It has long been rumored that Jacob Batalon's Ned Leeds from the Spider-Man MCU trilogy would one day turn on his former friend and become the Hobgoblin. Why? Well, the many theories are based on Ned's name, which happens to be that of one tied to Hobgoblin's convoluted stories.
Spider-Man: No Way Home even poked fun at the idea in the film when Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker is talking about how his best friend (Harry Osborn) turned on him. It's a possibility that really gets into Ned's head, as he then felt the need to go over to Tom Holland's webhead and promise him he'll never turn.
While it was certainly just a joke in the project, many fans still cling to the idea that it's a plot point the movies have been building to ever since Homecoming.
So what are the odds that Batalon's character will truly turn evil? According to the actor himself, it doesn't seem very high.
Batalon Talks Hobgoblin
In an interview on the Tonight Show, Spider-Man: No Way Home actor Jacob Batalon spoke about all the rumors about his character, Ned Leeds, turning into the infamous Spidey villain, The Hobgoblin.
In response to Jimmy Fallon mentioning all the theories from fans, the actor simply said, "interesting," before going on to apologize for a mistake he made in a 2016 interview where his words caused many fans to think his villainous turn was going to happen for a fact:
"Uh-huh. Interesting. You know, I'd just like to say, I'm really sorry, everyone. I did this really stupid thing back in 2016 and mentioned it in an interview. And then I stupidly just continued with the story as if like I knew what was going to happen. And now everyone is talking about it. And I just—I'm sorry for all the misinformation..."
The actor continued, pointing out how some fans are "disgusted by the idea" and others "like" it:"
"... a lot of people like the idea and a lot of people are disgusted by the idea. So I just feel like I—because I'm very much, I'll do whatever. You know what I mean?"
The actor then admitted that he's scared that if he says something on the Tonight Show, it'll unintentionally blow up:
"It scares me because The Tonight Show is a big deal, and if I say something on The Tonight Show... (breaths deeply).
Is Hobgoblin Coming to the MCU?
Going based on his Tonight Show interview, it doesn't seem like Batalon has anything in the works regarding Hobgoblin.
Previously the actor stated that he tends to "[gravitate] more towards really dark dramatic things," so it's not like he'd be uninteresting in playing the role.
Hobgoblin, however, is a confusing villain. The key connection between the characters in the comics is solely in the name: Ned Leeds. While Leeds was technically the Hobgoblin at one point, he was never truly the real one—he had been brainwashed into believing he had always been the Hobgoblin, but in truth, Ned Leeds was just a former Daily Bugle reporter.
The real Hobgoblin is Roderick Kingsley, someone who has not yet shown up in the MCU. But could he? The answer is absolutely—especially since the character has strong ties to all of the street-level stories, including direct connections to Kingpin himself.
If Tom Holland's best friend is going to be involved in a Hobgoblin storyline, he's likely to never truly put on the suit; brainwashing will almost certainly be involved in some capacity.
It's not yet known if Jacob Batalon has a role to play in Spider-Man 4 or when that movie might release in the first place. Hopefully, he'll be returning sooner rather than later.