Peter Parker leads a secretive double-life as a web slinging crime fighter in New York, but his best friend Ned Leeds is one of the few who completely understands what Peter is going through. Marvel and Sony didn't waste much time following Captain America: Civil War before they began making themselves explicitly clear about the ways that they were going to try and make sure Spider-Man: Homecoming would be unlike any other Spider-Man film that fans had seen before. Aside from just being the first Spider-Man film to exist within the Marvel Cinematic Universe too, the film's creative team have gone out of their way to focus on the aspects of Peter Parker's (Tom Holland) life that haven't really been addressed enough in the previous standalone films.
Dedicating a notable amount of screen time to exploring Peter's home life and his day-to-day life at Midtown High, Homecoming is packed to the brim with characters from the Spider-Man characters that haven't ever been brought to the big screen before. And right at the top of that list, is Ned, Peter's best friend at Midtown High, who will be played by Jacob Batalon in the film, a relative newcomer to the industry.
Ned has been heavily featured in all of the trailers and promotional footage from Spider-Man: Homecoming released already, in case his friendship with Peter wasn't something lesser educated Spidey fans might have been expecting. Specifically, the trailers have shined a spotlight on the way their friendship evolves once Ned learns Peter is Spider-Man. While recently speaking with USA Today about Homecoming, Batalon said that reveal plays a huge role in how close the two characters become throughout the film:
“He [Ned] understands Peter’s life and he thinks he’s the one who can help him deal with being a crimefighter and deal with girls."
Tom Holland added:
"It’s nice to be able to make up excuses of why he has to get out but then share a beat with Ned and be like, ‘I’m gonna go swing through New York’ — the wink-wink scenario.”
It became clear fairly early on which era of the Spider-Man comic books that Kevin Feige and co. were most looking to emulate with Homecoming when more and more of the film's characters began being cast and announced. Ned is only one of many lesser known comic book characters set to play a large role in the film, along with Laura Harrier's Liz Allan, Angourie Rice's Betty Brant, and more.
Those obscure choices don't just exist within the high school characters in Spider-Man: Homecoming either. In fact, all of the film's lineup of villains are characters that have yet to appear in one of the live-action Spider-Man films, including Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes/Vulture, Bokeem Woodbine's Herman Schultz/Shocker, and Michael Chernus' Phineas Mason/The Tinkerer. So with all of those names all teaming up to try and take down Spider-Man, then Ned Leeds (a.k.a. someone who Peter can talk openly to about his problems) may just be the perfect person to help him weather this sudden and dangerous storm.
Source: USA Today