Rumours abound that a genetically engineered spider is on the loose in north Surrey after a second man has started displaying the symptoms unique to its bite.

Tom Holland, 19, from Kingston-upon-Thames, has the ability to sling webs, climb walls and a new-found spidersense.

Or, the young actor has been unveiled by Sony Pictures and Marvel to play the iconic superhero Spider-Man.

Tom takes over from Andrew Garfield, who was raised in Epsom and played the character in two The Amazing Spider-Man movies in 2012 and 2014.

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Spider-Man is the most successful franchise in the history of mega-studio Sony Pictures, with its five films having taken more than $4 billion worldwide.

With a new director in Jon Watts and Tom as the lead, the movies are expected to take a new creative direction.

Tom’s solo Spider-Man film is expected to be released by Sony in IMAX and 3D at the end of July, 2017.


Before then, his first appearance as the lycra-wearing crimefighter is expected to be a cameo in the massive forthcoming Captain America: Civil War, which features an enormous roster of Marvel’s superheroes including many who descended on Bourne Woods and Hawley Woods for the recent Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Tom’s casting as the webslinger follows a worldwide search by Marvel, Sony and producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal.

They were impressed by Tom’s ‘complex’ screen tests as well as his performances in The Impossible, Wolf Hall and the soon-to-be released In The Heart Of the Sea.

And Tom will presumable already have a friend on set because the latter starred Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the Marvel films.

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Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group Chairman said: “It’s a big day here at Sony. Kevin, Amy and their teams have done an incredible job.

“The Marvel process is very thorough, and that’s why their results are so outstanding.  I’m confident Spider-Man will be no exception. 

“For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special.   All in all, we are off to a roaring start.”

Ms Pascal added: “Sony, Marvel, Kevin and I all knew that for Peter Parker, we had to find a vibrant, talented young actor capable of embodying one of the most well-known characters in the world. 

“With Tom, we’ve found the perfect actor to bring Spider-Man’s story into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

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Of course, Tom is no stranger to these pages.

The former Wimbledon College and BRIT school pupil – who learnt to dance at Wimbledon’s Nifty Feet Dance School - first appeared in Surrey Comet seven years ago when he scored the lead role in the stage version of Billy Elliot in the West End.

Just 12 at the time, his talent was spotted when his school – Donhead Wimbledon College Preparatory School – performed as part of Richmond Dance Festival.

In 2012, Tom was featured in Screen International’s UK Stars of Tomorrow list, which has previously unearthed stars such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne.

Last year’s list included Bromley’s Jamie Blackley.