Is Spider-Man: Far From Home about to introduce Thanos’s successor as Marvel’s top villain?
That’s the question on plenty of fans’ lips following new rumours about Tom Holland’s upcoming superhero sequel, which apparently could be reintroducing the webhead’s greatest foe ahead of a larger role in the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.
That foe? Well, according to the rumour, we could be seeing the return of Norman Osborn, aka The Green Goblin, the billionaire industrialist-turned crazed supervillain previously played by Willem Dafoe in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movie trilogy.
In the comics, Osborn first turned up in 1964 as the father of Peter Parker’s friend Harry, presented as an unscrupulous businessman who could cause trouble in the future. But few could have predicted his actual fate, with Osborn driven mad by an experimental enhancement serum that increased his strength and durability well beyond human levels.
Kitting himself out with a flying glider, pumpkin-themed bombs and other deadly gadgets Osborn became the masked Green Goblin, a fact only revealed to audiences in a storyline where he also became one of the few supervillains to learn Spider-Man’s secret identity.
While obviously this wouldn’t be the first time Osborn turned up in pop culture (Dafoe’s performance certainly lives on in memes) it has been a while since audiences were treated to a look at Spider-Man’s nemesis, with the character largely sidelined in the two Andrew Garfield-starring movies.
And if the rumours are true, this would be the first of a few appearances for Osborn, with the character appearing over a mini-arc of a few movies to menace the MCU heroes.
While this could seem like a strangely big role for a Spider-Man villain, it actually has some precedence in the comics, with Osborn taking over the Avengers and SHIELD during a mid-noughties run that saw him forming his own team of twisted Dark Avengers.
Whether the MCU has a similar plan in mind is still just speculation at the moment – notably, the movies do tend to adapt modern storylines from the comics more than classics – but if Osborn or his company Oscorp do turn up in Spider-Man: Far From Home that’ll be a powerful bit of evidence in favour.
As for who could be playing Osborn, well, apparently the front runner is Walking Dead star David Morrissey (making his rivalry with Tom Holland a bit of a Brit-off), but in the absence of any official confirmation we’ll have to mark this one as TBC.
In the meantime, we’d advise fans to keep an eye out for any conspicuous Oscorp logos, men with well-coiffed red hair or maniacal laughs in Spider-Man: Far From Home. They must just be what the MCU is looking for in a world without Thanos.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is released in UK cinemas on 2nd July