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Marvel has found its star and director for the next Spider-Man movie

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The search is over. Marvel today announced that 19-year-old English actor Tom Holland is set to star in the upcoming Spider-Man. Holland is best known for his star turn as the title character in Broadway's Billy Elliott. Up-and-coming indie director Jon Watts, whose most recent film Cop Car debuted at Sundance this year, has been tapped to direct.

Holland was a Peter Parker candidate for some time

With today's announcement, Holland is on track to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe right alongside Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans. It was a lengthy search, and Holland has long been on the shortlist for the role of a high school-aged Peter Parker, alongside Ender's Game star Asa Butterfield and The Killing's Liam James, and anticipation has been high to see who will fill the role Andrew Garfield so recently vacated. Though Holland will now get top billing in the first new Spider-Man film when it hits theaters on July 28th, 2017, fans can also expect to see him in Captain America: Civil War next year. (Right alongside just about every Marvel character ever.)

As for Watts, it's clear that Sony has faith in his work despite his being a more-or-less fledgling director. "I’ve worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars," said Sony Picture chairman Tom Rothman, "and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent." That's a good sign; Marvel has a solid track record in elevating fresher directors, as was the case with the Russos for Captain America: Winter Soldier and James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy. We'll see if that trust is in the right place soon enough.


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