Homecoming’s first trailer is finally here, and it looks as if we finally have the perfect actor to portray the iconic wall-crawler. While many people found Tobey Maguire’s #SpiderMan too much of a crybaby and Garfield’s Peter Parker too much of a hipster, everyone seems to love the new kid, Tom Holland. He proved his worth in Civil War, winning the hearts of the audience and stealing the show, and I’m sure that he’ll keep up the good work; Homecoming is going to be the best Spider-Man flick in years. Get hyped, people!
However a hero is nothing without a good villain or a good sidekick, and it seems Holland’s Spider-Man has both. Batman himself, Michael Keaton, has been cast as the Vulture. He has big shoes to fill, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to make a great antagonist. We also have Jacob Batalon, a relatively new actor, as Ned Leeds.
Wait, what happened to Harry Osborn? And who is this new guy, Ned Leech? Don’t worry, dear casual moviegoer, I’m here to enlighten you. Do you want to know everything about this newcomer? Or even better, do you want to cover years of comics in about five minutes? Well, after this post, I can guarantee you’ll certainly become an expert on Spider Man’s new best buddy, Ned Leeds.
Leeds Is NOT A Friend Of Miles Morales
Jacob Batalon’s appearance tricked even the most experienced comic book readers, since he kind of looks like Ganke Lee, Miles Morales’s best friend and the first person that he confides in. However, Ned has nothing to do with Ultimate Spider-Man; he’s actually a friend of Peter’s.
His Appearance In The Movie Is Vastly Different From The comics
In the comics, Ned is a blonde, tall, and very muscular reporter at the Daily Bugle. He first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #18, returning in NY City after a long journey. He met Peter Parker at the Bugle — he has nothing to do with Peter’s life as a student. So, it appears that Homecoming’s creative team chose to go with a way different Leeds. However, the one thing they kept from the source material is the fact that Ned has been around since Spider-Man’s early crime fighting days. He’s been there for Peter since the early ‘60s.
Meet Ned’s Wife: Betty Brant
Although you might not know who Ned is, you probably have heard of his wife, Betty Brant. Betty was Peter Parker’s first love, way before Gwen or MJ. She’s a very important character in the Spider-Man mythos, having appeared in nearly 900 issues and in Raimi’s trilogy as a secondary character, played by Elizabeth Banks. Although she was attracted to Peter, she chose to go with Ned, her first crush, since Parker kept many secrets from her (due to his double life as Spider-Man).
Betty finally married Ned, and the marriage was no picnic. Ned was often posted overseas and didn’t spend much time in NY. Once again, Betty started a short-lived affair with Peter, but she quickly returned to her husband and stayed with him until his murder by Jason Macendale, who killed Ned in order to succeed him as the Hobgoblin.
So, Wait, Ned Was The Hobgoblin?
Contrary to general belief, Ned was not the Hobgoblin. However, he did serve as a lackey for the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, after being brainwashed by the villain.
It all started when Ned decided to follow the Green Goblin impersonator after his battle with Spider-Man, led by the desire to unmask him and reveal his identity to the public. However, Kingsley realized that he had a shadow on his tail and managed to capture the curious reporter and brainwash him. He went on to use him as a scapegoat, having Leeds impersonate him, in order to slip under the radar and keep his own identity safe.
Ned truly believed he was the Hobgoblin and served as Kingsley’s double. He became a shadow of his former self, turning into a violent man and an abusive husband. He drove his wife away, with Betty forming a relationship with Flash Thompson, and he destroyed his career.
Involvement With The Mafia
Kingsley wanted to have a finger in every pie, and decided to involve himself with the mafia, too. He had Ned turn the Kingpin’s son, Richard, against his father, hoping for the destruction of Wilson Fisk’s criminal organization. However, the plan didn’t work out, and when the gang war got too intense, Kingsley decided to flee and have Ned die in his place.
Ned’s Tragic Death
Kingsley came to the conclusion that he didn’t need Ned anymore, so he leaked some valuable information about Ned’s double life to the mafia. During a visit to Berlin with Peter, Ned was targeted and murdered by the assassin known as the Foreigner at the request of Jason Macendale, the first Jack O’ Lantern. Although the reporter proved to be a skilled fighter, he was a far cry from the real Hobgoblin (who actually had superpowers) and was easily defeated by the Foreigner’s mercenaries. After Ned’s death, Macendale assumed the role of the Hobgoblin, and Kingsley got off the hook and managed to retire for some time.
For many years after Ned’s death, people thought that he was the Hobgoblin, something that drove Betty Brant literally insane. She just couldn’t believe that her beloved husband was actually a cruel monster — a relentless murderer. Ned’s passing affected Pete, too, who couldn’t really accept the fact that one of his closest associates and one of his greatest rivals were one and the same. However, in the end, Spidey and Betty got Kingsley to admit that he brainwashed her husband into becoming his puppet and that he was, in fact, the true Hobgoblin. Since then, Betty has moved on with her life, getting her old job at the Daily Bugle back, while also retaining a healthy friendly relationship with Peter Parker.
Although Ned’s and Betty’s role is smaller than Harry Osborn’s or Gwen Stacy’s, no one can deny that both of them played an important part in Spider-Man’s life. The movie’s depiction of Ned is going to be a massive departure from the comics, but I’m pretty sure that Batalon will do just fine, giving us a fresh take on the character.
Check out some other cool Easter Eggs that were hiding in the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer:
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Spider-Man: Homecoming has a July 7, 2017 release, directed by Jon Watts starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Michael Keaton, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, with Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.
What other details do you think were changed for Spider-Man: Homecoming?