If Avengers: Endgame was Marvel’s most spectacular event to date, the Tom Holland starring untitled Spider-Man 3 just might be its most ambitious event so far. In September, we at FandomWire had first reported that the third sequel of MCU’s Spider-Man would be the first live-action adaptation of the acclaimed Spider-Verse storyline with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield set to reprise their roles as web-slingers from alternate realities. Now, it has been officially confirmed that the fan-favorite Alfred Molina (Doctor Octopus) from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 will also join the cast, along with Jamie Foxx, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and even possibly Charlie Cox from Marvel’s Daredevil.
As the untitled Spider-Man 3 movie is gearing up for the first live-action version of the Spider-Verse storyline, the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange makes it much more interesting. With the Sorcerer Supreme on board, the possibility of endless alternate realities can open many exciting doors. But then, it can also open a few truly dark ones that the fans might not expect. And sadly, one of those dark realities include Peter Parker’s best friend from the movies, Ned Leeds.
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Played by Jacob Batalon, Ned Leeds has become a fan-favorite character for his clinical comedic timing and being Peter’s most trusted ally when it comes to guarding his secret identity to his feelings for MJ. However, in the comics, Ned Leeds is also a member of Spider-Man’s notorious rogue gallery, known by the name of Hobgoblin.
Who Is Hobgoblin?
Created by John Romita Jr. and Roger Stern, Hobgoblin is a mantle that has been passed down to a number of characters over the years. Quite identical to the Green Goblin, Hobgoblin’s paraphernalia includes a Goblin Glider attached with various goblin-themed weapons. Inspired by Norman Osborn, another sociopathic billionaire named Roderick Kingsley used the Goblin formula to create the persona of Hobgoblin to terrorize Spider-Man and his allies. Subsequently, the mantle was passed on to Ned Leeds, without his knowledge.
In the comics, Ned Leeds is a reporter at the Daily Bugle who competes with Peter Parker to win the affection of Betty Brant, played by Elizabeth Banks in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Angourie Rice in the MCU. As Peter Parker bows out to protect Betty Brant from his dangerous life as a superhero, Ned Leeds finally marries Brant. But unfortunately, Leeds is used as a pawn by the real Hobgoblin to make him a scapegoat. As the new Hobgoblin, Ned Leeds uses the Goblin Glider, but lacks superhuman strength and regeneration.
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The regular brainwashing of Ned Leeds puts a strain on his personal and professional relationships, as he gradually loses his sanity over time. In a twisted turn of events, Ned is framed for the crimes he unwillingly committed as the Hobgoblin. As a result, he is killed by the Foreigner when he is no longer required by the real Hobgoblin. His death affects Peter Parker emotionally and mentally, as Leeds never got the chance to prove his innocence.
Will Jacob Batalon Become The Hobgoblin In Spider-Man 3?
Vastly different from his comic book counterpart, Jacob Batalon’s Ned Leeds is Peter Parker’s most trusted confidante and the much needed comic relief in the movies. Batalon’s amazing dynamic with Tom Holland has been one of the highlights of the Spider-Man movies.
Earlier this year, Jacob Batalon released his photos that might hint towards the appearance of Hobgoblin in Spider-Man 3. In his Instagram post, Batalon has revealed his new physique after losing a whopping 120 pounds in a very short period of time. Though losing bodyweight might be Batalon’s personal choice, it is extremely rare for actors to change their physique when they are a part of a cinematic universe as huge as the MCU.
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Though adding Hobgoblin to the upcoming Spider-Man 3 is surely an exciting option to explore Spider-Man’s rogue gallery, it will be a huge risk on Marvel Studio’s part to suddenly make a fan-favorite comedic character into a full-fledged villain. But thankfully, that’s where the Sorcerer Supreme comes in.
As Spider-Man 3 is pretty much confirmed to be the first live-action adaptation of the Spider-Verse, it won’t be a surprise to see Jacob Batalon donning the Hobgoblin costume from an alternate reality. However, if the MCU does decide to turn the main universe’s Ned Leeds into Hobgoblin, the heartbreak might just push Tom Holland’s Peter Parker over the edge.