Happy birthday to Thomas Stanley Holland, Short King, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, everyone’s favorite golden retriever come to life, and multi-hyphenate talent. Tom Holland is a well of goodness and the gift that seems to just keep giving, whether it’s onscreen or in his daily life as one half of Tomdaya (arguably the most iconic young couple currently bringing our collective daydreams to life).
Tom Holland, of course, is best known as Peter Parker in the extensive Marvel Cinematic Universe — a dependable leading man as well as a kind soul, the coveted hip-but-adorkable overlap of a Venn diagram. Today, we have been called to celebrate Tom Holland, and decided to round up 26 of our favorite highlights from his 26 years of life so far.
01. “Umbrella” on Lip Sync Battle
Let’s be honest, we had to start this list off with his most iconic moment of all. We honestly considered writing about this moment alone — that’s how good it is. If you’ve clicked this article but somehow never seen Tom Holland’s earth-shattering interpretation of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” on Lip Sync Battle, you’re forbidden from reading any further until you’ve watched the link below. Our Tom is so comfortable in his masculinity, and so confident in his abilities as a performer. He ate this up and left absolutely zero crumbs.
02. His Spider-Man Audition
Before he was our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Tom Holland was just another former Billy Elliot with big dreams. He had heavy expectations on his young shoulders when his casting was confirmed for Spidey’s induction into the MCU, but from the moment he swung into our lives to the tune of “Left Hand Free” by alt-J, it became clear why he was chosen out of a massive search. Following the release of Captain America: Civil War, Marvel released footage of Tom’s screen tests, which make it even more obvious that he was the right choice by a large margin.
03. His Reaction to Zendaya’s Arrival to the Red Carpet
At the premiere of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Tomdaya (more on them in a while) had already become public. What a joy it is to witness Tom Holland get completely distracted when he hears the crowd react to Zendaya’s arrival; he’s as enthralled as the rest of them.
Tom Holland's reaction to Zendaya arriving at the #SpiderManNoWayHome premiere is so 😭 pic.twitter.com/PSPZ8uIQFb
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) December 14, 2021
04. King of Spoilers
If we had really wanted to, we could probably also just put out a list of times Tom Holland hasn’t been able to quite keep a secret. The fact that someone was able to compile enough spoilers for a final product of thirteen minutes (!) probably speaks for itself. Now, infamously, Marvel gives Tom either heavily redacted scripts or only the lines he needs to know for the day to avoid further leaks.
05. Body-Doubling Liam Neeson
2016’s A Monster Calls is an emotional journey through the eyes of a young boy with a very sick mother, and much of the plot hinges around a massive tree that begins interacting with him. The tree, known as The Monster, is voiced by Liam Neeson — but years after the film’s release, it was revealed that Tom Holland did the motion capture on set. The full story was recounted in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
06. Running out of Eggs During Quarantine; Proceeding to Buy Chickens
During the peak of all things COVID-19, the young superstar was living like so many of us — which includes inconvenient shortages at the grocery store. When the local market in Tom’s neighborhood ran out of eggs, Tom and his brothers decided to bring home some chickens, thinking they would never be short again. Perhaps they didn’t think quite as much about the time and effort required to sustain healthy, egg-producing backyard chickens.
a thread of tom holland, his mates and the chickens pic.twitter.com/3tBLDQXqUq
— em (@thollandstyIes) March 22, 2020
07. His “Feud” with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan
While all the actors involved have confirmed that the feud is in jest, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s relentless teasing of young Thomas is a blast for all of us. One of the best moments was at 2019 Comic-Con, when Anthony Mackie joked that he hadn’t seen Spider-Man: Homecoming yet. Tom shot back that he hadn’t seen the Falcon movie yet before pausing, and reminding the audience that, oh…there isn’t one. For a more complete rundown of their faux-feud, compilations like the one here abound.
08. Our Introduction to Peter Parker
In Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland was given less than four minutes of screen time to sell audiences on his take on the iconic Peter Parker. There was a special magic the first time he went toe to toe with Robert Downey Jr. onscreen; for all of us watching, it felt like we were witnessing a kind of chemistry that was truly special. Thankfully, we were all correct.
09. Drunkenly Saving Spider-Man
Many of us have blocked out that dark time when it seemed like Tom Holland’s interpretation of Spider-Man would be nixed from the MCU, after all the work they had done to get him there. The messy contractual conversations between Disney and Sony were looking grim. As the story goes, which Tom shared on Jimmy Kimmel: Live, he drunkenly dialed Disney CEO Bob Iger and plead his case.
10. Flexing His Ballet Background
Tom’s movement background is really something to behold. While it’s become more common knowledge that he’s often participating in his own stunts, both in the Spider-Man films and beyond, his impressive body control traces back to his time in the dance studio. For anyone with a dance background, his fouette turns are truly impressive to witness.
11. Slaying With Deja Carter
Years ago, when Tomdaya being a reality still seemed like a pipe dream, true believers were shocked to wake one innocuous morning in 2016 to a video of Tom and Z dancing in Zendaya’s basement with dancer and choreographer Deja Carter. The videos posted that day barely make up a minute of footage in total, but their impact has continued to resonate in all the years since.
12. The Perpetual Croissant Conversation
Every fandom has its inside jokes; one of the tests of a true Tom Holland stan is if the word “quackson” means anything to them. The very British Mr. Holland has received flack from his costars, British and American alike, for his pronunciation of the word croissant. The drama of it all! Take a look at another detailed compilation video below and let us know if he deserves it or not.
13. His Entire Hot Ones Episode
There are so many wonderful moments of Tom’s appearance on the beloved interview program. He pretends to faint. He charms everyone in the room. He employs his delightfully self-deprecating humor to great effect. Perhaps the best moment, though, occurs before the interview has even had a chance to start, when he reaches for the spiciest wing instead of the most mild to kick things off.
14. His Brothers Trust Initiative
Tom is the eldest of four boys, and he decided to join forces with them for a charitable initiative known (of course) as The Brothers Trust. The organization often offers up-close fan experiences, like being invited to a premiere of one of Tom’s films with a guest, and funds raised through entry costs go to a small number of charities in the health, education, and social spaces. An IRL superhero, too!
15. The Lightsaber Battle
On this day three years ago, Zendaya gave us all a birthday gift, instead of our dear Tom. She shared the following video of Tom engaged in a lightsaber battle with fellow Spider-Man co-star Jacob Batalon. The caption says it all.
Happy birthday loser… @TomHolland1996 pic.twitter.com/l1ZM4Fg7CH
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) June 1, 2018
16. Tom Being Zendaya’s Personal Hype Man
On the other hand, Tom’s social media posts regarding Zendaya aren’t quite as… silly? Casual? Rather, it seems more like Tom Holland runs a fan account just like the rest of us, shamelessly posting Getty watermarked photos of our beloved Zendaya on the red carpet. Arguably, his best work is during the annual Met Gala, which we all know Zendaya dominates any time she attends.
17. The VERY PUBLIC Birthday Post
Either you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when Tom Holland shared a birthday post for Zendaya with the caption reading “My MJ,” or you have a fulfilling life of thriving relationships or whatever. Either way, it was a moment to behold — a public claim! His MJ! It was so cute that we can forgive him for using the wrong form of “your” in the very next sentence.
18. Doing His Own Stunts
It’s no secret at this point that Tom’s athleticism is a major strength. Footage of him leaping from rigs, flying in front of green screens, and scooping up Zendaya on the streets of New York are really something to behold. There’s a reason people make such a fuss when actors are able to do many of their own stunts — it feels a bit like a quality from a bygone era, something for which many actors would gladly let a double take over. Fans have lost count of the number of times Tom has broken his nose on set, if that tells us anything.
tom holland doing his own stunts: a thread pic.twitter.com/FRIcei6JRP
— ✨Maria✨ TOM'S DAY (@quackzonqueen) February 6, 2022
19. Outing Himself as a BTS Stan
Finally, the question so many of us (read: a niche crossover of people who know how much Jungkook both loves and channels Spider-Man) have been asking for years has been answered. Not only does Tom Holland know who the BTS boys are, but he knows enough to get BTS edits on his social timelines. Perhaps you and I aren’t so different after all, Spider-Man.
i still cant believe tom holland watches bts edits pic.twitter.com/I8CRsh0Uc4
— •ᴗ• drea⁷ ᴾʳᵒᵒᶠ (@jinminbliss) May 24, 2022
20. Forever Altering the Meaning of the Phrase “I Don’t Feel So Good”
The shell-shocked feeling as the credits rolled on Avengers: Infinity War is tough to replicate. Spoiler alert, but it would truly be impressive to have reached this point in time and not know — the movie ends with a massive cliffhanger as more than half of The Avengers disintegrate before our very eyes. While Groot gave him a run for his money, the most emotional departure went to Tom Holland, who forever altered the connotation of the phrase “I don’t feel so good.”
21. His Performance in The Impossible
While his career-defining role is that of Peter Parker, Tom Holland really broke through with a role in 2012’s The Impossible. His performance in the survival disaster drama is gut-wrenching; he, as a young boy, had to hold his own in a movie that also featured Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. Now, in retrospect, it’s no wonder his career has continued to thrive after that critically-lauded performance.
22. His Billy Elliot Origins
Similarly, if we continue the walk down memory lane on today, Tom’s birthday, his star quality was already visible when he was even younger, in the time of Billy Elliot. The stage production is so demanding that the cast typically rotated through a cycle of three or four boys in the main role, and his time in the show laid the groundwork for a career packed with physicality. It’s time Tom returned to the world of musicals! Hugh Jackman era when?
23. Visiting the Hospital in Character
Tom has made a habit out of bringing Spidey out to brighten the days of others, most often visiting sick children who love the character. Whether he’s filming, on a press tour, or in between schedules back in London, he never seems too busy to go make some dreams come true.
Tom Holland makes a visit as Spiderman to Seoul National University Childrens' Hospital to bring cheers to warded children https://t.co/yL2AzcYodJ pic.twitter.com/wkXJEysXzn
— The Seoul Story (@theseoulstory) July 1, 2019
24. Recreating The Spider-Man Meme
Once again, spoiler alert — much of the conversation around Spider-Man: No Way Home revolved around the reunion of the three Spider Men of our time. Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland all came together for one of the most fun crossovers in recent years, and the three didn’t miss the opportunity to recreate that Spider-Man meme. Sometimes, you just have to give the people what they want.
Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire recreated the #SpiderMan meme 😂 pic.twitter.com/CJ0XTCFvXr
— Culture Crave 🍿 (@CultureCrave) February 23, 2022
25. Hiking with RDJ
Peter Parker and Tony Stark might not have had the happiest ending in the MCU, but that doesn’t mean Tom and RDJ have to suffer a similar storyline. After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War and the conclusive finale of Avengers: Endgame, hearts were warmed by a post from Tom revealing that his friendship with the esteemed and beloved actor went far beyond contractual bounds.
26. The Handstand Challenge Incident
Lastly, our dear Tom isn’t the best at social media, but his heart always seems to be in the right place. This was exactly the case when he participated in a complicated upside-down handstand challenge circulating at the peak of lockdown, in which celebrities tagged one another in a series of increasingly difficult fitness-related prompts. The goal was to entertain, and Tom’s entry absolutely succeeded. The only problem (a word used very lightly here)? He uploaded the end of the video first, dropping unsuspecting Instagram users into the center of a very dramatic video.