While Tom Holland didn't debut as Spider-Man until 2016's Captain America: Civil War, it seems that Peter Parker actually visited the Marvel Cinematic Universe way back in the 2010 film Iron Man 2. Holland has confirmed the long-standing fan theory that the little boy in an Iron Man mask who stares down one of the Hammer Drones at the Stark Expo is a young Peter.
"I can confirm that, that is Peter Parker," Holland told the Huffington Post.
Holland didn't stop there. He said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige also confirmed that the child in Iron Man 2 was a young Peter.
"I can confirm that as of today," Holland said. "I literally had a conversation with Kevin Feige only 20 minutes ago. Maybe I've just done a big, old spoiler, but it's out there now. It's cool. I like the idea that Peter Parker has been in the universe since the beginning."
In the scene, Tony Stark swoops down and saves the boy. Before flying off, Stark says, "nice work, kid." In support of their idea that the boy was Peter, theorists cited Parker's age in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which matches up nicely with how the child would have aged. They also noted that the Stark Expo took place in Queens, Spider-Man's hometown.
While Marvel might have been hoping to gain the rights to Spider-Man back since Iron Man 2, they didn't reach their deal to share rights to the character until 2015. Additionally, the child in Iron Man 2 was unnamed, so confirming the theory seems like a way to give Peter a longer history in the MCU -- and a deeper relationship with his mentor -- that would have otherwise been impossible due to the rights issues surrounding the character.
Swinging into theaters July 7, director Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Tom Holland, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.