Tom Holland Reacts to Being Called Robert Downey Jr.'s MCU Replacement

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Spider-Man, Iron man

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures are gearing up for the stretch run of the promotional tour for the MCU's 27th movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home. Completing part of a journey that started with Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man and Tom Holland's web-slinger in 2016's Captain America: Civil War. The stage is set for Peter Parker's biggest solo adventure to date.

No Way Home will see Spider-Man take on two major challenges with his Mysterio-induced identity crisis and the MCU's Multiverse fully opening for the first time. Teaming up with Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange and potentially Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Men, this massive threequel will take Holland to new levels of stardom while mightily expanding the MCU's narrative.

Recently, former MCU director Joe Russo expressed feelings that Holland is now stepping into the role that Downey filled for more than a decade as the biggest fan-favorite character and de facto franchise leader:

“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 has heard these comments, although he looks at that status in his own unique way.

Holland Praises Support from MCU Teammates

In an interview on Josh Wilding's YouTube channel, Spider-Man: No Way Home star Tom Holland responded to comments made by Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo saying that Holland was the face of the MCU. Wilding also asked Holland if he would ever call MCU veteran Robert Downey Jr. for advice on dealing with the pressures of holding that title.

While Holland avoided agreeing wholeheartedly with that statement, he did express humility at hearing Russo say what he said. He also gave his appreciation for having such a supportive team both in the MCU and from the fan base, although he did say he'd call Downey should he need help or guidance along the way:

“I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m the face of the universe. I know that fans are really supportive and have responded massively to this franchise. I’m honored that Joe thinks that. But, the beautiful thing about the MCU is, whoever is the leader, if there ever is a leader again, you’re never alone. You have so many people that you can rely on and lean on, and people that I’ve now worked with for years and years. So, I don’t necessarily feel those pressures, but should I feel those pressures, then yes, I’ll call Downey and ask, yeah. I called him the other day for a piece of advice, and he was very kind.”

Holland Taking a Team First MCU Mentality

Of course, Tom Holland has made a name for himself as one of the MCU's biggest stars, playing arguably the most popular character in Marvel's history. With his sixth appearance in the franchise coming in a matter of days and as many as three future solo Spider-Man movies planned for the future, his place in the MCU's future is as secure as anyone.

Being compared to Robert Downey Jr. in any capacity is something no actor takes lightly, particularly considering Holland and Downey's history performing together in four MCU movies from Phase 3. Now that the web-slinger is likely taking on more of a leadership role on-screen while Holland does the same off-screen, the comparisons seem inevitable.

For the time being, Spider-Man: No Way Home will debut in theaters on December 17, 2021.

Holland's full interview with Josh Wilding can be watched below:


- 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.