Comic book fans love to see their favorite characters on the printed page make the jump to the big screen (assuming it's a comfortable trip), but drawing up theories about the surprises and plot/character twists in the actual movie product is half the fun. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 director Marc Webb released an image a day for production on the sequel, as a way to tap into demand and produce more pre-release buzz. On the flip side, because he dropped so many clues early on, Webb's since then needed to be extra careful when he answers reporter questions (see: the prickly subject of rumors).
Some of the biggest rumors involve the Harry Osborn character, who is going to be played in the rebooted Spider-Man movie continuity by rising star Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, The Place Beyond the Pines). Speculation is rampant about Harry's role in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 story (and beyond), even more so of late thanks to comments made by DeHaan's costar, Felicity Jones (read: her relationship with the Green Goblin in the film) - not to mention, the photo that was released by Webb, which alludes to a different possible future for Peter Parker's good friend.
Oscorp founder Norman Osborn spent the entirety of Amazing Spider-Man run time off-screen, but the film made a number of references to his existence. Moreover, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 sizzle reel featured at the 2013 Comic-Con showed the character (portrayed by Chris Cooper) on his deathbed, with a distraught Harry looking on. One immediate conclusion is that Harry decides to further investigate the gene-splicing technique - perfected by Peter during the first movie - in order to save his father's life.
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The above TASM2 image - Tweeted by DeHaan with the caption "Breakin' it down #Osborn style... Yo." - appears to reveal Peter (Andrew Garfield) and Harry at one of the Oscorp Tower offices. Presumably, if the duo are hanging out at the Osborn clan's main research/development facility, then it ought to be for reasons that involve doing their own scientific research (unless Harry just really wanted to show Pete that picture in the background).
Question is, does that mean Harry could be taking the first steps on his way to helping his father become the Green Goblin, transforming into the Goblin himself - or perhaps Harry will turn into another Spidey foe entirely, in the shape of Venom? We straight-up asked DeHaan if Harry becomes Venom in the Amazing Spider-Man sequel, during our interview at Comic-Con; the actor (obviously) avoided giving a clear answer, but the stronger bet right now is that Harry goes the Goblin route. (This writer can attest that the Comic-Con footage included a shot that seemed to show Harry, possibly stepping out of that mysterious gene chamber revealed in a photo that Webb Tweeted during filming on TASM2.)
However, even if Harry doesn't become Venom - like in the "Ultimate Spider-Man" cartoon continuity - the character may well be headed back to big screen sooner than later (after his under-whelming debut in Spider-Man 3). Sony given thought to a Venom spinoff in the past, and Webb recently hinted that the currently-untitled fourth Amazing Spider-Man movie scheduled for 2018 could focus on one of the Spider-Man universe's ancillary residents (see: Venom).
IGN was speaking with Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-screenwriters/producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci - who are onboard to also produce the third and fourth Spidey installments - when the conversation turned to Venom:
"We're fans of Venom," Orci did say, however, when we asked if that is a character that they'd like to tackle.
"Venom is an amazing character. Venom is a brilliant character," Kurtzman continued, enthusiastically. "Part of what's interesting about Venom is that Venom can do all of the things that Spider-Man can't do, in a lot of ways. And I don't know, I guess that's why I respond to him."
To refresh your memory, here are the similar comments made last year by Amazing Spider-Man franchise producer Matthew Tolmach (read: Venom getting his own movie somewhere down the line):
“The truth is he also deserves his own movie. We’ve been sitting around in a room talking about Venom stories and it’s a really full bodied complicated character, Eddie Brock and this character. Maybe people feel there wasn’t enough of a chance to unravel it, but we’re all in on him.”
Venom getting (His? Its?) own spinoff doesn't sound like a bad idea, regardless of how the anti-hero/villain winds up being incorporated into the Amazing Spider-Man continuity. We've heard about Venom movie treatments that were pitched by accomplished writers and directors in the past; not to mention, the recently-unveiled "Truth in Journalism" Venom short that's making waves provides yet another option for how to approach the character from a storytelling perspective.
Should Harry not become Green Goblin, then we're good with the character turning into Venom in a subsequent Amazing Spider-Man film, as to make the relationship between Peter and Harry more complicated and tragic. Just be sure the alien symbiote's presence doesn't result in an awkward jazz club number this round (we demand Bob Fosse-level choreography, at the least).
Let us know your own theories about Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - and whether or not you feel Venom deserves a spinoff film - in the comments section below.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in U.S. theaters on May 2nd, 2014.