[WARNING!!! This Article Contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for Amazing Spider-Man 2.]
It seems that even after Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gave up all of its secrets to fans hungry to know more about the future of the franchise (or its larger movie universe), it still has some surprises left to give. Those who saw the film know that in place of a mid or post-credits teaser for future stories came a scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past - a decision made even more unclear by the seemingly vast array of plot threads left after the film's climax. Now that more details surrounding the film's original post-credits scene have come out, it's obvious Sony cut back on the promises being made.
Fan skepticism was already at a significant level after the first Amazing Spider-Man did little to tell "the untold story" that its trailers and marketing promised. While the sequel featured some of that story in its opening montage, it seemed just as many implied story beats and twists were ignored the second time around. Our editors discussed the missing story surrounding Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) on a recent episode of the SR Underground Podcast, but really, any movie fan likely found it suspicious that an actor of Cooper's caliber would be called on for a single scene.
As it turns out, the explanation is a simple one: he wasn't. We first heard about the rumors surrounding Norman Osborn's fate back in March, when MoviePilot uncovered photos showing unseen areas of Oscorp's 'Special Projects' bunker. Now that the film has been released, it's easier to make sense of what it apparently reveals.
For starters, here is the original leaked image from set:
What the scene apparently shows is the mysterious Gustav Fiers (Michael Massee) deep in the bowels of Oscorp - a scene that did feature prominently in the closing moments of the film. But the #3 Vault that was never shown onscreen appears to contain a frozen human head. We would assume most viewers to know who is being preserved, but a closer look confirms it to be that of Norman Osborn:
According to all sources, the original post-credits scene followed Mr. Fiers as he strolled through Oscorp's secret level - likely the same scene which featured the writhing ball of black liquid some identified as the Venom symbiote - and approached the disembodied, frozen head. With a quiet "wake up, old friend," the scene comes to a close. Given how quickly the nurses attended to Osborn on his deathbed flew into action once he expired, and that Norman's son Harry (Dane DeHaan) found a cure for their disease (with some slight drawbacks), the scene makes sense.
If it all makes sense, then, the question becomes: why did Marc Webb or Sony choose not to include it in the theatrical version of the film? If we had to wager a guess, it is most likely that the scene was cut because it hinted too explicitly at future stories, or because it no longer applied once the plan had changed. It's possible that, like Mary Jane Watson's role in ASM2, it was cut due to an already sizable cast and variety of themes. But with Gustav Fiers famous for helping organize the super-team known as the Sinister Six, does this scene imply Norman Osborn could return with an artificial body?
The film's actual post-credits marketing already revealed five potential villains, so could Osborn be the final entry?
It's obvious that Sony has enough of a challenge on its hands building a movie universe around a single comic book character, so if Osborn's resurrection is more than one sequel away, it would make sense to remove any hint of it to focus on characters and stories that are actually in active development. Still, this scene - now that we know exactly how it would have fit into the finished film - is likely to fuel debate over the existence of a better version of Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Would a post-credits scene teasing a return of Norman Osborn or even Venom itself have improved your experience with the movie? Or would you rather the studio not hint at a character until they're ready to include them? Share your thoughts in the comments.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in theaters now.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.