New Spider-Man: Homecoming concept art reveals what Ned Leeds looked like, in early development. Jacob Batalon ended up nabbing that role, bringing a unique brand of nerdy comedy to Peter Parker’s best bud and Spidey’s ‘guy in the chair.’ In a film that boasts Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jnr and Michael Keaton among its cast, Batalon did incredibly well to make an impact.

Despite the fact that he shares a name with the comic book character Ned Leeds (who debuted in 1964 and acted as a rival to Peter at The Daily Bugle), Batalon’s Ned bears a closer physical resemblance to Ganke Lee (who debuted in the comics in 2011 and was Miles Morales’ high school confidant). The similarities between Ganke and Homecoming’s Ned were so obvious that Brian Michael Bendis, creator of the comic book character, was moved to comment after the first Homecoming trailer arrived.

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Now Ryan Meinerding, Marvel Studios’ Head of Visual Development, has posted some concept art on Twitter that alludes to a slightly less Ganke-looking version of Ned (see below). Although the character was still of Asian descent at this stage in Spider-Man: Homecoming’s pre-production, he had a far slighter frame than Ganke:

This drawing of Ned was presumably produced before Batalon landed the role. It’s interesting to see that Marvel had the idea to make the character Asian-American at this early stage of the movie’s development, but they weren’t necessarily set on giving Ned the same body type as Ganke from the comics. It’s also worth noting that this moment – when Ned spots Peter in the Spidey suit – was staged differently in the finished film (though the playful tone remained).

However, some fans might be more interested to see the other piece of concept art here: an early sketch of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man eating a sandwich. It really is a beautiful image, which director Jon Watts clearly took onboard: in the movie itself, Peter enjoys a snack at sunset – after the ‘friendly neighborhood’ montage – while leaving a phone message for Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan.

Meinerding clearly has heaps of talent, and he’s a credit to Marvel Studios. They would struggle to put out so many movies at such a high quality without stellar work like this being done at the development stage. And here’s a fun fact for you: Meinerding also put together that gorgeous Avengers: Infinity War poster that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con 2017. Fans around the globe look forward to seeing what he shares next.

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Source: Ryan Meinerding

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