It may not be too long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe adds its own Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin, and Colin Farrell should be at the top of Marvel and Sony's wishlist. Moviegoers have already seen Norman on the big screen, with Willem Dafoe playing the role in the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man. Dafoe delivered a memorable turn of major Spider-Man villain (and got much more to do that Chris Cooper's barely seen version in The Amazing Spider-Man 2).
Even though the Spider-Man/Green Goblin encounters go back to The Amazing Spider-Man #14, the MCU reboot of the web-slinger has yet even to hint at the Goblin, Norman, or his company OsCorp. This is intentional: with the reboot, Marvel Studios and Sony have wanted to highlight characters and storylines that have yet to grace the big screen. That approach has so far brought Michael Keaton's Vulture to the forefront of Spider-Man: Homecoming and will soon result in Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio stepping up in Spider-Man: Far From Home. However, Marvel can't completely ignore past live-action versions of Spider-Man and his foes forever. They'd miss out on Doc Ock, The Lizard, and several other villains that could work incredibly well with Holland's youthful portrayal.
The MCU is currently without Norman Osborn, but it shouldn't - and likely won't - be for long. He is Spider-Man's most iconic villain who is grounded, complicated, and has had an incredible arc on the page: from deranged masked villain to Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. by way of long-time death. The wealthy and successful businessman can be a mentor to Peter, filling the Tony Stark void in Peter's life but with an evil twist.
There's certainly plenty of groundwork for Norman Osborn in the MCU, should upcoming films confirm prior teases. Spider-Man: Far From Home could show he was the one who bought the former Avengers Tower in Homecoming to make it OsCorp Tower or confirm he was The Benefactor mentioned in Ant-Man and the Wasp. As it currently shakes, his real introduction may have to wait until the third MCU Spider-Man movie, but even so, it could only be a matter of time before Marvel begins thinking about who they should cast - if they haven't already.
What The MCU Needs From Their Norman Osborn
Thanks to a great history and possible ties to Peter, the potential that Norman Osborn has in the MCU is massive. He can immediately step into the MCU as a Spider-Man villain, but then easily could become the MCU's next Thanos if Marvel and Sony play their cards right; in the comics, he became Director of SHIELD and formed the Dark Avengers.
Because of the possibilities that await with Norman, one of the most critical aspects in casting the character is convincing an actor to sign a multi-picture deal. Marvel has typically handed out six movie contracts to their leads, and for a villain like Norman Osborn, they may want to ask for a similarly significant commitment from whoever they cast. Whether that means three, six, or more appearances, Norman is not someone who will have a short-lived role when he is introduced.
But beyond a willingness to commit to years in the MCU (and all that entails), the other focus in the casting process for Norman needs to be an actor with an incredible amount of range and personality. Norman has a devilish charm to him and the actor playing the role needs to be able to pull this off while convincingly playing the smart, businessman aspect too. He is someone who commands the room and must strike a balance between sophisticated and intimidating, with an underlying wicked vibe to him too.
Considering Marvel likes to get recognizable names in their villain roles, this is a rather restrictive deal. You need someone who would sign a massive deal, hasn't joined the MCU yet, and can bring something fresh to the table. Fortunately, there is a perfect choice out there.
Colin Farrell Is The Perfect Choice For Green Goblin
Colin Farrell has everything Marvel, Sony, and fans could hope for from a big screen Norman Osborn. He is one of the most dynamic actors around repeatedly showing the ability to sink deep into characters in the past. Recent work in polarizing films like The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer highlights the more brooding side, but he also has a natural charm and style that he can incorporate into the menace and power needed to pull off the part of the Green Goblin.
Farrell is still a recognizable name at this stage of his career, and still has his modern superhero movie eligibility card to play. He previously played Bullseye in 2003's Daredevil, but this could be his shot at comic book movie redemption and to be part of a big franchise. The actor has stayed away from action blockbusters as of late after also being involved with misfires like Miami Vice and the Total Recall remake, but dipped his toe back in for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Although his Percival Graves was revealed to be Johnny Depp's Grindlewald in disguise at the end of the movie, he remains the preferred version of the role amongst fans.
If his talent and superhero availability weren't enough, Farrell also has developed a working relationship with Disney over the last few years. He was involved with Saving Mr. Banks in a role that brought him some praise and in 2019 led Tim Burton's Dumbo. The latter may not have been the box office hit that Disney would've liked it to be, but Farrell is nevertheless good in the movie, and Disney loves to keep people around when possible. Farrell could be the next one to secure a major franchise role.
If Not Farrell, Who Else Could Play Norman Osborn In The MCU?
While Colin Farrell should be a top choice for the role, there is no telling whether or not he'd be interested, nor if Marvel and Sony would look at him for the part. Marvel did, however, reportedly consider Farrell for Doctor Strange, so he may be on their radar already. In any case, it is unlikely he would be the only actor approached for the role. So, who else should the studios look at? If Marvel wants to pay up to get a giant star in the role, the likes of Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey (who was linked to the role back in 2015), and Brad Pitt could be considered - while getting Leonardo DiCaprio could be as big as it gets.
However, each of these is almost above the Marvel machine. Jon Hamm would be an obvious choice for the MCU's slick businessman who can also lose his cool now and then. Marvel could also look at routine blockbuster actors in Kyle Chandler or Jason Clarke or take a slightly different approach with charming but intense stars like Ryan Gosling, Alexander Skarsgård, or Dan Stevens. If they are up to ditch Norman's usual look, Denzel Washington, Andre Holland, or maybe even Will Smith (fresh off of Aladdin's success) could each bring a unique spin to the role.
All of these options and many others could get the job done, but Norman Osborn really should be Colin Farrell's role to lose. If Marvel and Sony are going to cast the Green Goblin soon or at any point in the future, we can only hope that he is approached to play the MCU's Norman Osborn and will be an essential character for the next decade of stories to come.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019