Some MCU Fans Speculate Ned Could Become a Villain in a Future Spider-Man Movie
A good argument can be made the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Ned Leeds is a bit of a wasted opportunity. This is a common complaint by Spider-Man fans that the sideline characters in the Tom Holland era are a bit unmemorable. Perhaps this was by design to allow Holland to shine as Peter Parker.
One can still argue characters like MJ and Ned Leeds have good chemistry with Peter. Zendaya and Jacob Batalon work well with Holland in creating witty repartee, something the recent films never utilize enough.
Ned is usually there to help Peter through his problems, but fans are hoping that will pick up the pace. Or, Ned could become a villain if going by comic book lore.
Does it make sense for Ned Leeds to become Hobgoblin?
Those who read past Marvel comic books will remember when Ned Leeds became the next version of Hobgoblin (a variation on Green Goblin), albeit only by brainwashing. This story involved the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, catching Ned Leeds spying on him while latter attempted a newspaper expose on the villain. Yes, in that version of Marvel, Ned worked as a fellow reporter at The Daily Bugle alongside Peter Parker.
As payback, Roderick brainwashed Ned into thinking he was Hobgoblin, giving Roderick a hypnotized patsy to do all his dirty work. Due to the dangers involved in this scheme, Ned Leeds was eventually murdered when Roderick used the former as a pawn for escape.
The dark ending for Ned is from a parallel universe compared to where the new MCU version is. With the current Ned still being a high school student, the character is a long way from where the comic books had him as an adult.
Will the MCU take a similar trajectory, though, if the rumors of a couple more Spider-Man trilogies take place?
Looking ahead to what might happen to Ned Leeds
One interesting development on this is actor Jacob Batalon made it clear he was aware of the Ned Leeds comic book storyline. As a result, Batalon threw it out there about wanting to play Hobgoblin, according to Screen Rant.
Who could blame him when playing a villain always offers more complex acting possibilities? Also, seeing how Ned evolves into this situation would be worth playing out, if likely not following the comic book story to the letter.
Maybe the MCU would show Ned truly becoming evil rather than playing up the brainwashing plot. Then again, some fans note Batalon is not built like a classic superhero. Having him become Hobgoblin would have to change how people perceive the ripped physicality of these characters.
Either way, all evidence indicates Ned will be around for a while, whether the Spider-Man movies stay at MCU or move to Sony.
Fans are mixed on whether Ned Leeds will really become a villain
The current version of Ned Leeds is so likable, it might seem a little too jarring to see him go bad. On Reddit, many fans are split on what will really happen to him going forward.
As one fan says: “I think people need to realize that Ned was only ever Hobgoblin for a singular story arc and was brainwashed as well. If Hobgoblin appears, it’s almost certainly gonna be Roderick Kingsley”.
Another fan said that Ned seems more like Ganke Lee, a close Korean-American friend to Miles Morales in the comic books. Despite Batalon being of Filipino parentage, there definitely is a resemblance between Ganke and the Ned Leeds in the MCU.
Should Batalon’s Ned Leeds follow the arc of Ganke, he definitely would not become a villain and just continue as a confidante to Spider-Man. Considering that could involve a lot of complex territory as time goes on, Ned would still be involved in some risky things. It may even require becoming somewhat nefarious to help his friend through the storms.