Ever since making his comic book debut almost 60 years ago, Peter Parker has largely been depicted as a nerd, albeit one with superpowers that spends his free time suiting up as Spider-Man to save either New York City, the world or the universe from imminent danger and destruction.
Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland have all played the role in live-action, but you could argue that it was only really the Sam Raimi trilogy that leaned into Peter’s bookishness and general sense of uncool. Of course, it’s hard to put that across when you’ve got a trio of handsome, charming, charismatic and buff stars in the lead, but it’s an aspect of the character’s personality that’s largely been lost on the big screen.
Marvel’s longtime casting director Sarah Finn certainly agrees, after she revealed to Variety that when Holland first came in to read for Captain America: Civil War, he was looking a little too cool to play a 15 year-old plucked from minor YouTube fame by Tony Stark and thrust into a battle between the Avengers over the Sokovia Accords.
“He auditioned many, many times, which I think he’s talked about. The first time was a tape, then we did a notes session over the phone, then he came to LA and we worked in the room together. And he was looking a little cool. I remember saying, ‘You know what, can we nerd it up a little bit right now? A little bit’.”
Peter’s genius hasn’t been on display all that often in the MCU, either, with Tony Stark gifting the majority of his hi-tech gadgets and costumes, but maybe that’s something the next Spider-Man trilogy will be diving into now that the multiversal madness has been temporarily dealt with.