New Spider-Man trilogy shocker; villain reportedly hiding in plain sight all along

The MCU's new Spider-Man trilogy could feature a surprising villain that was in front of us all along.
Tom Holland is Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME.
Tom Holland is Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME. /

As the wheels of Marvel Studios' Multiverse Saga continue to turn, fans are eagerly awaiting the returns of a number of beloved heroes. Perhaps at the very top of that list is Spider-Man, who is expected to make a comeback for a new trilogy of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in the near-future.

Marvel and Sony are reportedly in the planning stages of bringing Tom Holland back to the MCU for a new trio of films that would seemingly tell a more mature, comic-accurate, story for Peter Parker. As such, the rumor mill is working overtime right now, with an abundance of reports and rumors concerning the director(s) that could step behind the camera, the characters from the previous trilogy that could return for the next one, and even the possibility of the Venom symbiote playing a role.

Speaking of Venom, while the entity is rumored to make an appearance in either Spider-Man 4 or another film in the the new trilogy, the current belief is that he won't be the primary villain. Now, a new report suggests that one of the next antagonists that Peter faces could be a friendly face.

Ned Leeds rumored to become the Hobgoblin in the next Spider-Man movies

Marvel scooper HolyField News has reported that Jacob Batalon will return to the Spider-Man film series by playing the Hobgoblin in the new trilogy. They don't go into detail about how the Spidey villain would surface but added that he would have connections to the multiverse.

If true, this would be a big deal for the Spider-Man franchise for multiple reasons. Batalon played Ned Leeds in the Spider-Man: Homecoming trilogy and the character's friendship with Peter was one of the most endearing aspects of all three movies. This report suggests that he will be one of the actors from that trilogy to reprise their roles in the new one, but the question is: Would this be the same version of Ned, or one from an alternate dimension? If the character has ties to the multiverse like the report suggests, it could be the latter.

Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon in Spider-Man: No Way Home
Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME. /

However, it's possible that the original Ned could become the Hobgoblin. For starters, that's what happens to the character in the source material, as Ned is one of the multiple people to use the mantle of the goblin in Marvel Comics. And, as HolyField News points out, this was actually teased in Spider-Man: No Way Home when Ned promised Peter that he would never "turn into a supervillain" and try to kill him. It was a humorous moment, but Ned's touching sentiment came when he found out that the best friends of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man (both of whom were versions of Harry Osborn) turned into variations of the Green Goblin in their respective franchises.

There is no doubt that Ned meant it, because their friendship is too important to him. The thing is, he doesn't know that friendship exists anymore. In the final battle of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter had to sacrifice all of the meaningful relationships in his life to save his universe from collapsing in on itself; asking Doctor Strange to perform a spell that would make everyone forget that Peter Parker exists. As a result, both Ned and MJ's memories of Peter were wiped, and even though he promised to remind them of who he was, he decided to let them carry on living their lives without him; assuming that they would be better off without him.

It would be a cruel twist of fate if Ned ended up going down a dark path due to the fact that he didn't have Peter in his life to guide him, but it would make for a compelling narrative for one of the three new movies in the planned trilogy. And it would be convincing no matter what movie it took place in, be it immediately in Spider-Man 4 or in one of the subsequent films (perhaps if Ned were to play a more long-term villainous role).

If Jacob Batalon does get the chance to bring the Hobgoblin to life, it would mark the first live-action appearance for the character, and that is exciting enough in and of itself. The fact that audiences would already have an emotional connection to the villain would make it even better, while also allowing the MCU to continue improving on its recurring problem of lackluster villains.

As neither Marvel nor Batalon have confirmed Ned's return to the Spider-Man franchise just yet, we'll have to take this rumor with a pinch of salt. But even so, it's an exciting story prospect that could form a gripping long-term story for Peter to restore his best friend's memories - something that fans are eagerly awaiting.

All 12 Spider-Man actors ranked from worst to best. dark. Next. All 12 Spider-Man actors ranked from worst to best