Robert Downey Jr. will reprise his role as the Iron Avenger Tony Stark in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The news is not entirely surprising. Just last week Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige confirmed that other Marvel movie characters would be appearing in Homecoming, but Tony Stark specifically has been rumored to be involved in the movie for over a year, as he is heavily involved in introducing the character into the Marvel world in Civil War.
Homecoming has been casting up ahead of its June start of production. Marisa Tomei will play Aunt May, while Zendaya is one of the female leads. Tony Revolori, who starred opposite Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Laura Harrier, who appeared in the soap opera One Life to Live, are also boarding the production, which is being produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal.
— IMDb (@IMDb) April 21, 2016
Sony has held the rights to Spider-Man since the 1990s, but its recent outings with the character proved unpopular with fans and critics despite relatively strong box office. Meanwhile, Marvel built itself up as a movie studio, reacquiring the rights of many of the characters it had licensed out in the 1990s, and then was bought by Disney. Spider-Man was one of a handful of characters that eluded Marvel.
Last year, however, Sony execs invited Marvel to come in and handle the character, in an effort to restore him to his former glory. One of the ways Marvel is doing that is by introducing Holland as Spider-Man in Civil Warbefore he goes on to his own movie series.
But with Downey’s boarding, it appears that Marvel will continue to keep Spider-Man close not just creatively but also literally; Iron Man and Spider-Man appearing together in Homecoming keeps the Sony movies strongly tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its films released by Disney.