While Tom Holland has yet to officially sign up for another solo Spidey adventure in the MCU, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige made it clear to fans that they planned to continue collaborating with Sony to develop Spider-Man 4. The fourth installment of the franchise has been in active development for nearly a year, but short of Sony execs making it clear they want Holland, Zendaya and director Jon Watts back for the project, there’s been next to no news on the project made available to fans. And if one of the original trilogy’s stars is to be believed, the actors are in the same place.
Actor Jacob Batalon, who played Peter’s best friend and man-in-the-chair, Ned Leeds, recently spoke with Collider and indicated that while he’s sure there will be a Spider-Man 4, he isn’t sure if there’s a part in it for him. Discussing the ending of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which saw his character’s entire history with Peter wiped from his memory, Batalon described the conclusion as “poignant”, adding that it “ really puts an exclamation on the continuance of Spider-Man, but maybe not with us, and I think that’s a great thing. We may not necessarily be a part of it, in the end, but it was a beautiful ride anyway.”
The film’s final scenes depict Peter moving on, creating a new, more comic-accurate suit and swinging above New York City during the holiday season, seemingly promising more adventures for the Wall-Crawler within the MCU, even without the word of Feige. But with Ned and Zendaya’s MJ no longer having their formerly strong relationship with Peter, it’s natural to wonder what role, if any, the characters might play. And given Ned’s importance to the first three films in the franchise, it would also be natural to think he’d have some sort of a heads up as to what the plans might be for his character. But according to Batalon, that’s not the case.
I feel like actors are the last people to know. I think that people assume that actors are always hiding secrets. I promise you, we don’t know anything. But again, if it’s the right place, at the right time, with the right group of people that we’ve been with, I would say, why not? But other than that, whatever happens, happens. Really, those decisions are up to the big bosses, the people who sign the checks. We’re open to the idea, but we’re not hoping for it.Jacob Batalon
As Batalon points out, Marvel Studios actors are often thought to be dissembling, if not flat out lying, about their involvement in future projects, so he’ll have to forgive those of them who aren’t quite buying what he’s selling. That said, it’s hard to imagine a long-term plan for Spidey in the MCU that doesn’t eventually loop Ned back into Peter’s life…one way or another.