After ending his first trilogy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the hero struggling to make his rent while fighting crime all across New York City, Tom Holland's Spider-Man is set to return in a new set of films where he will effectively be starting from square one again. One thing that hasn't been as clear, though, is who he may end up battling in Spider-Man 4 and beyond, though a new rumor suggests Marvel Studios may already have their villain and it is one that hits close to home for the MCU's Peter Parker.

Familiar Faces

The rumor comes from alleged insider HolyField News on X, who claimed that one of the new villains for Spider-Man in his next trilogy will be none other than the Hobgoblin. What some fans may be more surprised at, though, is who fills Hobgoblin suit as the insider claims this version of the villain will be played by none other than Ned Leeds himself, Jacob Batalon.

Batalon appeared in the first three Spider-Man MCU films as Leeds, Peter's best friend who, along with Zendaya's MJ, often aid Spider-Man in his fights against villains like Vulture and Mysterio.

However, HolyField claims that the Hobgoblin-version of Leeds will have “connections to the multiverse” suggesting that, if this report is true, then Hobgoblin could be another villain from a parallel universe. The proverbial door was opened with No Way Home, which saw multiple villains from Sony's previous Spider-Man films such as Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin and Jaime Foxx's Electro appear alongside Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire's respective Spider-Man.

It would also mark the first live-action appearance of Hobgoblin who has only appeared outside the comics in various games and animated series.

Say Hello to The Hobgoblin!

In the comics, Hobgoblin was the second major goblin villain for Spider-Man when he was first introduced in 1983 by writer Roger Stern and artist John Romita Jr. The intent, at the time, was for Hobgoblin to replace Green Goblin as the hero's archenemy, and while Green Goblin would be brought back as the wall-crawler's arch-nemesis, Hobgoblin would still become an extremely popular villain with readers.

The original, and longest-tenured, Hobgoblin was socialite billionaire and fashion designer Roderick Kingsley after stumbling upon Norman Osborn's lair from his Green Goblin days. While Kingsley uses the equipment, he establishes the new Hobgoblin identity to set himself apart from previous Green Goblins and to avoid “going mad” the way Norman Osborn, Harry Osborn, and others who took up the Green Goblin mantle did.

Ned Leeds, however, would be unmasked as the “first” Hobgoblin in 1987 after years of mystery surrounding the villain's identity. It was later revealed that Leeds, also a reporter at the Daily Bugle alongside Peter Parker, was brainwashed by Kingsley and used as a scapegoat in the event Hobgoblin needed to be unmasked.

The Hobgoblin mantle would subsequently be taken up by seven other characters in the comics, including Harry Osborn and even Norman Osborn.

In the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, petty criminal Jason Philips serves as the Hobgoblin as well as an amalgamation of the various Hobgoblins seen up to that point. He is originally hired by Norman Osborn to eliminate Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, and is given his own unique goblin equipment to get the job done. Philips would fail but remained a consistent foe for Spider-Man over the course of the series until it ended in 1998.

Spider-Man with a Disney+ logo.

Spider-Man 4 is in development.