Actor Jacob Batalon rose to stardom this past summer after making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Ned Leeds in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but he’s not stopping there.
Since then, the actor has confirmed he will reprise his role in the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is due out in 2019, but hasn’t responded to other rumors. When Batalon was caught Snapchatting photos of Tom Holland (Peter Parker) in Atlanta, fans started to question whether he was going to appear in the fourth Avengers movie.
Polygon asked Batalon about whether his various snaps were a hint of what’s to come for the character in future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Batalon, a sweet and charming 21-year-old, laughed, shaking his head and clapping his hands together.
“I can’t say anything about anything,” Batalon said. “I will say — keep dreaming, keep believing and you’ll somehow, someway find out the answer you’re looking for.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming was one of Batalon’s first big roles. In 2016, a management agency tapped him while he was living in Honolulu, Hawaii and asked him to audition for an unnamed Marvel project. Batalon said he was just graduating from school when he got the audition and, at the time, was worried about a future as a struggling actor in Hawaii. Now, he jokes, he doesn’t worry as much.
“Now I’m just going with the waves of the ocean, flowing wherever it takes me,” Batalon said. “I’m definitely not questioning anything. I definitely have not been stressed since 2016, so I really can’t complain.”
Since landing Homecoming, Batalon has packed his slate with movies. He’s scheduled to appear in at least four more projects before the Homecoming sequel hits theaters. Even with the abundance of work Batalon has taken on, there are still a number of dream projects he would love to take part in. As a member of the Disney family, Batalon is closer than ever to appearing in a variety of Disney, Pixar, Marvel or Lucasfilm movies, but for Batalon, the end goal is a Star Wars movie — any Star Wars movie.
“I have been wanting to be a Sith Lord since I was 12,” Batalon said. “I’ve been waiting to do something crazy like this for so, so long. I’m really trying to get in the room [with Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy]. Navigating everything ... it’s still a process for me, but I would love to be in a main series movie. Even an anthology film! Rogue One is one of the best Star Wars movies I’ve seen from a writing perspective. I’d even be in an animated movie!
“I just want to do something with Star Wars so badly.”
It’s no question that Batalon is a Star Wars fan. He’s just as passionate about George Lucas’ world as Ned is in Spider-Man: Homecoming. When he and fellow star Tom Holland were introduced to each other, they were given the Lego Millennium Falcon set to build as a way of bonding. The two quickly became fast friends, said Batalon, and joked that it was their mission to somehow get their hands on the Falcon to take home. Batalon told Polygon that as much as he tried to get the prop department to let him take the Falcon home, where he was going to put it on a mantle piece, nothing ever came of it.
“I was so close — like a foot away from it being within my grasp — but I couldn’t get it,” Batalon said. “I remember joking, ‘I do all these things for you guys and I just want one toy!’”
A role Star Wars, because of its position within the Disney family, may no longer be a pipe dream. Another film that Batalon wants to work on, however, may be more troubling from a logistical standpoint. Venom, Sony’s stand-alone movie about the Spider-Man villain, is a project that Batalon is excited about, but he doesn’t know if any aspect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will carry over to Sony’s stand-alone films.
This has been an ongoing conversation for both Sony and Marvel Studios, with executive producers Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige giving different answers as to how the Marvel Cinematic Universe will play into movies like Venom. Feige has confirmed in prior interviews that Holland won’t join Venom, adding that Venom will never appear in one of Marvel’s Spider-Man films, either.
With that said, does Batalon have a chance? Ned is a minor character compared to Holland’s Parker, and it would be a good way to give fans the crossover they’re looking for.
“I’m a really big fan of Venom, but I don’t know what they want to do with it,” Batalon said. “Whatever happens, happens, I guess. I have no idea what’s going on. I’m definitely just as lost as everyone else right now.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming is available to download from digital retailers right now. The Blu-ray version of the movie will be available to purchase on Oct. 17.