Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
A lot happens in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and we’re obviously left with a lot of questions. Even though the film is the third in a trilogy, that doesn’t mean it’s the last Spider-Man film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, producer Amy Pascal has already confirmed that there will be three more Spider-Man films starring Tom Holland.
Although a lot happens to Peter Parker, he’s not the only character we’re concerned with. Ned Leeds, Peter’s best friend and sidekick in the first MCU Spider-Man trilogy, takes on a new role in Spider-Man: No Way Home. He’s able to tap into the power of Doctor Strange’s Sling Ring, so is it possible that Ned could become a superhero in the MCU’s future?
Ned clearly has mystical abilities, and it runs in his family.
In Spider-Man: No Way Home, when Ned meets Doctor Strange, Ned asks how Strange first knew that he had magical abilities. Ned explains that his grandmother always tells him they have magic hands, but he has no experience actually studying mysticism.
Doctor Strange (of course) replies with sarcasm, telling Ned to go see a physician. But this is simple foreshadowing, as it turns out that Ned really does have magic hands.
When Peter traps Doctor Strange in the mirror dimension and gets ahold of the Sling Ring, he gives it to Ned for safekeeping. But when Ned wears the ring and exclaims that he wishes he could see where Peter Parker is, he accidentally opens a portal to a Peter Parker using the magic of the Sling Ring.
Later in the film, Ned is saved by his ability to call, wear, and use Doctor Strange’s enchanted cape. So, what does this mean for his future in the MCU?
In the comic books, Ned Leeds becomes a villain.
In the comic books, like many of Peter Parker’s allies throughout time and dimension, Ned becomes a villain. We’re familiar with Peter’s friend Harry Osborne becoming a version of the Green Goblin, and in Spider-Man: No Way Home, this is even referenced. It freaks Ned out so much that he promises Peter that he’ll never become a villain and try to kill him.
But now, Ned doesn’t even remember who Peter is. In the comic books, Ned Leeds becomes the Hobgoblin, and there are many theories that the MCU’s Ned could follow in his comic counterpart’s footsteps.
On the other hand, the MCU has taken many liberties with Peter and Ned’s relationship, as well as with Ned’s character in general. We’d love to see Ned embrace his mysticism to become another superhero who teams up with Spider-Man.
While there aren’t any comic counterparts for someone similar, Doctor Strange has been associated with a few people the MCU’s Ned could be drawing from. In the comic books, Strange mentors Augustyne Phyffe and Casey Kinmont. Neither of them, however, become major heroes, although they both do have innate magical abilities.
There’s also Jack Holyoak, who has clear magical abilities. Jack has little control over what he’s able to conjure, which is similar to Ned’s ability to randomly open portals, but not close them.
But if there’s one major mystical hero we have yet to meet, it’s Jericho Drumm aka Doctor Voodoo. Voodoo ultimately takes over as Sorcerer Supreme after Strange passes the title to him, and he’s one of the most powerful magical beings in all of the Marvel multiverse.
Is it possible that Ned could become Voodoo? Well, anything’s possible, but it seems unlikely. Voodoo’s Haitian backstory and culture are essential to the character; plus, making Voodoo a “friend of Spider-Man” would be a little too far from comic book canon, even for the MCU. But could Ned become a whole new hero? We’re fully on board if so.