Some fans may want Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to reunite with Ned and MJ, but it’s better – and more logical – that he moves forward to new friends.
Spider-Man: No Way Home had a drastic impact on Peter Parker and his friends, not to mention the general society of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In literally erasing his own history and the knowledge of his existence, Peter Parker lost his two best friends. Fans are now desperate to see Peter reunited with Ned and MJ, but this might not be in the MCU hero’s best interest.
The lack of Ned and MJ allows new movies to go beyond the status quo and supporting cast of the previous Marvel Studios Spider-Man movies. This means that Spider-Man supporting cast members and love interests who haven’t been brought to the big screen yet can finally make their MCU debut. That’s not even taking into account other logical directions, all of which curtail MJ and Ned from returning to Peter’s side.
Spider-Man Has More Supporting Cast Members Than MJ and Ned
MJ and Ned are only two members of Spider-Man’s sprawling supporting cast from the comics. On top of that, they were heavily changed from the characters that they were based on, having nothing in common with any other incarnation of Mary Jane or Ned Leeds. This was partially done to differentiate the MCU movies from the previous two film continuities, especially with characters like MJ, Betty Brant and Flash Thompson, who had already had notable adaptations beforehand. The new Spider-Man flicks can take a similar approach while actually being accurate to the source material.
Black Cat, Gloria Grant, Carlie Cooper, Randy Robertson and Jean DeWolff are all characters who’ve yet to show up in any movie starring the Webslinger, and it’s high time that many of them get their due. These characters would all offer new narrative potential beyond Ned, MJ and even the still-yet-to-be-introduced MCU version of Harry Osborn. In the case of Grant, Robertson and DeWolff (if the latter is based on her depiction from the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon), they’d also present the same diversity of Ned and MJ without needing to change a character’s race when adapting them. These are characters who haven’t grown up with Peter and would present new opportunities in his life. Thus, he wouldn’t be trying to rebuild something that was lost forever as he would if he reconnected with his old friends.
Ned and MJ Logically Shouldn’t Be Anywhere Near Peter in Spider-Man 4
At the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, MJ and Ned — who no longer remember Peter and their time with him — receive acceptance letters to MIT. Given that this prestigious school is located in Massachusetts, there’s absolutely no reason for them to be anywhere near Peter Parker for the time being. The drive from MA to NY is about 3.5 to 4 hours, and even if he swung via webs between the states on the regular, it’d be completely contrived that Peter would run into MJ or Ned, given their new destination. It would also make trying to reunite with them even more awkward, as they’d wonder why someone supposedly from New York knows that they’re now in Cambridge.
As sad as it may have been, it’s best for future MCU movies featuring Spider-Man to trudge past the heartbreak of Peter losing his friends and his entire previous life. To even try to do otherwise would simply make it even more tragic, rubbing salt in a wound that can only be healed by leaving it be. Not only will this pave the way for Peter to meet new people, but it will also keep the next set of films from repeating too much of the past or trying in vain to relive previous story beats. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker may never reconnect with the people that he loves, but he can still push forward as a hero and as a man.