‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ hints at an unexpected future for Ned
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Jacob Batalon’s Ned Leeds has been one of the biggest question marks of the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy. Ever since he made his debut in Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans have been predicting that he would become supervillain the Hobgoblin like in the comics, but he’s always remained the good-hearted best pal/”guy in the chair” to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. But with Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters, we may now have an idea of the unexpected future ahead for the character.
Warning: medium-level spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home to follow.
Though we had been primed to expect some kind of Hobgoblin tease in No Way Home, the movie actually indicates that Ned could go down a very different route. After Peter manages to best Doctor Strange and traps him in the mirror dimension, Ned finds the sorcerer’s discarded sling ring and wears it. Later on, when worried about his M.I.A. friend, Ned moves his hand in frustration and accidentally uses the sling ring to open a portal.
Ned is stunned at his ability to do this, commenting that his grandmother always said he was magic. He’s later able to get the hang of opening portals with the sling ring, though he has trouble working out how to close them. At the end of the film, when Strange returns from the mirror dimension, he’s surprised and possibly a little impressed that Ned has been able to master using the sling ring so quickly.
With Ned showing a knack for the mystic arts, it’s possible that he could pursue a path in sorcery going forward, even as he continues his scientific studies at M.I.T. It’s feasible that he might become a magic-powered version of the Hobgoblin, but Spider-Man: No Way Home suggests he’ll remain a good guy and instead become a disciple of Doctor Strange.