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The next major Spider-Man villain might be hiding in plain sight

Published Oct 15th, 2020 11:12PM EDT
Marvel Movies
Image: Sony Pictures

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  • The next phase of Marvel movies and TV shows will introduce plenty of new superheroes and villains, some of which will replace the dead or retired Avengers and the defeated villains.
  • Spider-Man 3 will also introduce at least one brand new villain for Peter Parker to face, although there might be several bad guys trying to defeat Spider-Man now that his identity has been revealed.
  • A new report says that one Spider-Man villain has been growing right under our noses, hiding in plain sight. The character will become a villain at some point after Spider-Man 3.

An increasing number of reports seem to indicate that Disney and Sony haven’t just gotten over their silly fight about money from last summer that threatened to remove Peter Parker for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they’re actually closer than ever. If everything we’ve heard in the past few weeks pans out, Spider-Man will have a much bigger presence in the MCU than ever before. Some of Sony’s Spider-Man-related characters that the studio will use its SUMC might also appear in the MCU. Also, a beloved Avenger will become Spider-Man’s new mentor in the upcoming Spider-Man 3.

To top it all off, word on the street is that Kevin Feige wants Sony’s former Spider-Men to join the MCU in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield would further advance the multiverse concept and bring the Spider-verse to live-action Marvel movies. If that’s not enough, Miles Morales is also coming to future MCU films, and he might pair up with none other than Robert Downey Jr.’s iconic Tony Stark. But an alternate reality Stark.

So, yes, the joint Marvel-Sony Spider-Man effort might pay off handsomely for both parties by keeping the MCU and SUMC tightly connected. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. It turns out that one of the upcoming Spider-Man villains has been hiding in plain sight all this time, and he might soon come to the fore.

Discounting Thanos and Captain America’s team in Civil War, Spider-Man has only faced two villains on the big screen. That’s Vulture for Homecoming and Mysterio for Far From Home. Spider-Man 3 is supposed to be the darkest film in the trilogy so far, which could be a welcome change of pace for the franchise. This time around, the identity of Spider-Man is known, which is the type of adventure we’ve never had from Sony’s Spider-Man films before. He’ll supposedly be hunted after the post-credits scene in Far From Home that set Peter up as the villain. Kraven the Hunter is a good candidate for tracking Peter down. But Marvel has reportedly spent all these years building up a villain who will be unveiled much later, after Spider-Man 3 — Sony and Disney are indeed playing nice together if this latest report is accurate.

Mikey Sutton from Geekosity posted the following photo in a post revealing that Marvel is building up the best friend of the friendly neighborhood hero into the next villain Parker will have to face.

It’s an image Batalon posted himself on Instagram a few days ago. He acknowledged the weight loss at the time.

That’s Jacob Batalon, the actor who played Ned Leeds in the MCU so far. In the comics, Leeds becomes Hobgoblin, and his physical transformation seen above might have something to do with Marvel’s plans for the future of the Spider-Man franchise.

Sutton says he heard there have been talks to transform Ned into the Hobgoblin since the beginning, and clues have been “there in plain sight” for the audience.

The MCU version of Leeds is a substitute for Harry Osborn, Peter’s BFF from college. But Feige reportedly wanted to deliver the same heartbreak story differently than Sony already did it with young Osborn. Having any character named Osborn in the MCU would have been a clear indication that the Green Goblin’s arrival is imminent. But nobody would see Leeds coming as the villain. It’s unclear when Leeds would become an anti-hero, but it won’t happen anytime soon:

According to this insider, Leeds will gradually change, and not just physically. The build-up to the Hobgoblin will be gradual, his destiny fulfilled once he and Parker are in college so this’ll be after Spider-Man 3. Batalon and Tom Holland are going to be slightly older, and Leeds’ slow transformation will reflect how friendships can change in the transition from high school to college.

It’s also unclear what will turn Leeds into the Hobgoblin. According to a source of Sutton’s, the whole point of it is for Peter to hurt. “Parker is going to hurt and hurt bad,” Sutton writes, and we’ll suffer along as well.

After all, personal loss is a huge theme of Spider-Man. Having to deal with pain is what makes Peter Parker become a hero. The audience may not have experienced the death of Parker’s parents in the MCU, something that was done before. But we certainly did witness Parker lose his mentor. As Peter becomes an adult, he’ll continue to experience losses and personal sacrifices, especially now that everybody knows who he is. Leeds will be one of them, apparently. We’ll have to wait and see how it all unfolds.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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