When you separate The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from all the anticipation and rumor-mongering about just how many super-powered baddies will make an appearance in the sequel, the film is actually a pretty straightforward coming of (young adult) age story. Well, under fantastical circumstances, anyway.

That fact has gotten lost in the fray of late, but with good reason. A triptych poster for Amazing Spider-Man 2 was spotted just last week, featuring Spider-Man enemies Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) – with character designs modeled after their counterparts in the modernized Ultimate Spider-Man comic book continuity – alongside a new version of the Green Goblin. But which member of the Osborn clan undergoes the transformation from human to hu-goblin in the film?

Early signs point to Harry Osborn, with rising star Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, Kill Your Darlings) sliding into the role that was previously occupied by James Franco in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movie trilogy. While the newly-unveiled official synopsis for Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t confirm this, it certainly doesn’t refute the theory either.

Read the new plot blurb for the Amazing Spider-Man sequel:

We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.

It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

Chris Cooper, who is taking over the Norman Osborn role after Willem Dafoe’s gloriously cartoonishly sinister version in Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, is not included in the updated cast list for Amazing Spider-Man 2. However, Bleeding Cool has offered its assurances that this is not because the character has been put on the chopping block, like what happened to Shailene Woodley (Divergent), who filmed scenes as Mary Jane Watson for the sequel that’ve since been cut.

As further evidence of that: it was literally a week ago when Cooper further teased Norman’s “extremely odd introduction” in Amazing Spider-Man 2, as the setup for him to play a more significant role in the proceedings in the third installment. So, on the off-chance (read: highly unlikely chance) that the Oscar-winning actor has been cut, then it’s probably news to him.

In addition, the revised cast list for Amazing Spider-Man 2 includes Embeth Davidtz and Campbell Scott, who played Pete’s biological parents Mary and Richard Parker in director Marc Webb’s first installment.

It would be appropriate for them to return through flashbacks (?), since the sequel will continue to unravel the mystery left unresolved by the conclusion of its predecessor (i.e. what happened to the Parker parents so many years ago and why Oscorp has long kept a careful eye on Pete).

Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-writer Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek Into Darkness) previously offered the following, with regard to how the sequel will tie up those dangling plot threads from the first movie:

“Well, it’s interesting because the first movie asks all these questions and what I loved about it in so many ways is that it didn’t answer them. So part of what we were drawn to and intrigued by was wanting to know the answers to a lot of those questions. So the villains emerge from the a lot of unanswered questions at the end of that movie and none of them are random at all, they are all tied together by a theme, an idea, and I think they come from our curiosity about what was going on in the life of Peter Parker and his parents.”

Andrew Garfield has likewise expressed an interest in digging deeper into the element of Peter’s psyche (i.e. his orphan mentality) that comes from his foggy past, having said – before production began on the sequel – that “I wanna keep exploring that theme of being fatherless, being motherless, searching for purpose and [Pete] finding a purpose within himself, being a self-made man” in Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The concern right now is that Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be too overloaded with villains – and preoccupied with setting up developments for later installments – to do justice by the basic Peter Parker story being told in this film.

Still, best to keep in mind that Kurtzman and his Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-writers Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner have proven adept at telling earnest human stories through the lens of genre tropes in the past, be it the over the top supernatural horror/procedural of the Sleepy Hollow TV series, the expansive sci-fi mythology of Fringe, or even the vast amount of Autobot/Decepticon backstory introduced in the original Transformers movie.

In other words: best not to dismiss this film as Spider-Man 3 all over again this early in the game, especially with the first trailer set to debut online in a matter of days.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in theaters on May 2nd, 2014.

Source: Columbia Pictures [via Bleeding Cool]