A longstanding Spider-Man fan theory has been vindicated by the most reliable source possible -- the wallcrawler himself.
Cast your mind back to 2010: Iron Man 2 was just the third film released as part of the still-developing Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's safe to say that it was also the movie that showed the MCU was going through some growing pains. Nevertheless, recall this climactic scene at the Stark Expo in Queens:
At the time, the crown jewel of the Marvel Comics universe, Spider-Man, remained out of the MCU's grasp, with the rights to the character belonging to Sony Pictures -- which had just abandoned the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire series and was about to reboot Spidey with what would turn out to be less-than-satisfying results.
Fans dreamed that Spider-Man would one day return home to Marvel, and following the release of Iron Man 2, somebody decided that the boy in the clip above was actually Peter Parker, making a surreptitious visit to his home universe. After all, he was kind of geeky, into tech and the Expo was right in the same borough where young Peter lived. C'mon now!
Well, guess what: turns out that crazy fan theory was right (or at least it's being retconned into being right) and that is in fact little Peter Parker doing his best to protect the world from an army of robots. And how do we know? Because Spider-Man himself -- in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland -- told us (or rather, told Screencrush):
"I can confirm that as of today. I literally had a conversation with (Marvel Studios president) 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."
There you have it, folks: while we've been waiting years for Spider-Man to come back to the MCU, he was there all along, biding his time until he could make a proper debut — even interacting with his mentor Tony Stark some six years before they officially met in Captain America: Civil War.
We have yet to hear from Feige himself on the matter, but congratulations to him and the rest of the Marvel crew for secretly planting Spidey in the MCU all those years ago -- or, more likely, catching wind of that fan theory and doing a little on-the-fly retconning to blow our easily dazzled minds.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is out in theaters July 7.