Jacob Batalon’s Ned Leeds might not be the coolest or most powerful character in the MCU, but he’s definitely top tier likeable. Over two films we’ve seen him be the best possible buddy to Tom Holland’s Spidey, but there are dark omens on the horizon. Batalon is confirmed to be returning for Spider-Man: No Way Home later this year and if the rumor mill is correct, his story will be taking an unexpected turn.
Leaker Daniel Richtman is reporting that Ned is set to go “full crazy” in the movie. I can’t see him turning evil of his own volition, though, so what could happen here? Well, a big hint may come in the original comics.
There, Ned was a reporter at the Daily Bugle whose story took a tragic turn when he investigated the mysterious Hobgoblin, resulting in him being captured and brainwashed into becoming a new incarnation of the villain. Though he recovers from the initial mind control, Ned ends up having unstable episodes, which make him lose his job, his girlfriend and eventually lead to his death. Batalon is well aware of this plot line and has even commented on it in the past, saying he’d love to play Ned as a villain.
“To be completely honest, yes. I would love to, I would love to do that. That just sounds like such a fun process as an actor to go through. But at the same time, Ned is just a really sweet guy. I definitely don’t see that in him. But, you know, I’m definitely not saying I couldn’t do it. I could definitely do my best villain. I’d love to.”
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If this does make it into the movie, it’s going to a very busy film. We already know that Electro and Doctor Octopus are back, with Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin also strongly rumored. On top of that, Doctor Strange will be a mentor figure and it seems that Wanda Maximoff may be an antagonist as she uses her powers to mess with the fabric of the multiverse. All that and potential appearances from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in addition to the residual drama from Far From Home means there’s a lot going on. Let’s hope for a trailer and a couple of firm announcements soon so we can clear up this speculation.
Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17th, 2021.