'Spider-Man 4': Wild Theory Suggests Peter Parker's Bestfriend Ned Leeds Is MCU's Venom And We Are Convinced

Spiderman: No Way Home featured a ton of cameos including Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman and Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman. While the multiverse web-slingers made a huge impact, there were other cameos that didn’t do much, like Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brooke and Venom. Both appeared for a few minutes in the film and in the post-credit scene. But right before Eddie was zapped back to his universe, a smidge of symbiote was left behind in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, leading to many possibilities for Spider-Man 4.

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One theory that is catching fans’ attention is Ned Leeds will become MCU’s Venom. While many still believe Ned could finally be introduced as Hobgoblin, others are beginning to get convinced by Venom’s theory. In the MCU, Ned Leeds is Peter Parker’s best friend since before he became Spiderman. He helped Peter keep the secret about his identity for years before MJ found out and proceeded to fight the bad guys besides him in No Way Home.

Ned’s Powers
At the end, No Way Home, Peter aka Spiderman is left alone after the spell erases him from everyone’s memories. He is starting his life once again, on his own life while MJ and Ned have moved on without remembering him. The ending opened doors for possibilities and questions, including if Ned remembered having magical powers, about opening portals like Doctor Strange. If he remembers, Ned could want to explore more and find the symbiote fascinating enough to want to bond with it. Venom is how Marvel could also plan to bring back Ned’s memories, a give and take similar to the one with Eddie Brooke.

Venom
Marvel is known to make major changes to characters for the cinematic universe, including names and their backstories. While Ned has no connection to Venom in the comics, he is the only thing that can bring the symbiote close to Spiderman. The last thing Venom saw before he was ported back to his universe was Spiderman on the TV screen. Venom shares a hive mind with countless symbiotes across the multiverse so the little piece left behind in MCU is bound to go looking for the web-slinger. The closest thing to Peter Parker would be Ned Leeds, even though he doesn’t remember Peter.

According to the comics, Ned and Peter become coworkers at the Daily Bugle also leading to another possibility. After the symbiote is rejected by Peter it ends up latching on Ned as a way to stay close to the superhero.

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Bestfriend Syndrome
Throughout No Way Home, the makers have continued to compare the lives of all three Spiderman and their relationships with family, love, and best friend. We also get one scene where Ned promises to never fight Peter or become a villain. In other universes, Parker’s best friends ended up fighting him and dying. Ned Leeds had a similar fate in the comics where he eventually dies and becomes a part of Parker’s emotional arc.

With Ned not remembering Peter at the end of No Way Home, his memories would be part of the central plot for Spider-Man 4 giving him a chance to take the center stage and become a traditional Spiderman bestfriend villain, aka Venom.

Hobgoblin
The most popular theory among fans currently is that Ned will become Hobgoblin and end up fighting Peter Parker, inspired by Marvel comics. However, in the comics, Ned wasn’t actually Hobgoblin. He once followed Hobgoblin into his lair and is captured and brainwashed into believing that he is the villain. The constant manipulation and brainwashing turned Ned mentally unstable, eventually leading everyone to believe he is the Hobgoblin. Marvel is known to change backstories for characters and Ned’s magical powers, it makes him less likely to want to trade it for tech.

Marvel is yet to confirm any details about Spider-Man 4 and Tom Holland’s return. The film is expected to come out in late 2023, or early 2024.

Cover artwork by Bhavya Poonia/Mashable India


John Colin

I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. I have spent much of the last ten years, focusing on open source, tech gadgets, data analytics and intelligence, Internet of things, cloud computing, mobile devices, and data management. I'm a senior editor at Mashable's covering data analytics, venture capital, (SaaS) applications, cloud and enterprise software out of New York.

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