Which Villain Does Ned Leeds Become in the ‘Spider-Man’ Comics: Will Jacob Batalon Become an MCU Baddie?

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jacob Batalon portrays Spider-Man’s best friend, Ned Leeds, often coming to Peter Parker’s aid with timely distractions and some acts of heroism all his own. Yet, the name Ned Leeds boasts a more significant history in the comics than has been exposed in the film landscape (thus far). 

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon
Holland and Jacob Batalon at Sony presentation during Comic Con | Rebeca Figueiredo Amorim/Getty Images for Sony

Is the MCU planning to go dark with Ned Leeds; did those behind the franchise merely choose this infamous name to trick viewers, or is there a long-term plan that has yet to come to fruition? 

Which bad guy does Ned Leeds turn into the ‘Spider-Man’ comic books? 

In the Spider-Man comics, Ned Leeds is a field reporter for The Daily Bugle. And, following Spider-Man: Far From Home, it looks like the familiar newspaper seems destined to receive an on-screen spotlight once more (with J.K. Simmons reprising Daily Bugle Editor-in-Chief J. Jonah Jameson). 

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While Leeds may not become a field reporter in future Spidey installments, Betty Brant is now part of the franchise. And, she, after dating Leeds, helps cement a path toward Leeds’ unintentional villainy in the comics. 

Ned Leeds is eventually brainwashed by the Winkler (a scientist working for Kingpin’s organization) while on assignment. He becomes convinced that he is the Hobgoblin, leading him to act in the actual Hobgoblin’s place many a time, as Marvel.Fandom explains. Yet, who is Hobgoblin? 

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The character is based on the Green Goblin and was created to follow the villain’s legacy without rebirthing the same character. Hobgoblin’s costume pays homage to the Green Goblin but boasts a more medieval look. Often boasting genius-level intellect, superhuman speed, agility, and goblin-themed weapons, he, like his predecessor, is quite the force to be reckoned with. 

Jacob Batalon wants to play Hobgoblin in the MCU

During an interview with ScreenRant, the actor behind Ned Leeds told the publication that he wants to become the Hobgoblin, and he believes that such a future may be in the cards for his character. He shared: 

That just further validates my theory of Ned becoming Hobgoblin, but hey… But it’d be so great [if] they’re not going to want me to die. [I hope] they’re going to want me to stay on and be part of the Sinister Six. That’s just my theory.

Jacob Batalon / ScreenRant

The Green Goblin has already appeared multiple times in Spidey movies. Thus, going in a different direction and choosing Leeds as the next villain (a friend Parker knows he can trust) would definitely present a unique narrative turn for the franchise.