The bombshell announcement that Sony and Marvel Studios had agreed to a deal that allowed Spider-Man to become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is unquestionably one of the most monumental moments in this current age of superhero films. After years of being isolated at Sony, Peter Parker was coming home, this time played by enthusiastic youngster Tom Holland. Following a scene-stealing debut in last summer’s Captain America: Civil War, Your Friendly Neighborhood is ready to headline his own solo vehicle in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The filmmakers are taking full advantage of this project being set in the MCU continuity by giving Tony Stark a key supporting role as a mentor figure to Spider-Man. Star Robert Downey, Jr. has been featured heavily in both trailers released so far, fleshing out the mentor/mentee dynamic that was only hinted at in Civil War. Iron Man’s inclusion in Homecoming is one of the most buzzed-about elements, and it’s safe to say that Downey didn’t come on board for just a glorified cameo. He’s a substantial part of the main film.
In August 2016, Screen Rant had the opportunity to visit the Homecoming set in Atlanta, where we spoke with numerous members of the production team about Stark’s involvement. Co-producer Eric Carroll revealed Downey “might be in like five or six [scenes]” total, which bodes well for those hoping to see a lot of interaction between Tony and Peter. Holland described the duo’s dynamic to us:
“I think we’re seeing the beginning of a sort of father-son relationship. Obviously Tony hasn’t got any kids, and Peter at this point hasn’t got any male figures in his life, so I think there’s a really lovely dynamic that Robert and I are forming. And, no, let me take that back. I think Robert is more like a big brother than he is a father figure because he picks on him and he is down on him quite a lot. But then there is that level of him caring about him like his own, and Robert has really brought something lovely to the character. It’s a very different side of Stark than you’ve ever seen before.”
In the early going of Homecoming, Parker and Stark don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye when it comes to Peter’s role in the larger world of superheroes. They clash constantly on whether or not Peter is “ready” to become an Avenger, with Stark feeling Spider-Man would be better off if he stayed in Queens and kept out of larger affairs. “I think he might have thought what happened in Germany was too much for Spider-Man at that time,” Holland told us, using this point to illustrate how Tony cares for Peter. While that’s very frustrating for Parker, it’s Stark’s way of looking out for the kid he plucked out of New York and into a giant airport battle. That experience was very overwhelming for the 15-year old kid, whose biggest concern at the time was finishing his homework. Tony knows Peter has potential, he just wants the high school student to take his time before he gets hurt.
Of course, since Holland is a part of the massive Avengers: Infinity War ensemble and has his own Homecoming sequel poised for a 2019 release, all signs are pointing to the wall-crawler proving his worth by the end and earning a rightful place on the team. Even though fans have an idea of the final destination, the journey should be interesting to watch unfold, especially with the always relatable dichotomy of Parker’s life on full display. Part of the fun will be seeing Peter try to readjust to his “normal” existence back in his hometown after he got to spend time with his idol, fight Captain America, and take a step into a larger world. It won’t be easy for the web head, but then again, nothing ever is.