Spider-Man’s Jacob Batalon To Lead His Own New Series

By Nathan Kamal | 2 months ago

Jacob Batalon, ned Leeds

Jacob Batalon is unquestionably most familiar to mass audiences as Ned Leeds, the best friend of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has been playing the role of Spider-Man’s enthusiastic, mostly competent classmate and confidant since 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. By the time of this last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, he had become a much more important figure (and much less of a butt of jokes), with the character’s previously unseen talent for sorcery being a key part of the plot. Now, Batalon is taking a step away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and starring in the lead role in a new SyFy series titled Reginald the Vampire. Jacob Batalon stars in all ten episodes of the upcoming show and is also credited as a co-executive producer. 

Reginald the Vampire will star Jacob Batalon as the title character, a vampire named, um, Reginald. It is based on a cult series of books by Johnny B. Truant, a prolific writer and podcaster. The series centers on a schlubby and luckless treadmill salesman who is inadvertently turned into a creature of the night, only to find himself a pretty terrible representative of the vampire race. The series (originally titled Fat Vampire) focuses on Reginald discovering that although he may be lacking in the traditional vampire virtues of deadly speed, inhuman strength, and pretty sick goth style, he himself has unseen and rare powers. In a way, it is not all that different from his current famous role as Ned Leeds, except with more vampire stuff. That is, at least until Sony Pictures figures out a way to shoehorn Jared Leto’s Morbius into the MCU. 

jacob batolon

In interviews, Jacob Batalon has spoken extensively about his experiences in Hollywood as a person of color (Batalon was born in Hawaii to Filipino parents) and as a non-traditional presenting male actor. Here is how he put it in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:

[If] I’m being completely honest, the industry is still pretty black and white about that type of stuff. I’m not afraid to talk about it. It’s obviously been a lot like my experience and a lot like those of my friends in the industry who are not prototypically white and tall, the “leading man” type, by industry standards. 

The plot of Fat Vampire (and sure to be adapted to Reginald the Vampire) is heavily focused on themes of non-traditional beauty and the role of the outsider, which makes it pretty ideal for what Jacob Batalon has been speaking about. Hopefully taking on this role for the SyFy series does not mean he is not going to appear in any further MCU movies, as he has become a fan favorite. Marvel Studios has been changing up their typical method of operations (signing actors to multi-movie deals) as of late, with Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke reportedly only committed to one season of Moon Knight as of yet.

It is unknown where Jacob Batalon has more MCU commitments, but if he keeps showing up it’ll be welcome. Marvel fans have been particularly interested in the further storylines of Ned Leeds in the MCU. In the comics, the character eventually becomes the Hobgoblin, a longtime foe of Spider-man; this was either hinted at or lampshaded in Spider-Man: No Way Home, with Ned promising to not become a villain and try to kill Peter. We will just have to wait and see if he can keep that promise.