• Mikey Sutton • Editor in Chief • Owner

MCU Scoop: Ned Leeds Will Bring Pain to Spider-Man

Written By Mikey Sutton • Editor-in-Chief • Owner

"In the garden I was playing the tart

I kissed your lips and broke your heart


You were acting like it was the end of the world"

- U2

It's often those who we are closest to who hurt us the most.

A few days ago, after I posted a photo of actor Jacob Batalon shedding substantial weight, I started to wonder if Marvel Studios would go there. Batalon plays Ned Leeds, and in the comics, he became the villainous Hobgoblin. Of course, Batalon could've had personal reasons for getting in shape; I certainly did after losing over 200 pounds following a near-lethal stroke. But on May 23, I scooped on the Pete's Basement YouTube channel that there were early discussions about bringing the Hobgoblin to live action. Could this be related to that?

I reached out to a reliable source who has provided accurate information in the past. I was told that there have been talks to transform Batalon into the Hobgoblin since the beginning, and the clues have actually been there in plain sight. In the comic books, Leeds wasn't Peter Parker's best friend in school. Leeds was a reporter at the Daily Bugle newspaper where Parker worked, and they both crushed on the same girl, Betty Brant. The cinematic version of Leeds is basically a substitute for Harry Osborn, Parker's BFF as a college student in the comics. Kevin Feige didn't want to repeat what has been shown before in Sony's Spider-Man movies. If he had introduced the young Osborn in the MCU, it would have easily sent the signal that he was to become the Green Goblin.

But Batalon's warm, goofy Leeds?

Nobody would see it coming.

According to this insider, Leeds will gradually change, and not just physically. The build-up to the Hobgoblin will be gradual, his destiny fulfilled once he and Parker are in college so this'll be after Spider-Man 3. Batalon and Tom Holland are going to be slightly older, and Leeds' slow transformation will reflect how friendships can change in the transition from high school to college. Why does Leeds turn into the Hobgoblin?

That part is unknown. I knew that Feige didn't want to adapt the "Death of Gwen Stacy" story line that was poorly executed in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Audiences hated it, especially since the chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone was among its few qualities. However, Stacy's death was a life-changer for Parker in the comic books; it was his true loss of innocence.

What could be comparable to that?

I asked my source if that is the point of all this. The response was: Parker is going to hurt and hurt bad. And the audience, who were won over by Leeds, will feel the pain. "With great power there must also come -- great responsibility!" is a lesson that Parker will learn repeatedly through the tragedies in his life.

Losing Leeds will be one of them.

Related: Filipino-American Jacob Batalon: Future Spider-Man Villain?


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