The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a star-making machine since it kicked off with 2008’s Iron Man. The MCU reintroduced Robert Downey, Jr. to a new generation, and minted Chris Evans as Captain America. (Remember when he was in Fantastic Four?) But it’s possible no one’s risen higher from obscurity and benefited more than Tom Holland. But now, with No Way Home, his third solo Spider-Man movie, on the horizon, everyone’s favorite webslinger is thinking beyond his memorable performances across the MCU.
Holland’s recent interview with GQ is worth reading in full, where he gets into detail on both his literal and career dreams. But when Holland gets into the future, he makes one thing very clear: There’s more to him than Spider-Man.
“Maybe it is time for me to move on. Maybe what’s best for Spider-Man is that they do a Miles Morales film. I have to take Peter Parker into account as well, because he is an important part of my life,” he says. He emphasizes that “if I’m playing Spider-Man after I’m 30, I’ve done something wrong.”
It’s an interesting cut-off point for the 25-year-old actor. Some of the most memorable depictions of Spidey have passed the three-oh mark. When Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 opened in theaters on May 30, 2007, star Tobey Maguire was actually 32. And while the third movie in Raimi’s franchise is more bloated than the others, that’s hardly the fault of Maguire, who gave an incredibly energetic as an evil Peter Parker who loves to dance. There were even announced plans for a Spider-Man 4.
Aging Spideys can also offer some weight to a character whose life canonically changes when they’re still in school. While Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a movie about Miles Morales, Jake Johnson stole the show as a disheveled 38-year old Peter B. Parker who is desperately trying to get his life together.
But maybe the issue isn’t what can be done with the role, but rather what Holland wants to do with his life. It’s important to remember that when Holland first swung onto screens in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, he was 19. Since then he’s appeared in five MCU movies, six if you count No Way Home.
Playing Spider-Man until he’s 30 would mean being in the same role for 11 years. That’s a long time for any actor to consistently stick with any one role, and presumably its even a longer time for anyone in their 20s. Raimi’s trilogy lasted for five years. Daniel Craig ended up playing James Bond for 15 years, but started the role at 38 and has also branched out to a variety of roles, like Benoit Blanc in Knives Out.
A young actor and dancer who first came up in a West End production of Billy Elliot: The Musical, and broke out in the accomplished-but-little-seen 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami drama The Impossible, Holland has been testing the waters outside the MCU for a few years now. His recent dramatic roles in Cherry and The Devil All The Time ... haven’t gone over well. His upcoming role as Nathan Drake in the long-coming Uncharted movie could give him another franchise character to sink his teeth into, though who knows how it might play after more than a decade in development.
Holland walks back his age-limit later on in the interview, saying that he “might do Spider-Man 4, 5, and 6, finish when I’m 32, and never make another.” But that comment is thrown in alongside his truly wide range of ambitions: He wants to be James Bond, he wants to be a stay-at-home dad, he wants to be a producer, and he wants to get “sloppy drunk.”
Ultimately, Holland doesn’t want to give “100 percent” of his energy to any single endeavor going forward, presumably because the world is his oyster. At 25, that’s a pretty good place to be.
Meanwhile, this week sees the release of Tick, Tick...Boom!, which finds ex-Spider-Man Andrew Garfield playing a fictional version of Jonathan Larson and singing a song about turning 30 without accomplishing true art. Getting old!