Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first solo movie for Tom Holland’s version of the Peter Parker character, following his debut in Captain America: Civil War last year – and the shared Spider-Man movie rights deal struck between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, which allowed Spidey to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the first place. Director Jon Watts (Cop Car) is overseeing Homecoming, with a cast that includes Holland alongside young actors such as Jacob Batalon and Zendaya, as Peter and his various high school classmates, as well as Robert Downey Jr. as Peter’s “mentor,” Tony Stark.

Homecoming takes Peter back into his high school years, further than either the original Sam Raimi-helmed Spider-Man movie trilogy or director Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man films before it. When Screen Rant visited the set of Homecoming, we got a chance to ask how taking Peter Parker back into his teen years will allow the film to explore themes that a fresh narrative can be built around, for the Spider-Man franchise.

When asked point-blank what the theme of Spider-Man: Homecoming is, co-producer Eric Carroll had the following to offer on the matter:

“It’s that acceptance of my place. Who am I? It’s a coming of age story. It’s him wanting desperately to be accepted by the cool kids, but then realizing that he is cool.”

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That should come as welcome news to Spider-Man fans eager to see the high school years that have served as the backdrop for so many of Peter Parker’s classic Marvel comic book storylines, take center-stage onscreen here. According to Watts, keeping things grounded to a smaller-scale story of teenage life (as opposed to the increasingly cosmic stakes of the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe) was a major part of his overall focus:

“[A] big part of my initial pitch was when you’re in high school everything seems like the most important thing and everything bad seems like the end of the world. So if you have a zit or a girl doesn’t like you or you have to fight a super villain, those things when you’re fifteen are all at 11. So with that in mind it was easy to find that grounded story that could lead you through it, and also come up with spectacle that makes for a good trailer and is compelling. It’s always starting with character, we didn’t want to have it be any empty spectacle so it was finding moments that you would care about and feel invested in Peter and Peter’s journey and not having it just be an action sequence for action sequence’s sake.”

Watts also reiterated that Peter is very much at the beginning of his journey to becoming a full-fledged superhero in Homecoming, even in the aftermath of his experience during Civil War. The director then echoed Carroll’s own comments on the film’s narrative, saying “It’s a coming of age story, so it’s just trying to figure out who you are.”

NEXT: Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer #2 – What We Learned

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