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Within the last two decades, three actors have taken on Marvel’s iconic web-slinger. Tobey Maguire’s depiction still holds its own among Spider-Man comparisons, while Andrew Garfield boasts a select group of admirers, who often claim his Spidey persona was spot-on. And finally, Tom Holland’s Parker — coming onto the scene much younger than his predecessors — has played Stark’s protege in the MCU. Holland plays a young Spider-Man whose geeky and awkward Peter Parker is just as perfect as his quick-tongued and combat-confident Spidey. 

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‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Sony

While all three actors played a high school student, some were a bit older when they jumped into the suit than you may have realized. While the character-to-actor age differences between the first two Parkers and their portrayers were not on the Rizzo to Stockard Channing level (the actor was 33 in Grease), they were just about there! So, how old was each actor when they began playing Parker? 

Tobey Maguire played Spider-Man into his thirties 

Tobey Maguire first appeared as Spider-Man in Sam Raimi’s 2002 directorial take on the Marvel character. Tobey Maguire played in the most familiar Spidey narrative (to those knowledgeable concerning the source material). He battled the Green Goblin and was always rescuing Mary Jane — a cliche damsel in distress — from life or death situations. 

Tobey Maguire was born in 1975, which made him 27 when the first Spider-Man hit silver screens. By the time Spider-Man 3 came out, Tobey Maguire was 32 years old! While he definitely has a young face and did not appear his age, he was still quite older than the character he was portraying. 

Andrew Garfield was 29 when ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ premiered 

Andrew Garfield was even older than Tobey Maguire when he took on Peter Parker. He first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012; born in 1983, he went on to appear in the sequel two years later, making him another 30-something-year-old actor to appear as a high school student. 

While Garfield and Tobey Maguire were solid web-slingers (according to different criteria), Kevin Feige knew that the MCU’s Spidey would have to stand the test of time — he would have to be much younger given the journey he would endure, and they cast the character appropriately (in comparison to the others). 

Tom Holland was 20 in ‘Captain America: Civil War’

While Marvel Studios failed to cast an actual high school student to play Peter Parker, they came much closer with Tom Holland’s iteration. Tom Holland was born in 1996, and he first appeared as “underoos” in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, making him 20 years old when he began playing the character. 

Holland will likely finish off his run as Spidey before turning 30, hopefully leaving less than a decade gap between the character he plays and his actual age (depending on release dates and MCU narrative choices). This time around, the actor behind Parker likely still remembers what high school feels like!