When it comes to superhero movies, most of the on-screen heroes can be linked back to one particular actor. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, Brie Larson is Captain Marvel, and Chris Hemsworth is Thor. But when it comes to Spider-Man, the actor behind the mask has changed a handful of times.
There have been eight different Spider-Man movies spanning across multiple generations.
Tom was not the first actor to play Spider-Man on screen. The first Spider-Man on-screen adaptation was actually done in 2002 while the franchise was own by Sony. At the time, the other superhero movies, like Blade and X-Men, had been dominating box offices, and Tobey Maguire became the man in the spidey suit.
This was reportedly one of the biggest movies of the year, leading to two more Spider-Man films featuring Tobey as the lead. Spider-Man 2 was released in 2004, while the final installment in the first iteration of the franchise, Spider-Man 3, was released in 2007.
Despite the initial praise for the hero, Spider-Man 3 was a major flop and the last film in the franchise where Tobey appeared.
As superhero movies became better, Tobey's portrayal of the hero became a target for mockery, and Sony decided to produce a reprisal of the hero 10 years later in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man, this time with Andrew Garfield behind the mask.
This was after two more Spider-Man films were scrapped by the original director, Sam Raimi. Marc Webb attempted to do the franchise justice with his two films, though they offered little new content for viewers of the original, and after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 released in 2014, the franchise was scrapped again.
In 2017, Sony finally decided to partner with Marvel and let Peter Parker join the MCU, with Tom Holland taking the lead in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Die-hard fans were less-than-satisfied with the changes made to Peter's backstory in this film, though it's brought new life to the franchise, allowing it to live on with a third movie coming out in 2021.
But because Tom's Spider-Man is shared with Disney (while Sony technically owns the rights to the hero), Sony released Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018, delving into the story of Miles Morales.
In total, by the end of 2021, there will be nine different Spider-Man films spanning decades.
Sony and Disney have long disputed over the rights to Spider-Man.
Following the release of Tom's second Spider-Man movie, Far From Home, Sony and Disney began disputing over their financing agreements for the franchise, leading to Spider-Man: No Way Home to briefly be scrapped. Luckily, in September 2019, the two companies reached an agreement on financing the film, giving the green light for Tom to reprise the role.
Disney continues to license the rights to the hero from Sony as Spider-Man becomes a more prominent character in the ever-growing MCU.