Spider-Man: No Way Home brought a game-changing impact that could jeopardize Zendaya and Jacob Batalon's inclusion in Tom Holland's subsequent Spider-Man films. However, Batalon's future in the franchise seems to be laid out after No Way Home subtly foreshadowed Ned's future as a Spider-Man villain.
In Marvel Comics, Peter Parker's best friend Ned Leeds was brainwashed into becoming a villain after the real Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, manipulated him using mind control. Now that Ned and MJ's memories of Spider-Man were entirely wiped out, this could easily set up Ned as the potential Spider-Man villain in the next film.
Speaking about his upcoming role as Syfy's Reginald the Vampire with Esquire, Batalon was asked if he would ever consider playing a villain in the future. Amazingly, Batalon seemingly confirmed that a villain role is now "in the works," although he didn't really reveal if it's for Spider-Man 4. Check out his full quote below:
"You know, I'd love to. I feel like as an actor [when I was in drama school] I really gravitated more towards really dark dramatic things as opposed to comedy and things of like that nature but I found, you know. playing Ned and Reginald, it has sort of given me this light where I wasn’t seeing things so negatively and I wasn’t thinking so deeply or darkly about things... it’s a very light presence and it’s been a very positive effect on my life. So I feel like... I’m looking forward to doing a lot of other things, which you know people may not see me doing right now. But yeah, those things are in the works for sure."
Tobey Maguire's version of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man saw his best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco) turn into a villain to avenge his father, Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), while Andrew Garfield's version in The Amazing Spider-Man also witnessed his best friend with the same name (Dane DeHaan) donning the Green Goblin mantle in a desperate attempt to cure his illness. Meaning to say, it's no surprise if Batalon's Ned suffers the same destiny, considering how No Way Home explained that each version of the Spider-Mans is parallel to each other, and will inevitably go through the same fate.
There's no denying that Ned is one of the many fan-beloved characters of the MCU that even Benedict Wong wants to crossover with him for a Disney+ project. Nonetheless, we'll definitely see more of Batalon in the MCU, be it as Peter Parker's beloved best friend, Ned, or as the infamous Spider-Man villain, Hobgoblin.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is streaming on Disney+.