Tom Holland’s latest incarnation of Spider-Man has proved to be a hit, and filming is expected to begin on the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel in May this year. Right now, not much is known about the plot; where the first movie was centered in New York, the sequel promises to be a globe-trotting adventure. It’s reported that filming will take place in multiple European countries, and there have been unexpected casting-calls for a European version of Gwen Stacy. There have also been reports of a mysterious femme fatale.
The latest news is that Marvel Studios is looking to cast the lead villain, a character between the age of 30-45. Curiously enough, though, Marvel hasn’t pinned down the villain’s ethnicity. The role is even open to both male and female actors. These details suggest that Marvel are willing to continue adapting Spider-Man’s characters to fit the more diverse present day. In fact, it’s even possible a key Spider-Man foe will be gender-swapped.
But who can this mysterious villain be? There’s not a lot of evidence to date, but surprisingly enough the best candidate would undoubtedly be the Green Goblin.
This Page: Has Green Goblin Really Been Done to Death?
Has Green Goblin Really Been Done To Death?
The main argument against this is that the Green Goblin has already appeared before; he was featured in both Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man films. Speaking to Screen Rant while on a set visit for Spider-Man: Homecoming, producer Amy Pascal suggested made Norman Osborn’s prior appearances made him unlikely to appear in the MCU. Marvel’s goal, she explained, was to ensure the MCU Spider-Man felt fresh and original. “I don’t know how many more times we can do the Green Goblin,” Pascal noted. “I’ve certainly tried to do it fifty.”
But has either previous cinematic interpretation really nailed the Green Goblin? Willem Dafoe played industrialist Norman Osborn in 2002’s Spider-Man, and he performed well enough; unfortunately, though, the film hasn’t dated well. Meanwhile, the design of the Green Goblin armor was pretty poor. James Franco took over as the second Green Goblin in Spider-Man 3, but that movie was packed with far too many characters and plot-threads. As a result, Franco’s Green Goblin was undercut. Dane DeHaan’s version in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has earned few accolades; Sony tried to launch a cinematic universe off the back of it, and unwittingly destroyed the film’s narrative cohesion.
Sony may well have tried to do the Green Goblin before, but that doesn’t mean they’ve done a good job of it. Norman Osborn is far too important a character in the Spider-Man mythos – and, indeed, in the Marvel Universe itself – to be written off like this.
How Can Green Goblin Work In The Homecoming Sequel?
The fundamental problem with both previous versions is that they’ve started with the idea of the Green Goblin. Instead, it’s best to start with the concept of Norman Osborn; a wealthy, shady industrialist who becomes a surrogate father-figure to the young Peter Parker. The “father-figure” role is currently filled by Tony Stark, but Marvel has confirmed Stark isn’t in the Homecoming sequel. It’s quite possible that Downey’s time as Iron Man will come to an end in either Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers 4. Peter is clearly desperate for surrogate parents, and it would be easy for an Osborn to step in. If Marvel did gender-swap the character, it wouldn’t take much to suggest a rift between Peter and Aunt May that added another degree of vulnerability to Peter.
Crucially, Marvel isn’t only aiming to cast the main villain. They’re also looking for another secondary character, an 18-24-year-old male lead – again, of any ethnicity. This has been described as a “significant role,” with “leading-man qualities.” Some fans are speculating that this mysterious secondary character is somehow tied to the villain, and that immediately raises the possibility that Marvel is looking to cast Norman’s son, Harry. In the comics, Harry became one of Peter’s closest friends – until, that is, Spider-Man “killed” his insane father.
It’s easy to imagine a scenario where the genius Peter Parker is drawn into the Osborns’ orbit. He would befriend Harry, and gain a surrogate father/mother figure in the elder Osborn. Spider-Man’s best enemies have always been those he’s closest to; his rogues’ gallery is essentially his phone-book. Homecoming brought this personal element with the tremendous reveal that Vulture was Liz’s dad, but this plot would be one step beyond that; Peter’s very mentor would actually be the shadowy villain. Meanwhile, Osborn’s inclusion could continue to set up some of the most exciting Spider-Man possibilities, including the Sinister Six. Osborn’s leadership skills are another dimension of the character that have never been explored on the big screen before; the Sinister Six would present the ideal opportunity to do so, and several members are already in play.
Page 2 of 2: Norman Osborn is Perfect for Phase 4
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