After Spider-Man: No Way Home was released everyone seemed to agree that Ned Leeds was being positioned to become the MCU’s next big villain, Hobgoblin. But one Reddit theory seems to point to another interesting enemy. And when you think about it, the evidence is all there. Ned Leeds will become the MCU’s Venom.
During the build-up to the third act of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker’s best friend, Ned Leeds, learns that both the other Peters (Tobey Maguire’s and Andrew Garfield’s) have had best friends who became villains. This leads him to promise Tom Holland’s Peter that he will never betray him and become an evil-doer (even if he was wearing the exact same colour scheme as the Hobgoblin).
Of course, the audience is a little smarter and we all knew this was the beginning of something more — especially when Peter shows up at the end of the film (after everyone in the world has forgotten who he is) and he is no longer friends with his longtime pal.
But who exactly is Ned Leeds without Peter Parker? Probably just a lonely geek who is unable to really fit into society, right?
And that’s where the Redditor’s fan theory comes in. u/armoureddragon03 believes Ned will become the MCU’s Venom, Spider-Man’s archnemesis.
And when you sit back and think about it, it all makes sense. All the clues were already there.
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“There already was references to Ned becoming a villain in a seemingly throwaway joke poking fun at how many times Peter’s best friend turns into a villain,” u/armoureddragon03 writes. “Venom was teased in the mid-credit scene for [Spider-Man: No Way Home] so we know he will play a role in the college trilogy. With that said, Peter will probably obtain the symbiote at some point and then later discard it. Venom now out for vengeance could potentially attach itself to Peter’s former best friend as a way to hurt him psychologically. Ned would then regain all the memories he lost in No Way Home. This would make him angry at Peter for robbing him of these memories and together Venom will hunt down Peter.”
It’s the perfect setup and it genuinely makes so much sense. As I said, all the clues were there and, when you put them together, you can clearly see that Spider-Man 4 will be an epic showdown between Spidey and Venom.
Everyone is expecting Ned to become Hobgoblin but, considering we’ve already had Green Goblin in the first trilogy, it wouldn’t be too exciting to have a similar villain show up in the sequel.
While I’m not sure where Ned’s magic abilities fit in here, the rest of it all works together. Ned Leeds will become the MCU’s Venom.
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Jacob Batalon’s Future In The MCU And Spider-Man Movies
If there is one question that keeps Marvel fans awake at night, that is what will happen to Spider-Man in the future. Though some members of the cast, including Ned Leeds’ Jacob Batalon, MJ’s Zendaya and Tom Holland himself, have expressed their satisfaction with the conclusion of Spidey’s story, perhaps the same can’t be said of the fans.
Spider-Man: No Way Home leaves open the possibility for Spidey to return to the MCU as a newcomer, but his relationships and his life as Peter Parker have essentially vanished. Perhaps the worst part of it all is that, if there’s never a Spider-Man 4 in the MCU, we’ll never get one of Ned’s most fascinating theories to come to life.
While the two previous Spider-Man live-action franchises focused on Spidey’s relationship with Harry Osborn, the MCU happened to be the first to introduce Ned Leeds’ character to live-action. Why is that important? Because Ned has a long history with Spidey in the comics – and it’s not necessarily a positive one.
In many incarnations of the character, Ned has been antagonistic toward Peter. While this would be unthinkable for Batalon’s Ned, it’s worth noting that their relationship now is virtually nonexistent. Sure, they might have been friends before, but that could take a turn for the worse now that Ned has forgotten who Peter was.
Magician in Training
One of the most unexpected moments in No Way Home is when it’s revealed that Ned can use Doctor Strange’s Sling Ring. In a way, Ned is the one who saves the day by bringing together multiple versions of Spider-Man to fight in the movie’s final confrontation.
Even though it was more or less introduced as a joke, the fact that Ned could use such advanced magic with ease could hold some weight in the future of the MCU. Let’s not forget how long it took for Strange to finally master the art of using the ring – and he’s the Sorcerer Supreme.
The implications of Ned’s magical abilities are vast, but they could also be more fuel for a popular theory concerning Ned – one that’s confirmed by the comic books.
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In No Way Home, Norman Osborn became one of the most formidable villains in the MCU. It has been widely documented that Willem Dafoe steals the show in any dimension he visits, and he certainly did so in the MCU, proving that the Green Goblin might always be Spider-Man’s greatest foe.
However, as comic book fans might know, Norman Osborn isn’t the only Goblin in Spidey’s rogues’ gallery. In 1983, the Hobgoblin made his debut in The Amazing Spider-Man #283. His real identity? None other than Ned Leeds himself.
There are some creative liberties to consider if we were to believe that the MCU’s Ned Leeds could become the Hobgoblin villain. For starters, in the comics, Ned and Peter work at the Daily Bugle together. In the MCU, it would be hard to see someone like Ned working at that universe’s version of the Bugle, but stranger things have happened.
There’s still no official word on whether or not Spider-Man 4 will be a thing – with or without Ned Leeds. Considering the character’s popularity with fans, I’d say there’s a high chance that any possible sequel would include Jacob Batalon in its cast.
Whether a villain or a hero, the future of Ned Leeds in the Spider-Man franchise is going to be interesting.
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Tell us, do you think Ned Leeds will become a villain or remain a hero? Will he be Venom or are you still hoping for him to be Hobgoblin?