MCU actor Jacob Batalon originally had an additional scene in Spider-Man: Far From Home, with his character Ned initially featured in the film's mid-credits scene. Batalon debuted as Ned Leeds in 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, serving as the best friend of Peter Parker. Upon discovering the secret that Peter is Spider-Man, Ned served as the man in the chair to Peter's wall-crawling superhero. He would also help Peter directly in the field - even going on to save Peter from Bokeem Woodbine's Shocker. Batalon later reprised the role briefly in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, before returning more prominently for the second solo Spidey outing.
The franchise itself has been on something of a roller coaster over the last few months. For a time, it appeared as though negotiations between the Disney-owned Marvel Studios and Sony had broken down. As such, Spider-Man looked set to revert into the sole custody of the latter. With Tom Holland contractually locked in for at least two more movies, Sony made plans to bring the character into their Spidey-villain universe, which previously kicked off with Venom and will continue with Morbius. Equally, the established cast were all primed to continue with just Sony. Earlier, however, it was announced that a new deal had been struck between Disney and Sony - one that would see Peter Parker/Spider-Man remain in the MCU for at least two more outings: a new solo adventure and one of the other already confirmed films.
Following Spider-Man: Far From Home's initial release, its mid-credit scene is what immediately resonated with fans. It will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best ones from within the MCU's considerable catalog of codas - and not just because it features the return of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. Fresh from a brief web-swinging date with M.J. (Zendaya), it sees Peter watching a breaking news report. Unfortunately for him, it centers on heavily-edited footage from his London-based battle with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Not only does it frame Spider-Man as the ruthless architect of the destruction, but reveals his true identity to the world. Speaking exclusively with Screen Rant ahead of the film's release on home media, Batalon revealed he had originally been a part of the scene. "I filmed reactions to it," he said. "I remember doing a bunch of screams as Ned, just like yelling and in shock noises, like gasping and crying."
The actor didn't specify how the scene differed to account for his inclusion. As such, fans will simply have to imagine and speculate whether he simply met M.J. and Peter after their outing (as seen in a Spider-Man: Far From Home deleted scene) or was himself taken on a swing through the city. Whatever the case, some will no doubt be disappointed by missing out on Ned's take on the situation. Others, meanwhile, will realize that the exclusion makes a certain kind of sense. The moment was, after all, wholly about Peter. Given that, such overt reactions might have distracted from the shocking impact of the moment.
No matter which side they found themselves regarding that - or in choosing a side between Disney and Sony - fans will be eager to see where Ned goes next. Though the character differs greatly from the comics, where he is even brainwashed into becoming the villainous Hobgoblin for a time, he has nevertheless proven a firm fan favorite. Given that, and the fact that Sony's Spider-Verse will continue to expand - with even a Madame Web movie confirmed - there will no doubt be plenty of opportunity for a whole range of brilliant Ned Leeds reactions in the future.
Spider-Man: Far From Home will be released on Blu-ray and 4k October 1.