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Ned Leeds Actor Teases A Possible Dark Future For Spider-Man's Best Friend

"Spider-Man: No Way Home" is one of the most grueling adventures any movie incarnation of Spider-Man has gone through, not least because it unites all three big-screen Spideys and their various traumas against a huge squad of enemies. Still, occasional stabbings and inferiority complexes aside, both Tobey Maguire's and Andrew Garfield's versions of Peter Parker head back to their own universes with significant personal victories under their belt. After all, the former manages to finally prevent Green Goblin's (Willem Dafoe) demise, and the latter is able to make up for his biggest rescue failure when he stops MJ (Zendaya) from falling to her death. 

The MCU version of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is less successful, as he loses everyone close to him in the process of returning things to normal. However, when you think about it, his arc is far from the only tragic one in the movie. Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) goes through a wringer in the movie, losing all memories of his superhero best friend — and, therefore, his status as Peter's "man in the chair." As the other Spideys inform him before Doctor Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) spell erases his Parker-themed memories, his best friend status may also put him at risk of becoming Spider-Man's enemy at some point down the line. 

Batalon has now addressed this last point in a roundabout way, and the Ned Leeds actor seems to tease a possible dark future for Spider-Man's (former) best friend.  

Batalon drops a major Hobgoblin hint

Batalon posted a picture of himself holding a Hobgoblin action figure on Instagram (via CBR). This is pretty noteworthy when you remember that in the comics, Hobgoblin is the supervillain identity Ned Leeds is closely associated with. When you remember that the lab scene in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" teases a potential Ned villain turn by noting that Spider-Man's friends have a tendency to become his enemies, this might be a pretty ill omen for the usually affable MCU Ned's future.

Mind you, Batalon's tease is not quite comics accurate. While there are several Hobgoblins in the comics, Ned Leeds actually never dons the mantle, even though he personally thinks so. The most prominent Hobgoblin in the comics is a fashion mogul called Roderick Kingsley, with small-time mercenary Jason Macendale a close second. Meanwhile, Leeds is merely an innocent and unlucky stooge who's been brainwashed to think he's the supervillain ... which, incidentally, is a role that would arguably fit the MCU Ned much better. 

It's unlikely that Batalon is unaware of this part of Ned's history in the comics, and even more difficult to believe that he'd spoil something Marvel Studios have planned for him in such a casual way. Still, the fact that he acknowledges Ned's Hobgoblin connection in the first place might raise some eyebrows among the fans.