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Every Actor Who Has Played Spider-Man In Live Action

While the 21st century Spider-Man actors are more recognizable, the webslinger has a live-action career that goes back several decades.

Throughout his 60-year-long history, Spider-Man has appeared in a number of cartoons, but his popularity quickly skyrocketed as actors began portraying the webhead in a live-action format. The performers that brought the character to small and big screens ranged from renowned actors to ones that were just starting to gain some recognition after appearing in lesser known material. Acting as a major Marvel superhero gave these actors international fame, more so for those who played the hero on the big screen.

What has worked so well for Spider-Man’s live-action appearances is how the character can be interpreted differently in each franchise. While it still remains to be seen what Spider-Man’s future in the MCU has in store for him, it’s expected that he will be the first Marvel superhero to receive a second trilogy. Dating back nearly 50 years, Spider-Man’s live-action role has undergone numerous changes. However, a limited amount of actors have portrayed the wallcrawler in the common live-action format since his comics debut in 1962.

Nicholas Hammond
Nicholas Hammond was the first actor to play Spider-Man in a live-action television series. From 1977 to 1979, the actor took on the dual role of Peter Parker and Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man on CBS. To set up the show, a TV film was released of the same name and also aired on CBS, with a theatrical release in other countries outside the United States. Produced by Columbia Pictures Television, the film serves as an origin story for Parker’s Spider-Man and acts as the pilot for the following series.

Before Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man reboot in the 2010s, Hammond also acted in two television movie sequels in the early 1980s. Spider-Man Strikes Back and Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge followed up the CBS TV show after its cancelation. These films were the final live-action American appearances of Spider-Man until Columbia Pictures acquired the film rights to the character in 1999 after licensing and financial issues between smaller movie studios Cannon Films, Carolco Pictures and New Cannon prevented the superhero from appearing on the big screen for over 20 years.

From 1978 to 1979, Spider-Man premiered in Japan, spanning 41 episodes. Also known as Japanese Spider-Man, this iteration of the superhero doesn’t focus on Peter Parker and instead on motorcycle rider Takuya Yamashiro. While the initial response from Marvel wasn’t well-received, Stan Lee helped save Japanese Spider-Man because the comic legend’s positive support helped the series eventually move forward beyond its pilot episode. There were bizarre changes made to the character, including giving Spider-Man a mecha that he could fly and use to battle enlarged monsters, but it helped separate Yamashiro from Peter Parker.

Over the years since Japanese Spider-Man came to an end, the titular character gained a cult following. Yamashiro’s Spider-Man never returned in a live-action format, but he did appear in the Spider-Verse and Spider-Geddon comic storylines. Additionally, the character will make his theatrical debut in the animated film Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse with his mecha Leopardon, along with other popular Spider-Man variants. All thanks to the show’s legacy and how it inspired other Spider-Man media, Japanese Spider-Man is making a comeback.

Tobey Maguire
Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film set the groundwork for how superhero movies are adapted today. Tobey Maguire is known as the first proper live-action Spider-Man due to the film’s theatrical release and box-office success, and Maguire’s take on Peter Parker is one of the most comic-accurate adaptations to date. A scrawny, nerdy teenager, his Peter went through a lot during the Spider-Man trilogy. His Uncle Ben’s death motivated him to become Spider-Man, but struggling to balance his double life led Peter to temporarily take a break from his heroic responsibilities. Eventually, he was able to find balance and got to be with the girl of his dreams.

While Maguire’s Spider-Man had a perfect origin story, the hero went on to battle a symbiote that possessed him and turned his superhero suit black, which also affected his personality. The last film in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy wasn’t received as positively as its predecessors, but its everlasting legacy helped make it age better many years later. Maguire’s return as Spider-Man during his MCU debut in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home was made all the more memorable as he got to interact with his successors, ultimately being deemed a cinematic achievement that was nothing short of a crowd-pleaser.

Andrew Garfield
Following the cancelation of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, Andrew Garfield was cast as the new Spider-Man for Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Garfield’s Spider-Man movies didn’t receive the same amount of praise as Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films, but the actor was considered to be a great Spider-Man even if his Peter Parker wasn’t entirely comic accurate. His relationship with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy was one of the greatest highlights of the duology, but the villains and writing made the franchise struggle to gain enough traction. While Garfield’s tenure as Spider-Man was cut too short, it wouldn’t be the last time his iteration was seen on the big screen.

Seven years after the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Andrew Garfield returned as Spider-Man in the MCU’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. Received incredibly well, Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man return not only saw the character redeem himself for failing to save Gwen Stacy, but opinions on The Amazing Spider-Man movies began to change. Shortly after No Way Home released, moviegoers began campaigning for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 to finally be made and show the darker side of Spider-Man that was teased during his recent appearance. Whether that film happens or not, Andrew Garfield’s version of Spider-Man finally got the respect he deserved.

Tom Holland
In 2015, it was announced that Spider-Man would finally be joining the MCU with then-up-and-comer Tom Holland starring in the lead role. Making his debut in Captain America: Civil War, Holland’s Spider-Man quickly became a mainstay in the franchise, with Marvel and Sony structuring deals so the character could still interact with the Avengers. Having Tony Stark as a mentor, Peter Parker received many new Spider-Man suits from the billionaire and grew persistent with wanting to join the Avengers. While Peter eventually decides he’d rather be a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man”, it shows his growth because he learns that he should continue to “stay close to the ground” for a while.

Tom Holland’s Spider-Man goes through a rollercoaster of emotions as he’s faced with losing his mentor, the world finding out his true identity, and an urge to avenge his aunt’s murder. Holland’s iteration is a perfect balance of Maguire and Garfield’s Peter Parker and Spider-Man, indicating he’ll continue to be in the MCU for the long run. And when he gets to meet his variants in No Way Home, it teaches him many life lessons that show him how important it is to be Spider-Man due to life experiences shaping them into better people. While it seemed impossible, Sony’s Spider-Man multiverse has been a great direction for the superhero’s journey.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was a great example for why Tom Holland is widely considered to be one of the best Spider-Man actors. But it’s important to recognize what all of his live-action predecessors brought to the table. Incorporating the elements from the Spider-Man movies that have worked make for a comic-accurate depiction of the character. Even if some of the stories aren’t great, it would be difficult to deny that the adaptations thus far haven’t been at least somewhat faithful to the beloved superhero. All live-action Spider-Man actors have contributed to some of the greatest iterations of a fictional character.

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