Tom Holland’s Spider-Man debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War as he was recruited by Tony Stark. Following that was his first solo film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he faced The Vulture, portrayed by Michael Keaton. The sequel to Spider-Man’s solo adventure was Spider-Man: Far From Home where he took on Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio. In these two films, his whole section of the MCU was set up. Important characters that were established include Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May, Zendaya’s MJ, Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson and MCU Spidey’s best friend Ned Leeds (portrayed by Jacob Batalon).
Ned Leeds has been an important character in Peter Parker’s development. He was the first to know Spider-Man’s identity and he has even served as the “Man In the Chair”. Ned helped Spider-Man to take on The Vulture and his crew from behind the scenes. Even saving Peter from being crushed by a bus in his fight with The Shocker with a web shooter nonetheless. The fight can be seen here. In Far From Home, he was not as involved in Peter’s battle with Mysterio as he was occupied with a relationship with Betty Brant. It is very easy to see how the MCU has given Ned a similar relationship to Peter that Harry Osborn had in previous non-MCU Spider-Man films.
In the comics, Ned Leeds was introduced as a reporter affiliated with The Daily Bugle. Ned worked on a lead that involved The Hobgoblin during a time in which Spider-Man was fighting him. The Hobgoblin’s real name being Richard Kingsley. Ned ended up being brainwashed by the Hobgoblin to work for him committing various crimes against The Kingpin. His actions led to the failure of his marriage with Betty Brant and Ned believed himself to be The Hobgoblin before he was eventually murdered. There was even a comic storyline, as mentioned in CBR’s article Spider-Man: Ned Could Be the Next MCU Villain located here, in which Ned Leeds was a follower of Baron Mordo before his eventual death. These indications offer several MCU connections that could come to fruition.
It has been speculated since Jacob Batalon’s introduction of Ned Leeds that he would end up becoming The Hobgoblin, much like Harry Osborn becoming The Green Goblin in Sam Rami’s Spider-Man trilogy. This is not as evident as Richard Kingsley’s Hobgoblin does not exist to our knowledge in the MCU. It might be possible that Doctor Strange’s involvement with Spider-Man 3 could indicate Baron Mordo’s return. Mordo is at large in the MCU after the events of Doctor Strange. This could lead to Baron Mordo crossing paths with Ned Leeds and the potential of Ned becoming The Hobgoblin. This would lead to a confrontation with Spider-Man and perhaps the greatest villain Spider-Man has ever had to face.