Spider-Man actors in order - From Tobey Maguire to Tom Holland and more

From streetwise Andrew Garfield to saucer-eyed Tobey Maguire, everyone has their favourite wall-crawler.

Now, as Tom Holland leads the Spider-Man: No Way Home cast on 15th December, our spotter’s guide looks back at all the Spider-Man actors that have donned the iconic red-and-blue suit on the big screen since 1977.

Who is Spider-Man?

August 1962 was a good month for comic books. Flicking through the Amazing Fantasy anthology that fateful year, you’d have met Peter Parker for the first time. Orphaned since his parents’ plane crash, the New York teenager was now nursing a nasty bite from a radioactive spider – and discovering symptoms that made puberty look like a walk in the park.

 

Superhuman strength. Quickfire reflexes. The ability to scale sheer surfaces, bag up bad guys with wrist-mounted web squirters and anticipate danger with his proprietary ‘spider sense’. Sadly, none of these things protected Parker from the clammy-palmed travails of adolescence, from double physics to prom night.

 

Before Spidey, teenagers had only been fleetingly represented in comics, usually as the say-nothing sidekick ironing the big guy’s tights. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s creation changed all that overnight, putting Parker front-and-centre and ensuring he was relatable to every kid in the comic store.

Of course, the comics soon spilled into a whole Spiderverse, and since 1977, the Spider-Man movies have been some of the superhero genre’s best.

Now, as we rub together all eight hands in anticipation of the Spider-Man: No Way Home release date on 15th December, here’s your guide to all the Spider-Man actors through the ages.

 


Nicholas Hammond – The retro Spider-Man

Having previously played a Von Trapp brat in The Sound Of Music, Nicholas Hammond was already pushing thirty when he suited up as Spidey for the CBS TV series that ran from 1977 to 1979 (and was so popular it spawned a spin-off movie).

Despite his vintage, the Washington-born actor rolled back the years with his matinee idol looks, athleticism and willingness to dig into Parker’s character traits. “I liked the idea of taking a fantasy hero and making him believable as a person,” explained Hammond. “I made it clear going into it that I wasn't interested in doing something that was just a camp joke."

 

Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man filmography

Spider-Man (1977)

“The most popular, most daring, most exciting superhero in the entire world – at last he comes alive for his most incredible adventure!” booms the voiceover to Spidey’s inaugural swing-out.

Admittedly, the era’s wobbly SFX mean MCU-era kids will laugh it up, but back in 1977 this was a cinema ticket so hot it burnt a hole in your pocket, with Hammond chop-socking his way to the bottom of a mystery involving the mass hypnosis of New York’s citizens.

Shinji Todō – the cult Spider-Man

In the West, he’s the great forgotten Spidey, but to Japanese superhero fans of a certain age, Shinji Todō is screen royalty, having starred in the Toei licensed spin-off that aired from 1978 to 1979.

It’s fair to say that Todō’s incarnation is… different. The Japanese Spider-Man plays fast and loose with Stan Lee’s concept, reinventing the wall-crawler as a motocross racer named Takuya Yamashiro, who is assisted by a giant robot called Leopardon, and occasionally breaks into song (check out the Spider-Man Boogie). You couldn’t make it up.

 

Shinji Todō Spider-Man filmography

Spider-Man (1978)

Running for 41 episodes, the Spider-Man TV series was so big in Japan that a full-length feature was produced for the Toei Manga Matsuri film festival of July 1978.

Don’t come for dark and gritty, but if you’re a fan of culty Far Eastern capers in the Godzilla mould, you’ll find much to enjoy in the shark-headed villains, ham acting and surprisingly handy martial arts sequences from Todō.

Tobey Maguire – the boy-next-door Spider-Man

Born in California in 1975, Maguire had bounced between bit-parts for two decades before director Sam Raimi came calling. Physically, the actor was born to be Spider-Man, with his slight-but-ripped frame and what the Chicago Tribune called his “big, round, soulful eyes”, which seemed to capture the agony of the webslinger’s split existence.

But Maguire had more in his locker, channelling the uncertainties of his own itinerant and poverty-stricken childhood into Peter Parker’s worldview. “I felt like I was an outsider too,” the actor once said. “I think what happened to me made me develop this street sense of watching people and working out what made them tick, wondering whether I could trust them or not.”

 

Tobey Maguire Spider-Man filmography

Spider-Man (2002)

While Maguire’s brainbox student is turning arachnid, there’s another transmogrification going on across town, as unhinged biotech boss Norman Osborn self-tests a performance-enhancing drug and becomes cackling hoverboarder the Green Goblin.

Cue the caper that reinvigorated the Spider-Man movies for the new millennium, with a webful of white-knuckle action sequences and the iconic upside-down smooch with Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane (winner of ‘Best Kiss’ at the MTV Movie Awards).

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Drawing on the comic book plots of If This Be My Destiny and Spider-Man No More, Raimi’s second feature presented Parker with both an internal conflict (having abandoned Mary Jane for her own safety) and a pretty major external one, in the form of snarky mad scientist Otto Octavius and his mischievous AI tentacles.

By now, Maguire was firmly in the groove, and his visceral, all-in performance was a major reason why critic Roger Ebert called this "the best superhero movie since the modern genre was launched with Superman”.

Spider-Man 3

In Maguire’s final outing, Parker just wants a quiet life with Mary Jane, but is duty-bound to take out an unholy trinity of villains. Thomas Haden Church plays Sandman as a killer with a conscience, while James Franco’s evil trustafarian Harry Osborn is hell-bent on avenging his father as a go-faster Goblin.

But the biggest boo-hiss goes to weaselly journalist Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), who gives us the first onscreen mash-up between Venom and Spidey in the memorable construction site showdown.

Andrew Garfield – the streetwise Spider-Man

Born in LA but raised and trained in the UK, Andrew Garfield’s call-up represented a clean break for the character. Gone were Maguire’s nerdier instincts, with the British-American actor bringing a street-smart toughness and hard stare to Parker that meant he often evoked a bristling young Robert De Niro more than a stuttering teen.

A Spider-Man nut since childhood, Garfield admitted he’d “probably be the guy in the movie theatre shouting abuse at myself”. In fact, his two Spider-Man movies have aged remarkably well, and Garfield’s web crawler belongs in the same category as Timothy Dalton’s Bond: tough, edgy, perhaps a little overlooked, but highly rated by those that know.

 

Andrew Garfield Spider-Man filmography

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Director Marc Webb not only had the perfect surname to helm the Spider-Man reboot but also the vision, bringing a hard-bitten realism that had sometimes been lacking from the Raimi/Maguire era.

Garfield was the right man to front this grittier Spidey period, with a shark-like charisma that lights up every scene and a physicality that fused the actor’s studies of spiders and athletes. It helped, too, that the new boy was given one of the franchise’s great villains in Rhys Ifans’ gecko-on-steroids (The Lizard) and a pre-megastardom Emma Stone as spirited girlfriend Gwen Stacy.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

There’s an impressively grown-up tone to Garfield’s second (and final) outing as Spider-Man.

From the ghoulish relationship between diseased Norman Osborn and his desperate son, to the poignant transformation of Jamie Foxx’s lonely loose cannon Max Dillon into Electro, Webb doesn’t talk down to his audience and gives us a Spider-Man movie that is watchable for more than the wham-bam. A slew of proposed sequels fell through, leaving us all to wonder what might have been.

Tom Holland – the definitive Spider-Man

Respect to the roll call of great Spider-Man actors since 1977, but for the generation raised on the modern MCU, Tom Holland simply is the webslinger. Trained at London’s BRIT School For Performing Arts & Technology, the actor was previously best-known for playing Billy Elliot in the West End, and a couple of – let’s say – niche Far Eastern animations.

And while Holland was not yet into his twenties when he was cast as Peter Parker, he proved an instant hit, with his rabbit-in-the-headlights style evolving over the last seven movies. Expect the 25-year-old to show a whole new side to the character in December’s “dark and sad” Spider-Man: No Way Home. And from there – who knows?

 

Tom Holland Spider-Man filmography

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

In what stands as the ultimate superhero entrance, Holland’s Spider-Man hijacks the airport scene, plucking Captain America’s shield from his grasp, flipping through the air and landing with a flourish.

It’s not much more than a cameo, really – with the film more focused on the clash between the warring Avengers – but nobody was left in any doubt that the new boy was something very special.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Holland’s first solo vehicle struck a chord with squirmy teenagers everywhere, as the webslinger struggles to balance his battle against Michael Keaton’s ruthless Vulture with the fact he really fancies the villain’s daughter.

Holland had promised to bring something “new and exciting” to the saga, and with this star-making performance, he delivered in spades. 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

As the Avengers convene to fight Thanos, Infinity War’s cast of thousands would have made a lesser talent blend into the background.

Not Holland.

Whether suiting up as the Iron Spider or lobbing taxis into the enemy battlelines, this was a short, sweet appearance with a bitter aftertaste, as the warlord’s snap turns Parker to dust.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Not much to see here, with Parker floating around the cosmos in dust form for most of the runtime.

But cinemas breathed a collective sigh of relief in Endgame’s final third, as a resurrected Holland returned to sock it to Thanos.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Burnt-out Peter Parker needs a break, but his school trip to Europe hits a road bump when the villainous Elementals unleash environmental chaos, and a suspicious new comrade, Mysterio, joins the fight.

The funniest of the Spider-Man movies so far, it’s testament to Holland’s helium-voiced comedy chops that his foot-in-mouth courtship scenes with MJ are as memorable as the showdown on London’s Tower Bridge.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)

The latest entry to Sony’s Spider-Man universe is mostly about the slathering symbiote’s clash with Carnage – but spider-watchers should stick around for the credits scene, where Eddie Brock finds himself watching Holland’s Peter Parker on a hotel television.

The chances of a showdown between Venom and Spidey in Spider-Man: No Way Home suddenly seem more than a longshot.

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

The unmissable third act of the Home trilogy lands on 15 December, and our spider sense is a-tingle. We know for definite that Holland’s Spider-Man will be in good company, with the return of good-guy regulars like Zendaya as MJ, Jacob Batalon as Ned and Marisa Tomei as Aunt May.

There’ll also be Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, casting the disastrous spell that opens the doorway to the Multiverse and invites every historical Spider-Man villain to the party.

We know, too, that the happy-go-lucky Holland era is about to take on a darker tone. “It’s dark and it’s sad, and it’s going to be really affecting,” the actor told Total Film. “You’re going to see characters that you love go through things that you would never wish for them to go through. And I was just really excited to kind of lean into that side of Peter Parker.”

Yet the question marks remain, from the nagging subject of Maguire and Garfield returning for cameos, to the fan theories that Venom will hop dimensions to play a central role in the action.

All will be revealed on the Spider-Man: No Way Home release date of 15th December.