Even if Tom Holland’s Spider-Man origin tale ended with Spider-Man: No Way Home, that doesn’t mean that MCU fans have seen the last of the web-slinger or his companions in the movies. However, due to Doctor Strange’s spell, the future of Ned (Jacob Batalon) and MJ (Zendaya) in Spider-Man 4 is up in the air and is a major topic of conjecture.
Even while MJ and Ned’s teary climax affirms that they’re still going to MIT, the film teases Ned’s own superhero (and villainous) potential in the lead-up to that emotional conclusion.
In addition to demonstrating Ned’s ability to open portals and having him momentarily don the Cloak of Levitation (which has even sparked discussion about a sorcerer-themed spin-off), No Way Home included a scene in which Ned learns from Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of Peter that his former best friend has become a villain and attempted to kill him. In this scene, Ned also learns that Peter has been trying to kill him. But, in the comics, Ned Leeds is frequently connected with a villain who is known as the Hobgoblin. This drives Ned to promise Tom Holland’s Peter that he wouldn’t do the same; however, in the new film, Ned makes this pledge backward.
Fans are now waiting with bated breath for news about Spider-Man 4, and Ned Leed’s portrayal of Jacob Batalon simply added gasoline to the fires of speculation on the potentially bleak future of his character.
Jacob Batalon Hints at His Future Role as the Hobgoblin in Spider-man
Recently, Jacob Batalon reshared an image of himself with a Hobgoblin action figure on his Instagram story. This image was subsequently posted on Reddit, which led to additional conjecture over the future of Ned Leeds in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Although the comic book character of Ned Leeds has been linked to the Hobgoblin at various points, the story behind this connection is very convoluted.
Throughout the years shown in the comics, a number of different characters have taken on the identity of the Hobgoblin. One of these characters is Robert Kingsley, who became involved in the criminal underworld after acquiring the Green Goblin’s gear. Ned Leeds is dragged into the drama after being duped into thinking he is the Hobgoblin. He even makes an alliance with the Kingpin’s son in an effort to topple Wilson Fisk.
How Do Fans of Marvel Feel About This?
In response to the picture that Batalon posted, a lot of fans gave their thoughts on the prospect of Peter Parker’s “person in the chair” eventually turning out to be the Hobgoblin.
For example, HavengulWitch asserted that Ned is “too wholesome to be the least bit frightening,” and that the previous Spider-Man sequel had “played out” the idea of Peter’s best buddy turning out to be a bad guy Methdotrandom shared the same sentiment, stating that “Hobgoblin would be an appropriate name for someone who appears to be as threatening as Harry Osborne:”
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“I don’t want to come out as insensitive, but do you not think that he will be able to pull off the character of the Hobgoblin? To clarify, what I mean is that he seems like a happy person who would give you a hug. Someone who appears to be as dangerous as Harry Osborne would be a good fit for the role of Hobgoblin.”
However, tango libre had a different viewpoint and pointed out that the spell from Spider-Man: No Way Home probably had a significant impact on Ned’s life and contributed to “a tremendous transformation in personality:”
Will Ned Actually Become a Villain?
Given that Marvel Studios and Sony share the ownership of the Spider-Man characters, it is difficult to know or even speculate about what the future holds for Jacob Batalon’s character, Ned, or anyone else associated with the Spider-Man franchise. And despite the fact that fans are familiar with Ned’s story from the comics, Marvel Studios and Sony have historically valued adaptation over imitation in their filmmaking.
Since it has already been established that Zendaya‘s MJ will appear again, it is reasonable to assume that Ned will also return. Now, given that Ned was given magical abilities akin to those of Doctor Strange in No Way Home, and there’s no precedent for such a thing in the comics, it seems like the studios are hinting at a different path for the on-screen version of Ned Leeds. This is because No Way Home took place after the events of the original series.
Given that it seems likely that both Ned and MJ will be attending MIT, it is possible that Batalon’s character will take a more sinister turn while he is there. Riri Williams, a future Marvel Cinematic Universe hero, will also be a student at MIT during the events of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, therefore it is possible that she may have a role in Ned’s metamorphosis into the Hobgoblin.
In spite of this, there is still the possibility that Spider-Man 4 will present spectators with a more sinister side of the character. After all, there is a great deal of potential for storytelling in the idea of having Doctor Strange’s spell alter the course of Ned’s life and serve as the beginning of the villain’s backstory.
Last but not least, it is essential to keep in mind that the picture of Batalon can not even mean anything at all. The actor is aware of the Hobgoblin rumors, and he has offered his thoughts on the subject in the past. It’s possible that the actor who plays Spider-Man was just having some fun, as suggested by his social media post.
The fact that No Way Home hinted at a different kind of future for Peter Parker’s “man in the chair” is difficult to refute, though. In the interim, though, it is not yet clear what the future will be like in terms of its appearance.