death in Avengers: Endgame served as an emotional turning point for the character. This also acted as a passing of the torch from one of the MCU's forefathers to one of its young up-and-coming stars, something fans will surely see as the franchise marches on into the future.
On-screen, audiences saw more of this as Holland's young superhero was gifted Tony Stark's EDITH glasses, but, other than some sage advice, did RDJ ever pass anything on to the Spidey actor in the real world? As it turns out, he did.
Tom Holland Gets Iron Man's Helmet
In Tom Holland's appearance on the YouTube series Hot Ones, the Spider-Man: No Way Home star revealed that Robert Downey Jr. gifted him and his brother "the original Iron Man helmet" back in 2018.
Holland said that in the lead-up to Black Panther, he and his little brother Patty were invited to a screening of the film with RDJ. After "Patty came running into the room" holding to the helmet "Downey [gave] it to him as a gift," a symbol that was not lost on the young actor mentioning that to have that "souvenir...from the original [MCU] film...is a huge honor:"
"My favorite souvenir was actually given to me. Well it wasn’t given to me, it was given to my little brother Patty. When Black Panther was coming out, Robert Downey Jr. was making Dr. Doolittle in London, he was staying down the road from where I live. He invited us to a screening of Black Panther at his house. When Patty came running into the room, and he’s holding the original Iron Man helmet, and Downey had given it to him as a gift. That's a really special one for me because I was lucky enough to join the MCU but I joined it very late. And that souvenir, that's from the original film, that's the birthplace of this incredible world that Kevin Feige and Marvel have created. Ya know, and Favreau and Downey kickstarted. So to have something from that film is a huge honor."
A Passing of the Helmet
The symbolism cannot be lost here, and it is nice to hear that Tom Holland understands what was happening. Sure, it was his little brother that got Iron Man's original helmet, but RDJ had to know what he was doing. He had to see the future that Holland was about to have within the MCU.
For more than a decade, Downey Jr. was the figurehead of the MCU, and even back in 2018, it felt like Holland's Peter Parker was next in line to carry the torch. That was dealt with directly in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and while Tom Holland has handled the pressure well publicly so far, it cannot be an easy burden to bear.
But to get that gesture of goodwill from the granddaddy of all MCU superheroes must have been something that, in the moment, meant a lot and continues to mean a lot. Anytime the Spider-Man actor feels down or like he isn't worthy of the Marvel Studios crown, he can look over to that shelf with that OG Iron Man symbol and know that RDJ thought he was ready for this.
If there were ever a "with great power comes great responsibility" moment in the real world, this would be it.