Warning: Spider-Man: No Way Home spoilers ahead. If you’ve watched the MCU’s newest Spider-Man movie, you may have questions about Ned in Spider-Man: No Way Home and his power to use magic like Doctor Strange.
Spider-Man: No Way Home—a sequel of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home—is the third Spider-Man movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 27th film in the franchise overall. The movie stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man), a high school student with spider-like superpowers. The film is set after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which saw Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) expose Peter as Spider-Man and frame him for his murder. Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Peter ask Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help to restore his life and secret identity. However, Dr. Strange’s spell doesn’t go as planned and the magic breaks open the multiverse to allow supervillains from alternate realities who fought other versions of Spider-Man to arrive in the MCU’s Spider-Verse.
In an interview with Uproxx in February 2021, Holland, who has a reputation among fans for spoiling MCU movies, confirmed that some details about Spider-Man: No Way Home had been leaked before its premiere while others stayed a secret. “It’s a tricky situation…sometimes the fans figure out what’s going on, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they figure out one thing, and it opens up a whole world of possibilities and they go off on a tangent, which could not be more different or more correct to what we’re making,” he said. “It’s a shame, sometimes, that things get leaked and things get ruined. But at the moment, with this film, I think we’re doing a very, very good job of keeping the things that need to be a secret a secret. And I’m sure there are things that are going on that I have no idea about. I mean, I’m usually the last person to find out what’s going on, because of this ridiculous rumor that I spoil movies!”
He continued, “But, I think, the tricky thing about those questions is: it’s a question that’s going to get a reaction regardless of what the answer is. So it’s one of those things where you just have to figure out, how is the best way to handle this? Shall I lie? Shall I tell the truth? Shall I just say, ‘I can’t say anything.’ Shall I say, ‘I can neither confirm nor deny’? There’s nothing you can really say that won’t spark a reaction from the fans. So, it’s a double-edged sword. It can be great. It can be a great thing, but sometimes it can be quite a damaging thing.”
Ned Leeds (played by Jacob Batalon) has been the best friend of Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) since Spider-Man: Homecoming. While he’s always been known as Spider-Man’s “guy in the chair”—a.k.a. his super intelligent sidekick—Spider-Man: No Way Home suggests that Ned could become as powerful as his best friend himself. Read on for what we know about Ned in Spider-Man: No Way Home and how the third MCU Spider-Man movie sets up his future for the next Spider-Man trilogy.
What happens to Ned in Spider-Man: No Way Home?
What happens to Ned in Spider-Man: No Way Home? Ned (Jacob Batalon) learns that he can use magic in the same way as Doctor Strange. Ned first hints at his magic powers when he asks Doctor Strange how he knew that he could use magic and tells him that his grandmother told him that there’s also magic in their family, which he can feel in his body. Doctor Strange, skeptical of Ned’s claims, tells him that he should see a physician.
Ned discovers that his family was true about his magic powers after Peter Parker and Doctor Strange get into a fight over a magic box that can send the five villains from the other Spider-Verses—Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Lizard from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and Lizard and Electro from Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man movies—back to their universes. Doctor Strange—who transported the villains to the MCU’s Spider-Verse after his spell to restore Spider-Man’s secret identity misfires—wants to send them back immediately, which would kill them because they were transported to the MCU’s Spider-Verse right before the moment they died. Peter, on the other hand, wants to cure the villains of their powers and what makes them evil before he sends them back, which would allow them to live in their universes.
Spider-Man and Doctor Strange fight in the Mirror Dimension, which ends with Spider-Man trapping Doctor Strange in a web before he steals the box and Doctor Strange’s Sling Ring—a two-finger mystical ring that can create portals to other locations or dimensions—so he can’t come back. When Peter comes up with a plan to cure the villains, he gives MJ the box to keep safe, while Ned takes the Sling Ring. Later in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Ned accidentally uses the Sling Ring to open a portal when he wishes to find “Peter Parker.” The Sling Ring creates a portal to a Spider-Man. But instead of Tom Holland’s Peter, the Spider-Man is Andrew Garfield’s version of the character, who was also transported to the MCU’s Spider-Verse after Doctor Strange’s spell misfired. Ned tries to use the Sling Ring again to find “Peter Parker, but instead opens a portal to Tobey Maguire’s version of Spider-Man, who ned at first calls “some guy.”
In the final fight scene of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Ned uses the Sling Ring again to create a portal for Holland’s Peter to pass MJ the magic box after he uses it to bait the villains to the Statue of Liberty, where he and the other Spider-Men plan to cure them of their powers and what makes them evil before he sends them back to their universes. While Ned can create the portal to Holland’s Peter with the Sling Ring, he can’t seem to close it. Lizard overhears Ned and MJ arguing in the portal, which leads Lizard to enter the portal and chase them as they escape onto the Statue of Liberty. When Ned tries to open a portal back to he and MJ were, he creates a portal to Doctor Strange instead, who tells him that he was stuck at the Grand Canyon because of Peter. Doctor Strange also remarks his surprise at Ned’s ability to use the Sling Ring. Later in the fight scene, Ned learns more about his magic powers when he calls for Doctor Strange’s cape to save him before he falls to his death.
Will Ned become Hobgoblin?
Will Ned become Hobgoblin? In the Spider-Man comics, Ned—whose full name is Edward “Ned” Leeds—is a reporter at the Daily Bugle, where Peter also works at. The two compete over the affection of the Daily Bugle’s secretary, Betty Brant, who Ned marries. Ned becomes Hobgoblin after he follows the previous Hobgoblin to his hideout after the villain’s fight with Spider-Man. When Hobgoblin learns that Ned is there, Hobgoblin captures and brainwashes Ned to think he’s Hobgoblin in case the real Hobgoblin is unmasked. Ned’s brainwashing causes his marriage with Betty and his professional relationships at work to fall apart. Later in the comics, Ned, who is known as Hoblin in New York City’s underworld empire, goes on an assignment for the Daily Bugle with Peter in Berlin, where he’s killed by the Foreigner at the request of Jason Macendale, a replacement Hobgoblin. Peter suspects that Ned must have been framed as Hobgoblin, as Foreigner would have never been able to kill the real Hobgoblin. Peter’s suspicions are confirmed when the real Hobgoblin kills Jason, and Robert Kingsley (the first Hobgoblin) confesses on tape that Ned was framed as the villain.
Who is Hobgoblin? Hobgoblin is a supervillan that was first introduced in the The Amazing Spider-Man #238 in 1983. The first and most prominent version of the character was Roderick Kingsley, a fashion designer in New York City, who accessed one of Norman Osborn’s lairs that housed the equipment and formula he used as Green Goblin. Roderick used what he found to perfect Norman’s Goblin formula, which gave him superhuman strength and intelligence without Green Goblin’s insanity. He also upgraded Norman’s equipment and arsenal of weapons to make his own version of Pumpkin Bombs, razor-sharp bats and a high-tech Goblin Glider as the Hobgoblin. The Hobgoblin’s powers include superhuman strength, reflexes and intelligence; and regenerative healing, as well as Halloween-themed weapons and gadgets.
So…will Ned become Hobgoblin? In an interview with Fandango in November 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home producer Amy Pascal confirmed that there are three more Spider-Man movies planned with Holland, which means that Spider-Man: No Way Home won’t be Batalon’s last film as Ned. “This is not the last movie that we are going to make with Marvel – [this is not] the last Spider-Man movie,” Pascal said. “We are getting ready to make the next Spider-Man movie with Tom Holland and Marvel. We’re thinking of this as three films, and now we’re going to go onto the next three. This is not the last of our MCU movies.”
Spider-Man: No Way Home also hints at the possibility of Ned becoming the next Spider-Man villain when he asks Maguire’s Peter if he had a best friend in his universe. Maguire’s Peter said that he did until his best friend became evil and tried to kill him, a reference to Harry Osborn (James Franco) in 2002’s Spider-Man, which sees Harry try to shoot Peter after he kills his father, Norman Osborn (Green Goblin.) After Maguire’s Peter tells him the story of him and Harry, Ned becomes awkward around Peter. The possibility of Ned becoming Hobgoblin was also hinted at with the introduction of Green Goblin in the MCU, which would give a reason for Ned to take on a similar mantle. The end of Spider-Man: No Way Home also sees Peter and Ned no longer as friends after Peter tells Doctor Strange to cast a spell for everyone to forget him, so he can prevent the Multi-Verse from breaking. Doctor Strange’s spell works and everyone—including Ned and MJ—forgets Peter and Spider-Man’s secret identity. One of the final scenes of Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Peter visit MJ at the coffee shop she works at, where he learns that MJ and Ned are still friends, but have no memory of who he is.
While there have been theories about ned becoming Hobgoblin for a while, those theories don’t explain Ned’s power to use magic and Sling Ring—which has only been used by five other MCU characters: Doctor Strange, Wong, Karl Modo, Kaecilius and The Ancient One—in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Some believe that Ned’s powers set him up to be Doctor Strange’s student in future Spider-Man and Doctor Strange movies. Ned becoming Hobgoblin also seems unlikely after Spider-Man: No Way Home confirmed that Venom will be the next Spider-Man villain in the first post-credit scene.
The first Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credit scene features a cameo from Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock from 2018’s Venom and 2020’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage. In the scene, Eddie—who was transported to the MCU’s Spider-Verse after Doctor Strange’s spell backfired—is at a bar on a beach in Mexico as he asks the bartender questions about the heroes and villains in the MCU. He refers to Iron Man as someone in a “tin suit,” the Hulk as a man who’s “green” and Thanos as an alien who “collects stones.”
Eddie makes fun of Thanos by telling the bartender that aliens on his planet (a.k.a. Venom) don’t “collect stones” and instead, control people’s minds. The bartender tells him that he lost his family for five years because of Thanos, which makes Eddie a bit more sympathetic to what happened after the snap. Eddie tells the bartender that he should go to New York City to find Spider-Man to figure out a way to return to his universe. As he gets up, Venom tells Eddie that he’s drunk. The bartender also tells Eddie that he needs to pay for his drink. But before Eddie can do so, he vanishes in the same way the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb Spider-Man characters vanished in Spider-Man: No Way Home as the bartender complains about how he knew Eddie wouldn’t pay. Just before the Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credit scene ends, the camera zooms in on a drop of black goo as it moves across the bar, hinting that Venom will be in the fourth MCU Spider-Man movie.
For more about Spider-Man, check out Marvel’s special edition book, Spider-Man: From Amazing to Spectacular: The Definitive Comic Art Collection, which takes readers through 50 years of Spider-Man. The deluxe art book—which includes exclusive interviews and content from the writers and illustrators that brought the Marvel superhero to life half a century ago—follows Spider-Man’s history, from his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962 to how he went from being Marvel’s chronic underdog to the amazing and spectacular superhero fans know today. The book—which also includes a deep dive into Spider-Man’s superpowers, including his spider-like strength, genius mind and webslingers (not to mention his “fully loaded arsenal of quips—Spider-Man: From Amazing to Spectacular also features never-before-seen art of the friendly neighborhood superhero, and behind-the-scene details from creators like Brian Michael Bendis, Gerry Conway and Tom DeFalco, as well as others who helped bring Peter Parker to life. Spider-Man: From Amazing to Spectacular is a must-read for any Marvel superfan.
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