In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker, Ned Leeds, and Michelle “MJ” Jones officially came of age. Over the course of the trilogy, we’ve watched the characters grow, from high school sophomores in Homecoming, adapting to their post-blipped lives in Far From Home, and preparing for the end of high school in No Way Home. (Only for Spider-Man’s unmasking to really, really derail their college plans.) Now, not too much time has passed since Tom Holland first donned the spidey suit or Jacob Batalon’s Ned took his first stint as the guy in the chair. But for the actors, the last five years have been life-changing. (They are, after all, the stars of the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.) To celebrate the latest film, which closes the chapter on the Homecoming trilogy, the trio sat down and revisited their Spider-Man auditions.
And it is as charming as it sounds.
While videos of Holland’s audition have long-circulated around the ‘net, it’s really sweet seeing Jacob Batalon and Zendaya channel Ned and MJ before it was official. Of course, watching videos of their younger selves means a whole lot of giggling. And making fun of one another. Revisiting the video capturing a potentially life-changing moment in one’s life must be incredibly weird. But certainly easier to do knowing it all worked out pretty well.
Holland, famously a dancer before turning to acting, starts his audition by showing off his gymnastics background with a Spider-Man-worthy backflip, before pivoting to his inner “all-American” teen from Queens. Complete with a little Chris Evans chest grab, no less. Which, of course, the trio cannot stop cackling at.
Meanwhile, Batalon’s audition is straight-up adorable. For starters, he exits the frame before bursting into the scene—which screams commitment to the bit. And then there’s the deep breath at the end, dropping out of character with a polite, “Thank you.” It’s easy to see why he caught the casting team’s eye for Ned, and why it’s paid off so well.
And then, of course, there’s Zendaya. Now an Emmy winner for her role on Euphoria, she was already a quickly rising star after years on the Disney Channel, when she auditioned for Michelle. But still, Homecoming was her very first feature film. But you’d never know, given how chill and collected her audition is. Which, to be fair, is very much how MJ is in the films. Holland and Batalon, meanwhile, each portray Peter and Ned with the perfect amount of frantic energy. Which naturally includes a lot of hand acting.
After watching the snippets from their auditions we have to say, they did a pretty stellar job casting these key Spider-Man roles. We don’t know if we’ve seen the last of them in the MCU. But we certainly hope not. The trio has such incredible chemistry, and as their auditions show, are absolutely perfect in these roles.