In the last 20 years, there were three different actors that have played Spider-Man on screen, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland. But what is the reason for so many different actors taking the role of a Spidey? Who do they keep changing Spider-Man actors?
Sony owns the right to the Spider-Man franchise and when each series reached its end, it is understandable that Sony wanted to keep cashing in on their valuable asset, which is why they kept revitalizing the character and changing the actor that plays Spider-Man.
Saying that, there is still a bit more to be said about Spider-Man actors and the reasons why they keep changing them.
Why Does Spider-Man Keep Changing?
The history of Spider-Man movies is a rather interesting one. The company that owns the rights to the franchise is Sony and not Marvel, as is the case with most other Marvel Comics characters. Sony started its take on Spider-Man back in 2002 when Sam Raimi’s first film starring Tobey Maguire hit theatres.
The movie was a success and two sequels followed almost immediately, with Spider-Man 3 being somewhat of a letdown when compared to the first two movies, but was still a commercial success for Sony.
This is why the studio ordered the fourth movie, but Sam Raimi was not satisfied with any of the proposed storylines and was aware that he could not meet the deadline put forward by Sony, so the project was ultimately scrapped.
This, of course, was not the end for Spider-Man as Sony wanted to cash in on its lucrative aspect. Five years after Sam Raimi’s last movie, The Amazing Spider-Man hit theatres. Marc Webb was hired to direct, while Andrew Garfield replaced Maguire in the titular role.
The new series was a complete reboot of the franchise, changing everything and was completely unrelated to Raimi’s trilogy. Despite a more than lukewarm reception, the franchise never really earned as much as Sony expected, so the executives decided to end it after just two movies.
In the meantime, Marvel Studios’ MCU became a global hit and it was rather strange to see a large Marvel cinematic universe without Marvel’s most popular character.
Disney, who owns Marvel, tried to buy the rights from Sony, but was not successful, so the two studios reached an agreement – Sony would retain the rights to the franchise, but Spider-Man was given a spot in the MCU.
This is why Tom Holland appeared in Captain America: Civil War and all the subsequent films, while still being Sony’s asset; Sony also developed a standalone Venom movie, which is connected to Holland’s Spider-Man, despite not being part of the MCU.
In short, the executives are to blame for us having so many Spider-Men on screen.
Why Has Spider-Man Been Rebooted So Many Times?
The answer to this question is intrinsically tied to the previous section. The franchise has been rebooted because the studio executives wanted to use the lucrative potential of the character, while not wanting to repeat itself. This is why after one series’ ending, they rebooted everything and gave the whole franchise and its familiar characters a fresh look.
More precisely, Andrew Garfield was brought in because Raimi left the project and it made no sense to continue the franchise after so many years have passed. Tom Holland, on the other hand, was brought in after Garfield was fired because the new series never became as popular and as lucrative as the executives wanted.
How long is Tom Holland going to last? We have no clue, but based on the recent rumors that Marvel and Sony extended their Spider-Man deal, we assume that he is going to last longer than his forerunners in the role.
How Many Spider-Men Are tThere in the Comic Books?
As far as the comic books are concerned, the existence of multiple Spider-Men is really not that strange, and we’re not even talking about the more than a hundred alternative versions that are not part of Earth-616, Marvel’s primary universe.
Even Earth-616 has had several characters take Spider-Man’s costume, and I am going to give you a short list (here is a full list of 25 versions of Spider-Man) of these characters:
- Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man
- Ben Reilly, a clone of Peter Parker who was also the Scarlet Spider
- Brian Kornfield, also known as Spider-X
- Mac Gargan, more famous for being Venom, but also posed as Spider-Man
- Mattie Franklin, J. Jonah Jameson’s niece who temporarily replaced Peter Parker
- Anansi, the very first Spider-Man (according to legends)
- Ai Apaec, actually a deity
- Otto Octavius, who swapped bodies with Peter Parker to become Superior Spider-Man
- Miles Morales, Peter Parker’s most famous successor