Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first solo outing for everyone’s favourite web-slinger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is going to be taking Peter Parker back to school – and unlike the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield iterations, it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be graduating immediately. Tom Holland was playing a 15 year old in Captain America: Civil War, meaning there’s going to be a lot more of the character’s hallway tribulations in Jon Watt’s reboot; and with that comes a whole host of Peter’s high school buddies.
We’ve known for a while some of the young cast’s identities – The Nice Guys‘ Angourie Rice is speculated to be playing future Daily Bugle secretary Betty Brandt, The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s Tony Revolori is bully Flash Thompson and rumours persevere that Zendaya (officially playing “Michelle”) is really this universe’s Mary Jane Watson. Now we’ve discovered that newcomer Jacob Batalon’s could be playing an even more key role than those.
Speaking with KHON2 News, the Hawaiian actor spilled the beans that he’s playing Peter’s best buddy Ned Leeds and elaborated on what his part in the film will be:
“Well, Ned Leeds; I play Peter Parker’s best friend in the film. We are both in high school; we are about fifteen. And it’s just about Peter dealing with being a superhero and going through puberty. He still has to worry about homework; he still has to worry about his crush liking him, while trying to save someone who’s probably in a burning building. He can’t tell anyone because he’s not the cool kid, so he’s just stuck with this really cool life that he can’t tell anyone about.”
You can check out Batalon with his Homecoming costars in the photo below (per EW):
Leeds was introduced back in 1964 in The Amazing Spider-Man #18 where he was a Daily Bugle reporter who beat out Peter Parker for Betty Brandt’s affections. He grew to become a mainstay side character, even if over the years his story became increasingly convoluted; he was brainwashed by the Hobgoblin and used as a stand-in to hide the villain’s true indentity, eventually killed when he ceased to be useful.
It’s impossible to say how suited Batalon is to the role because we’re yet to actually see him star in anything. That’s right, anything. His screen debut will be in a micro-budgeted horror film North Woods, which was reported as a 2016 unveiling but is so small (the budget is reported at $4,000) it will likely never get a wide release. In this new interview, he thanks his manager for getting the audition, but he must have done something right in there to land such a key part.
At this early stage it is of course unclear how much screen-time the unknown will actually get in Homecoming, but with an adolescent focus even permeating the title it’s likely he’ll be a key supporting role, perhaps even exploring the love rivalry aspect. If we’re going to see the Hobgoblin, though, it won’t be until a later film; that’s the sort of story that would require more serious set-up to work.