What The Connection To Doctor Strange's Artifacts Means For This Spider-Man: No Way Home Character

Warning: There are spoilers for "Spider-Man: No Way Home" throughout this article. Proceed with caution.

A ton of massive changes are on the horizon for the Marvel Cinematic Universe following "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Peter Parker has to rebuild his entire life without his loved ones after he was magically wiped from everyone's memories in order to save the multiverse. Doctor Stephen Strange will be quite busy trying to patch up the multiverse due to the residual fallout from the spell he cast for his fellow Avenger while simultaneously dealing with a familiar friend-turned-foe in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." And Danny Rojas may or may not be the new Venom because Marvel is life.

But even though some exciting developments in his life were only addressed in passing (considering the Spider-Men and Doctor Strange had more pressing things to worry about), big things could be happening for Ned Leeds, as well.

I've Got The Magic In Me

With new foes pouring in from the multiverse, Peter and Strange disagree about how to handle them. Spidey wants to help rehabilitate Green Goblin and company, but his colleague is ready to send them back to their universes knowing that they will die when they're sent back as they are. That's when they come to blows in one of the good doctor's signature "Inception"-esque fights in the Mirror Dimension. The battle ends with the former Sorcerer Supreme trapped in the Mirror Dimension, while Spider-Man escapes with Strange's Sling Ring and the mystical box holding in his botched spell. That's when the fashionable piece of jewelry frequently sported by those from Kamar-Taj ends up in the hands of Ned Leeds.

While Peter tracks down his multiversal rogues' gallery, Ned and MJ are both acting as his "guy in the chair." Meanwhile, as Ned plays around with the Sling Ring, we see that he gets a bit of a reaction from it. But when they need to find Peter after losing touch with him, Ned discovers that he can conjure a portal. That's when Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Men enter the fray. Ned continues to manifest portals throughout the final battle and even briefly receives acknowledgment from Strange himself.

With Great Power...

This is huge for Jacob Batalon's Ned. Up until now, he was just the best friend and trusty sidekick for Tom Holland's Spider-Man. It's very possible that his abilities may grow in his future MCU appearances, but Peter's magical sacrifice may complicate things. Details are fuzzy since we're unsure exactly how everyone's memories of Spider-Man are affected by the spell, but my guess is that every time someone remembers interacting with Peter after finding out that he is Spider-Man, they just remember him with his mask on instead. Regardless of how it actually plays out, Doctor Strange should still know that Ned was able to harness the power of the Sling Ring in that big fight.

If this is the case, what if Sorcerer Supreme Wong brings Ned into the Sanctum Sanctorum to study the mystical arts with a letter of recommendation from Strange? After all, Ned manages to tap into the powers of the Sling Ring (by accident) way faster than Strange did when he first started training. Or better yet, maybe Ned can "spend a semester abroad" in Nepal during his time at MIT. And when he comes home, he can continue to help his lola (Tagalog for "grandmother") clean the spiderwebs from her ceiling with his portals like a good apo (grandson).

Defense Against The Dark Arts

Alternatively, what if Magic Ned takes a different path than the one Wong and Strange followed? When Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man told Ned about how his best friend tried to kill him, Ned promised his Peter that he would never do that to him. However, Ned no longer knows Peter, and his comic book counterpart is known for becoming the third character to take the Hobgoblin mantle after being brainwashed. Since we have yet to meet the Hobgoblin in the MCU thus far, it's possible that Ned could learn the mystic arts and get corrupted like Kaecilius or Mordo, with his abilities manifesting in the form of some magical version of the classic Spider-Man villain. Or, like in the comics, Ned is brainwashed by someone and forced to use his newfound magical abilities to fight his one-time friend.

Ugh, it's painful to even think about poor, sweet, LEGO Death Star-building Ned Leeds turning on Peter Parker, even if he doesn't know who he is at the moment. So let's just put those thoughts away for now and embrace the fact that Ned could become a magic wielder in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Here's hoping that the guy in the chair gets a promotion to bonafide hero in the future!