SAN DIEGO — The new Peter Parker says it's never too soon for another "Spider-Man" movie.
Andrew Garfield, who plays Peter and his superhero alter-ego in next summer's "The Amazing Spider-Man," said Friday at the Comic-Con fan convention that his take on the Marvel Comics icon is a departure from Tobey Maguire's, which concluded just four years ago after three films.
Though it's a short turn-around for a new version, lifelong Spidey fan Garfield says people need a hero such as Peter.
"We love it. We need it. We need his strength, we need his joy. We need to see that guy swing among the buildings of New York City. We all love that guy. We all dreamed of being him," Garfield, 27, said in an interview. "It's never going to die, and I can't wait to see what the next actor does with it."
Garfield, director Marc Webb, co-star Emma Stone, who plays romantic interest Gwen Stacy, and Rhys Ifans, who plays a villain known as the Lizard, had plenty of kindred spirits at Comic-Con, where they gave fans a preview of their new story of how nerdy Peter transforms into the agile crime fighter. The film is due in theaters next summer.
After the trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man" played, Garfield gave Comic-Con fans a rousing opening to the presentation. Dressed in a cheap Spider-Man costume, Garfield rushed to a question-and-answer microphone in the audience posing as a jittery fan for a few moments before whipping off his mask and introducing himself as the film's star.
In a breathless voice, Garfield read an impassioned summation of his adulation for Spider-Man, saying that "Peter Parker inspired me to feel stronger. He made me, Andrew, braver." Before introducing Webb, Stone and other collaborators, Garfield gushed: "This is definitely the coolest moment of my life."
Director Sam Raimi and his stars, Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco, bid farewell to the franchise after 2007's "Spider-Man 3," opening the door for Marvel and Sony Pictures to go back to the drawing-board for a fresh approach.
Webb, best known previously for his clever romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer," said the decades of "Spider-Man" comic books are a bottomless source for big-screen adaptations.
"The Amazing Spider-Man" footage Sony showed included scenes of Garfield's Peter getting used to his strength and other superpowers, then running afoul of the police, who declare him a masked vigilante. The studio also presented scenes of Ifans as a one-armed scientist who transforms into the hulking Lizard.
The footage also showed Peter building his mechanical web-shooters, a return to the comic-book tradition after the Maguire-Raimi films gave the character the ability to shoot webs organically out of his wrists.
The story sets Peter on a quest to unravel secrets about his long-gone father, a journey that puts him on the path to his own fateful transformation.
Born in the United States but raised in England, Garfield was a virtual unknown in Hollywood when cast last year in the new "Spider-Man" series. Before that, he had starred in the acclaimed British drama "Boy A" and co-starred in Robert Redford's "Lions for Lambs" and Heath Ledger's last film, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus."
After the "Spider-Man" casting announcement, Garfield quickly shot to prominence with well-received roles in "Never Let Me Go" and "The Social Network," the latter earning him a supporting-actor nomination at the Golden Globes.
Stone also has been on the rise, starring in last year's comedy hit "Easy A" and in next month's literary adaptation "The Help," as well as co-starring in Steve Carell's romance "Crazy, Stupid, Love," opening next week.
Garfield recalled that Maguire phoned him on the day it was "announced that I would be taking on the mantle of this symbol that means more than him or me, and he kind of gave me his blessing, which made me feel OK about jumping into it. ... He's the best. I'm Team Tobey."