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The Ned Twist In Spider-Man: No Way Home No One Saw Coming

Spoilers ahead for "Spider-Man: No Way Home"

The MCU's Peter Parker (Tom Holland) may feel like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but at least he has a few good friends watching his back. There's his girlfriend, MJ (Zendaya), who gives him a reason to get up in the morning to both go to school and fight crime. He also has his best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), who describes himself as Peter's "man in the chair." Most importantly, MJ and Ned aren't mere side characters in Peter's continuing journey as Spider-Man. When things hit the fan, they're right there, in the middle of the action, to lend a helping hand whenever possible.

Ned proves to be exceptionally useful in the Holland-led threequel "Spider-Man: No Way Home." It's not just his intelligence that helps Peter conquer the day; it's his magical hands, too. And yes, the term "magical" is applied literally here. Ned must have some sorcerers somewhere in his family tree because once he attains a Sling Ring — the device Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) uses to create portals — he's able to use it all on his own. Luckily, it comes in handy quite a few times over the course of the movie. 

Ned's sorcery skills tie into a key No Way Home moment

It's safe to say hardly anyone had "Ned becomes a sorcerer" on their "Spider-Man: No Way Home" bingo card, but that's precisely what we got. At the very least, Ned becomes incredibly proficient at using a Sling Ring in a short amount of time. Whereas it took Stephen Strange quite a while to get the hang of making portals, Peter Parker's right-hand man figures out how to do it almost immediately — although he apparently still needs to get the hang of closing portals once he opens them up.

It's a fun addition to the "Spider-Man" canon and plays a significant role in several moments throughout the film. The most notable instance of Ned's Sling Ring proficiency coming in handy is when he and MJ want to find their Peter. But when he merely says "Peter Parker," we get Andrew Garfield's version of the character and then Tobey Maguire's. It's a fun way to bring all of the Spider-Men into one place. However, whether Ned's set to join the sorcerer ranks alongside Sorcerer Supreme is still up in the air.

During the heartwrenching "No Way Home" finale, Holland's Peter asks Doctor Strange to make everyone in the universe forget about Peter Parker. He doesn't merely ask to make people forget Peter is Spider-Man; he asks that Strange wipe out his existence completely. That means Ned forgets all of his memories of Peter, too. So, through an extension of this logic, it would make sense for him also to forget he can tap into magical powers. Maybe he'll need to get another superpowered best friend so he can remember the power he holds in the palm of his hands.

Ned's magic is in line with the comics

Ned being a magic user isn't just a fun thing they added to "No Way Home." It's something that his villainous alter-ego in the comics, namely Hobgoblin, is proficient in, as well. This is exemplified in the storyline for "Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality."

In it, Ned, a.k.a. Hobgoblin, decides to work alongside Baron Mordo, who's played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the MCU. Hobgoblin steals a magic book at the Sanctum Sanctorum called the Word of God, which allows the user to alter the universe. Through this, Hobgoblin's able to make Mordo the Sorcerer Supreme while Ned becomes his apprentice.

Suffice to say, nothing like that happens in "No Way Home." While Ned learns how to use some magic, it's limited to making portals via a sling ring. He doesn't go full evil just yet, but there is a line to suggest Ned could become Hobgoblin down the road. After Tom Holland's Peter Parker meets the other two, Tobey Maguire's version tells Ned about how he fought his best friend, namely Harry Osborn (James Franco). The story seems to really stick with Ned, and he immediately turns to Tom Holland's Spider-Man to inform him that he'll never turn evil and fight him.

It's a fun line, especially for those who are aware of Ned's comic book alter-ego. And with Baron Mordo returning to the MCU with a villainous role in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," who knows what could transpire? Perhaps the two characters will meet one day in the MCU after all.