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Spider-Man Theory: Ant-Man and the Wasp Teases MCU's Norman Osborn

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Is it possible Walton Goggins's Sonny Burch is working for Spider-Man villain Norman Osborn in Ant-Man & the Wasp? The character is something of a mystery in the film, a sneak-thief who's attempting to steal Hank Pym's technology - but the movie deliberately keeps his employer's identity a secret.

Marvel seems to be purposefully avoided tying up that plot thread. That may not mean anything in the short-term, though. After all, Marvel first teased the existence of Wakanda in 2010's Iron Man 2, a full six years before viewers finally met Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios has a well-earned reputation for playing the long game, planting details that seem to be little more than cool Easter eggs and then turning them into major plot-points years later. It may even be that the studio hasn't decided who it is Burch is working for, but know this is a loose end they could tie up in a future movie with relative ease.

Related: Iron Man 2 Teased Ant-Man & the Wasp's Goliath

Or it may be that Marvel is building up to something. The latest theory is that Sonny Burch is working for a particularly important character - the MCU's yet-to-be-revealed version of Norman Osborn.

What's Going on with Norman Osborn in the MCU?

In 2014, Marvel Studios reached an unprecedented deal that would allow them to introduce a brand new Spider-Man in the MCU, played by Tom Holland. The precise terms of Marvel's deal with Sony aren't in the public domain, but it appears part of the price they paid was to allow Sony to develop their own range of Spider-villains films - the first of which, Venom, will be released in October this year. The relationship between the Sony Spider-villain films and the MCU is currently unclear. It's also unknown whether or not Sony's desire to use a character would prohibit Marvel from doing so. So all in all, there are a lot of unknowns.

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What is known, though, is that Marvel Studios initially decided to avoid using Spider-Man villains who've previously been seen on the big screen. As Spider-Man: Homecoming producer Amy Pascal told us in an interview:

"I think there are certain characters I don't think there's anything more to say about them right this minute?... I think we have to try to be really fresh with it. I mean, I don't know how many more times we can do - at least for now - I don't know how many more times we can do the Green Goblin. I've certainly tried to do it fifty."

Related: Will Appearing In Sony's Marvel Movies Keep Characters From MCU?

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Given Pascal's comment, it's hardly a surprise Norman Osborn's name wasn't mentioned in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Interestingly enough, there have been consistent rumors that Osborn's company, Oscorp, was planned to play a major part in Sony's spinoff Silver & Black. In August 2016, there were reports that Sony was looking to cast a voice actor to play the part of Norman Osborn in the film. According to these rumors, Sony wanted to avoid showing the character's face in case Marvel chose to cast a different actor for the part in their movies. Sony wanted Osborn to become a possible link between their spinoffs and the MCU. The Silver & Black script is currently being rewritten, so it's unknown whether this possible connection will be retained. Still, if this report is true, it suggests Sony believed Marvel would use Norman Osborn sooner or later.

The Norman Osborn Theories

Norman Osborn is an iconic Spider-Man villain, and as a result, some viewers are watching carefully to see if they can spot any hint the character already exists in the MCU. The most notable theory to date is tied to the plot of Spider-Man: Homecoming, where Tony Stark sold off Avengers Tower. The film was silent about just who was buying the building, but fans have theorized that Avengers Tower was actually purchased by Osborn's company Oscorp, and will become the MCU's version of Oscorp Tower.

Read More: Could The MCU's Harry Osborn Be In Spider-Man: Homecoming?

There's currently no evidence one way or the other on this theory, just like the question of Sonny Burch's employer, so it's possible Marvel Studios hasn't yet decided who the buyer really is, and that this is simply a loose plot-thread left to be tied up in a future film if the studio should choose to do so. But if this theory is indeed correct, then it suggests Marvel is carefully laying the foundations to use Norman Osborn as a major villain in Phase 4. It also suggests viewers should be looking for other unexplained plot threads that could tie to Norman Osborn.

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Key Release Dates
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Untitled Avengers Movie (2019) release date: May 03, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
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