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How Ned Was Able To Use Doctor Strange's Artifacts In Spider-Man: No Way Home

Contains spoilers for "Spider-Man: No Way Home"

In "Spider-Man: No Way Home," our hero faces a host of new antagonists pouring in from all over the multiverse. In order to fight these new threats, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) needed some upgrades. He gets a considerable advancement in his efforts against the villains thanks to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Peter is outfitted with a Spell Shooter that alerts him to their presence and sends them to mystical holding cells to be returned elsewhere.

Additionally, there were some significant changes for Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), the longtime best friend of Peter. Left to his own devices, Ned has no powers to speak of, but the stalwart Spider-companion utilizes an iconic mystical artifact in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Doctor Strange's Sling Ring.

In "Spider-Man: No Way Home," Peter gives Ned the ring, which allows multiversal travel via magic and forms an essential early part of the magical training in Kamar-Taj. It's an artifact that even Doctor Strange had considerable trouble with before being taught not to be so intellectual with it. Ned, by contrast, masters opening portals almost instantly with no training — a feat that surprises even Doctor Strange himself. It left moviegoers wondering, how is Ned able to perform magic? Here's what we know.

How can Ned use a Sling Ring?

Unfortunately, why Ned can use the sling ring in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is never revealed to the audience. It seems like this is something writers and producers are keeping open-ended, as there was a brief comment from Doctor Strange that suggests there's more to Ned than meets the eye. The future MIT student also mentions that sometimes he gets tingles in his fingers and that his grandmother has said he might have magic in him.

Based on Ned's comic book history, we might get some insight into where this is all going and his connection to magic. In the Hobgoblin storyline from "Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality" #2-3 (which was long-rumored for "No Way Home" but didn't happen), Ned becomes brainwashed and the apprentice of Baron Mordo. Ned steals the Book of God, which helps him and his mentor reshape reality, resulting in Mordo becoming the Sorceror Supreme. Ned certainly dabbles with magic here, but he's never had it within him.

Will Ned turn evil in the MCU? Maybe. But probably not. Doctor Strange seems somewhat interested in what he has to offer, and we might see an apprenticeship form between that duo instead of Mordo and Ned. There are too many questions, and things were left way too open for us not to get answers about Ned's magic ability in a future MCU project.