Spider-Man: No Way Home exploring the multiverse opened the gates for Ned Leeds’ (Jacob Batalon) connection to magic and mystics, an ability his comic counterpart possesses as the menacing Hobgoblin. Fans have long speculated Batalon could take on the antagonist persona in the future title and a cryptic new social media post from the star has Reddit buzzing with Hobgoblin discussions.
It’s been six months since Spider-Man: No Way Home’s premiere and MCU fans still wind up in its discussion over what the future holds for Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man and his allies, Batalon’s Ned Leeds and Zendaya‘s MJ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ned’s arc in particular has continued to pique fandom’s interest if Sony and Marvel Studios could potentially take a U-turn on the character’s relationship with Spider-Man by making him Hobgoblin. The below photo shared on the actor’s Instagram stories showing Batalon holding a Hobgoblin action figurine with a suspicious expression has sparked dissent among fans over the possibility.
While some were appalled by the thought of taking Ned down the darker route, few were optimistic and even believe MCU will go in that direction. As Redditor West-Cardiologist180 noted, “Like I’ve been saying, I wouldn’t be surprised if the MCU takes Ned down that route…and I wouldn’t be mad either. If done right, Ned as Hobgoblin would absolutely work. Imagine Ned Leeds as Hobgoblin vs Symbiote Spider-Man. It’d be Cap vs Iron Man levels of emotional.” Though there was pushback to that opinion as well, stating it would be a diversion from the comic storyline and would require some creative changes to make Ned walk that path, as Redditor Agreeable-Elephant15 said, “Stop trying to make Ned Leeds Hobgoblin. Ned Leeds never operated as the Hobgoblin. He was framed for it after he was killed. He never put in the costume, flew around on the glider, did crimes as the Hobgoblin. That wasn’t him. Stop making Ned Leeds Hobgoblin. That’s a mantra this sub really needs to learn.”
It’s hard to deny Ned’s Hobgoblin would be an interesting turn of events in Peter Parker’s life, and Marvel could explore his fall to the dark side in many ways, even as a betrayal arc of sorts if Ned at some point learns his memories were erased due to No Way Home’s aftermath. With no Green Goblin or Harry Osborn in Earth 616, Ned could take that place as the friend turned nemesis.
Batalon’s response to the growing dissent on Ned as Hobgoblin has been neutral and for the right reasons. In an earlier interview, the actor preferred not to speculate anything especially if its a potential plan Marvel could explore and it ends up becoming a spoiler.
“From all my years of working for Marvel, I feel like I’ve learned to just not say anything. I can’t really speak on things and then say something that might actually be true and then I ruin something, you know what I mean?”
For now, fans can at least expect to see new scenes (if any) of Ned in the extended version of Spider-Man: No Way Home releasing in theaters on September 2.
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