Get to Know the Stars of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’
The release date for Spider-Man: Homecoming is fast-approaching, and between the recent sneak peek and the hype surrounding the Marvel Cinematic Universe-Sony crossover, it’s gearing up to be quite an opening. But there’s still more you can learn ahead of time.
Like with any superhero project, Homecoming was shrouded in secrecy, but the cat is out of the bag — we now know who plays which characters in the film. Check out who will appear on screen and why they may look familiar.
Tom Holland as Peter Parker
At 21 years old, Tom Holland is the youngest actor to ever portray a superhero in a major motion picture. This was an unusual choice for the project, as the previous two actors to take on the role were significantly older (Tobey Maguire was 30 at the time of his casting, while Andrew Garfield was 26). But Holland has both the youthful appearance and exuberance needed to play Peter Parker.
Holland has been acting since he was a child, appearing in stage productions of Billy Elliot the Musical in London’s West End. He’s a relative newcomer to the Hollywood scene, with roles alongside many acclaimed performers in films such as The Impossible, How I Live Now, and In the Heart of the Sea (where he worked with fellow Marvel staple Chris Hemsworth). But it really wasn’t until his first appearance as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War that he became a major player.
Michael Keaton as Vulture
Spider-Man’s nemesis for Homecoming is Adrian Toomes, also known as Vulture. This part is uniquely suited for veteran actor Michael Keaton, who is perhaps best known for playing another kind of winged creature: Batman.
Keaton portrayed the DC superhero in Batman and Batman Returns. His career floundered a bit after that, but he burst back on the scene with Birdman, where he got meta portraying a struggling actor who was once known for playing a flying superhero.
Apparently, bird-like heroes and villains are what Keaton does best.
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
By this point, most people know the Hollywood tale of Robert Downey Jr. He had early success, status as a fringe member of the ‘80s Brat Pack, and an Oscar nomination before his 30th birthday. However, he then slipped into a downward spiral of drugs, legal troubles, and subsequent rehab, before beginning a comeback in the mid-’00s with films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
It was then that Downey Jr. hit his stride, appearing in the hilarious Tropic Thunder in 2008, the same year he began his tenure as Tony Stark. Since then, he has been very busy playing Iron Man (a role he continues in Homecoming), as well as a role as Sherlock Holmes in the 2009 film and its sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
Marisa Tomei as May Parker
Dedicated Marvel fans saw a couple of scenes with Marisa Tomei as the youngest-ever Aunt May in Civil War. This wasn’t the first time Tomei had to flirt with Downey Jr on screen: The pair starred opposite one another in the 1992 film Chaplin, the actress’ follow-up to her Oscar-winning performance in My Cousin Vinny.
Tomei has managed to maintain a prosperous career while generally flying under the Hollywood radar. She has been nominated for an Oscar twice more, for her roles in In the Bedroom and The Wrestler. Additionally, Tomei has had quite a tenure on stage, both on and off Broadway.
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
He’s simply Tony’s right-hand man in the Iron Man films — or so it would appear. In fact, Jon Favreau is the director responsible for kickstarting the MCU. And that’s just the beginning of his Hollywood career, both in front of and behind the camera.
Beginning with Swingers (which he also wrote and produced), Favreau has acted steadily over the years. You may know him as Monica’s rich, sweet boyfriend, Pete, on Friends, or as Foggy Nelson in the much-maligned Daredevil film. Favreau directed everyone’s favorite Christmas flick Elf and, more recently, the live-action Disney reboot The Jungle Book (which he also wrote and produced).
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Though we now associate her with her lifestyle brand Goop and the term “conscious uncoupling,” Gwyneth Paltrow has been a household name for quite some time. The daughter of actress Blythe Danner, Paltrow’s breakthrough work includes films such as Se7en, Emma, and Shakespeare in Love.
Like many actresses, Paltrow is perhaps as well known for her relationships as she is for her on-screen roles. She previously dated Hollywood heartthrobs Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck, and was married to Coldplay singer Chris Martin (with whom she has two children) for several years.
Zendaya as Michelle
With just one name apiece for both her and her character, young quadruple threat Zendaya has quickly worked to earn this distinction. Beginning as a model, Zendaya quickly added singing, dancing, and acting to the mix, scoring the role of Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel series Shake It Up. Despite only a few years in the biz, Zendaya has already appeared as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and currently has her own sitcom, K.C. Undercover, which is in its third season.
Donald Glover as Aaron Davis
We only recently learned the identity of Donald Glover’s character: Aaron Davis, known as the Prowler (and uncle to Miles Morales, who later dons the Spider-Man costume). But Glover himself has been an anticipated addition to the comic universe, as the popular actor has been linked to the web-slinger for many years.
When he was in his early 20s, Glover got his start as a writer for 30 Rock. Soon after, he began his role on Community, and it was also around this time that he started his rap career as Childish Gambino. Glover is out full force in Hollywood, with his acclaimed series, Atlanta, and his role as Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo film.
Hannibal Buress as Coach Wilson
Comedian Hannibal Buress may have sent a body double to the Homecoming premiere, but some may be surprised to know that they might recognize the star from his previous projects.
Buress has gained notoriety in the stand-up world, and is known for his regular roles on The Eric Andre Show and Broad City. However, one of Buress’ biggest claims to fame is that it was his comedy routine about Bill Cosby that brought the rape allegations against the star into the public light in 2014.
Kenneth Choi as Principal Morita
One of Marvel’s favorite things to do is draw connections between characters, so it probably didn’t surprise fans to learn that Kenneth Choi’s character in Homecoming shares a last name with that of his 1940s-era part in Captain America: The First Avenger and an episode of Agents of SHIELD.
But that’s not the only place you know Choi from: The actor appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad, and has had recurring roles on the popular series Sons of Anarchy and The Last Man on Earth.