'Spider-Man: Homecoming': 5 Amazing Things We Just Learned About Next Marvel Movie

Iron Man and Spider-Man soar into action in Spider-Man: Homecoming (Photo: Marvel Studios)

Spider-Man: Homecoming represents your friendly neighborhood webhead’s inaugural feature length adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the MCU gang was front and center for the Homecoming press conference held in Spidey’s hometown of New York City on Saturday. Franchise architect Kevin Feige and Marvel’s main (Iron) man, Robert Downey Jr., flanked newly anointed wall-crawler Tom Holland for a 30-minute “meet the press” Q&A. Here are the five choicest highlights from this close encounter with Iron Man and Spider-Man, as well as fellow cast members Michael Keaton, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon.

Holland’s real-life wall-crawling skills are limited
Tom Holland’s Rihanna moment from Lip Sync Battle highlighted the unique set of skills he brought to Spider-Man as a trained dancer and gymnast. “We were able to do things as Peter Parker that they probably hadn’t been able to do in the past,” he pointed out. At the same time, director Jon Watts occasionally overestimated what his star was capable of stunt-wise. “Jon would be like, ‘Can you just backflip off that wall and land on that beam?’ And I’d go, ‘No Jon, I can’t do that. I’m not that good, dude!'” Still, Holland has high hopes that his version of Spider-Man will serve as an inspiration to young audiences. “I had to keep reminding myself when taking on this character is that Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man had such a huge impact on me as a kid,” said the 21-year-old actor, who was only 6 when Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man film swung into theaters in 2002. “He was my role model. I had to keep reminding myself that I’m going to hopefully have that same impact on kids of a younger generation. I wanted to do them proud.”

Downey will be Iron Man as long as Marvel lets him
After joking that he’s been in “semi-retirement” since the original Iron Man kicked off the MCU as we know it nine summers ago, Downey got serious when expressing his appreciation at being kept around. “The great thing about life is good things happen and you get inflated,” he said. “You think, ‘Oh my god, I’ve created everything that’s going my way. And then things happen where you realize, ‘Oh, there’s a little evidence to the contrary.’ At this point, you go back to, ‘It’s just nice to be on this call sheet.'” The actor was particularly happy to be on the call sheet for Spider-Man’s big introduction to the MCU. “They should really do a breakdown of all the miracles that had to happen for us to be sitting here today. This turned out so well; I saw it, and honestly loved it.”

Keaton enjoyed being bad
Having already done the hero thing as the Dark Knight in Tim Burton’s two Batman adventures, the Oscar-nominated Birdman star enjoyed taking flight as Homecoming‘s heavy, Adrian Toomes, a.k.a the Vulture. “I think actors tend to be drawn towards villainous characters. It’s clichéd, but tends to be true that if you delve into the dark side, it gets interesting.” Keaton particularly appreciated the fact that Toomes was written as a grounded bad guy, despite his winged alter ego. “I thought that was a really interesting way to go,” mused Keaton. “Making this person approachable is timely; he has a legitimate gripe and legitimate arguments.”

Here’s one to grow on
With all due respect to Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, this is the first time that Spider-Man actually looks and acts like a high school teenager. So how does the cast hope that regular teenagers respond to seeing a super-teen onscreen? “Our message is that you don’t have to be the jock or the cool person in high school to be yourself,” said scene-stealer Jacob Batalon, who plays Peter’s best friend and fellow science nerd, Ned. “The coolest version of yourself is yourself.” Added Laura Harrier, who stars as Peter’s love interest, Lize: “You don’t have to apologize for who you are. Everyone in this movie is different, but genuinely themselves.” Perhaps the character who keeps it the real-ist in the film is Zendaya’s Michelle, a dryly hilarious wallflower that the singer said is modeled in part after Ally Sheedy’s proto-Goth girl from The Breakfast Club. “It’s OK to be weird,” Zendaya emphasized. “If you make things awkward and uncomfortable, that’s cool. I love that Michelle’s outspoken and says what everyone’s thinking, but she just doesn’t care.”

Diversity doesn’t have to be hard
Without making a big deal of it, Homecoming is arguably the most diverse superhero film made to date, with the population of Peter’s Queens-based high school reflecting the complexion of real-world New York. “I would say the inspiration was reality,” producer Amy Pascal said of the movie’s richly diverse cast of young actors, ranging from the Filipino-American Batalon to the new Flash Thompson, Tony Revolori, whose family hails from Guatemala. “It’s wonderful,” remarked Revolori, who earned accolades for his breakout performance in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. “The fact that there’s not a single line of exposition to explain why I look the way I look. I’m just in the movie. It’s not about being a certain race, and I thin that’s the kind of diversity we need in Hollywood right now.”

Watch: Tom Holland’s Wants His Peter Parker to Be This Generation’s Marty McFly:

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