What If Ned Became Spider-Man in the MCU Instead of Peter Parker?

The upcoming Disney+ series What If…? is going to dip into the multiverse Marvel built for itself and look at all kinds of alternate superhero scenarios. What those entail is still up in the air, but most fans want the show to get as wild as possible, including alt scenarios for Spider-Man.

While the majority of the dream What If…? plots are about Captain America, Loki, or Tony Stark, others want to look a little deeper into who could have turned into Spidey.

Even though Into the Spider-Verse already explored this in refreshing new ways, the MCU hasn’t gone in a similar direction yet. Some fans want to see what a Ned Leeds version of Peter Parker would look like.

As played by Jacob Batalon in the movies, would he participate in such a story?

Ned Leeds has always been Parker’s best friend

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon
Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon | Rebeca Figueiredo Amorim/Getty Images for Sony

No one should think there isn’t any logic to the idea of a Ned Leeds Spider-Man existing in one of the alt-realities. After all, he was already a lot like Peter Parker in being a science nerd and could have just as easily been bitten by that radioactive spider.

Once Ned learned about Parker being Spider-Man, former became latter’s confidante and helped work to defeat Vulture. Trying to keep the secret of Parker being Spider-Man, though, was arguably as much of a burden as being the superhero himself.

Eventually, Ned died in the snap, but ultimately resurrected thanks to the Hulk. It’s strange the world is still three years away in real life from the year when Ned will be resurrected (2023). Regardless, it seems he’ll be back in all the upcoming Spider-Man movies on the agenda.

Thoughts go to what Ned will do in the next sequel now that Parker was revealed as Spider-Man in Far From Home. There’s even been suggestions Marvel will take from the comics and have Ned become one particular villain.

Jacob Batalon wants to play Hobgoblin

A while back, Batalon went on the record as saying he wants Ned Leeds to become Hobgoblin, a villain this character becomes in the comics. Despite Ned being brainwashed into becoming this baddie, it’s something the MCU decided to leave alone…at least for now.

Batalon clearly wants to play a bad guy since there’s probably only so much to be done in character development for Ned as he is. Whether Marvel will give Batalon this chance is up in the air, unless they think having him involved in What If…? would be a better bet.

There is an argument to be made of wanting to see Ned as Spider-Man rather than Hobgoblin. Another good reason for this is Batalon isn’t known for having a physical shape typical of Marvel superheroes. Not that this should play any factor for the sake of diversity. Since What If…? is going to be an animated series, he could do voice work easily.

Any involvement is anyone’s guess since all of the first season’s plots are being kept under wraps. Chances are, Ned is going to stay as Spider-Man’s ally, unless there’s a monumental twist in him taking over the Spidey duties until Parker can clear his name.

What would a Ned Leeds Spider-Man look like?

Everyone thinks of Spider-Man as looking mostly ripped, something Ned Leeds in the movies really isn’t. Reportedly, this was deliberate in the movies to help differentiate the general look between Parker and Leeds and not discriminate with any cast member.

Seeing Leeds as a multiverse Spider-Man would still be interesting indeed, including seeing Batalon as the character without being in perfect shape. Being able to see a more real Spider-Man body shape would be worth a brief look without any ribbing being necessary as seen in Into the Spider-Verse.

If nothing else, let’s hope Batalon has a chance to expand on the Ned Leeds character in future movies. He’s been taken for granted far too much in being an important figure in the new saga.