Spider-Man star Tom Holland has delighted fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by confirming that his character has been linked with the franchise since 2010, giving credence to a long-standing fan theory.

The rumour generated from a moment in the 2010 superhero film Iron Man 2, where a small boy dressed up as Iron Man is rescued from imminent death from a killer drone by the real Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr. Following that moment, some MCU fans had speculated that the boy in question is a very young Peter Parker, who later of course becomes Spidey.

Now, however, the new Spider-Man actor Tom Holland has confirmed that fan theory is actually true to The Huffington Post.

Tom HollandTom Holland confirmed the fan theory is true

“I can confirm that as of today. I literally had a conversation with Kevin Feige only 20 minutes ago,” he said. “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.”

More: Tom Holland wants unused villains throughout his ‘Spider-Man’ journey

The fan theory is even borne out by the MCU’s own timeline, with six years passing between the child’s appearance in Iron Man 2 and the 15 year old Peter Parker’s cameo in Captain America: Civil War last year.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is being released in cinemas on July 7th. It represents the third time that a new actor has taken on the role of the web-slinger, after Tobey Maguire made the three films in the noughties, followed by Andrew Garfield’s ill-fated time playing the character in the last few years.

“It’s crazy, man,” British actor Holland said later in the interview about playing Spidey. “I genuinely could not describe how I’m feeling right now. It’s the most surreal experience I’ve been through. It’s changed my life. I’ve met some of the best friends I’ll keep forever, and I’m so lucky, man. I’m so, so lucky.”

More: Tom Holland excited about Tom Hardy’s ‘Venom’ movie