Ryan Meinerding, one of Marvel Studios’ chief concept artists and character designers, recently shared a look at some concept art he worked on for the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while Meinerding’s Peter Parker clearly resembles Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland, his friend, Ned Leeds, looks nothing like Jacob Batalon, who would go on to portray him in the film.
— Ryan Meinerding (@MeinerdingArt) August 8, 2017
In Homecoming, Ned is played by Filipino actor Jacob Batalon, indicating that this piece, which featured a leaner take on the character, was likely created prior to his casting. Despite the obvious differences, however, it’s clear that Marvel was looking for a person of color before eventually casting Batalon.
Though Ned is never actually given a last name in the script or the film, it’s accepted knowledge that he is a version of Ned Leeds, a supporting character in the Spider-Man franchise for over 20 years. Leeds made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #18 from 1964, and spent time as the supervillain Hobgoblin, before he was killed off in 1987’s Spider-Man versus Wolverine.
Marvel has gone on record to say that Ned is actually a composite of several different characters, with the unofficial belief that he was based in part on Ganke Lee, the best friend of Miles Morales, aka the Ultimate Universe’s Spider-Man.
In theaters now, director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Michael Keaton as Vulture, in addition to Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.
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