Since the day the news broke that Spider-Man was joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, via a deal between Marvel and Sony, everyone has been fascinated with how Peter Parker would interact with The Avengers. Captain America: Civil War added fuel to the excitement-fire by revealing the first pieces of Spider-Man’s relationship with the likes of Iron Man and Captain America, and now people can’t wait for Web Head to meet other MCU legends like Hulk, Dr. Strange, and, most importantly, Rocket. It seems not enough thought has been dedicated to the prospect of how other characters from the “Spider-Verse” (aside from Peter and Aunt May) could be utilized to fill recurring roles across the MCU.
Such as, a legendary nemesis that originated as a strictly Spider-Man character and has since grown into more of an overall Marvel villain in the comics. Yes, we have seen Norman Osborn in both versions of the Spider-Man movie series, but stick with me here. I am NOT suggesting we bring in the Green Goblin at any point (though I would love to see him a few Spider-Man movies in); Norman Osborn, sans Goblin, could be a very effective cinematic threat for all the Earth-bound Avengers, based on his more recent comics history.
These days, Norman Osborn has more in common with Lex Luthor than the Joker. Old school, full-on Green Goblin Norman murdered Gwen Stacy and obsessed over killing Spider-Man, much like Joker’s relationship with Batman. The version brought to life by Willem Dafoe in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) was a great adaptation of that older idea. The new version I suggest has greater aspirations and an agenda on a much larger scale. An MCU-wide threat.
We got a hint what a Green-Goblin-Free, more businessman-like Norman could look like in The Amazing Spider-Man films, though it was poorly done and never paid off. Norman Osborn wasn’t even cast in the 1st Amazing Spider-Man; he was the faceless puppeteer of the sinister Oscorp. In the MCU, such a move would be a step in the right direction, but I want to see him cast, right away! Like, “I wish he was a character already in Civil War.” Like 6 months ago “right away.” Look, Norman loomed large over Sam Raimi’s initial Spider-Man trilogy, with a talky-mirror scene in every film, and Oscorp was a huge part of The Amazing Spider-Man with Harry Osborn becoming the Goblin in the sequel, but we still need a 3rd version of Norman (we’ve had 3 Jokers and 3 Lex Luthors on thebig screen). But, to avoid overexposure of a 3rd reboot, he doesn’t even need to be a secondary villain or “boss” pulling the strings of a hired (or tricked) super-villain… at the start. I just want Marvel Studios to establish the fact that Norman Osborn clearly exists in their universe as soon as possible. Show us his new face. Because the moment we know he’s out there… the possibilities are endless.
Start small. Norman and Oscorp exist. Now… slowly extrapolate over the course of Phase 4, not limiting the character to Spider-Man solo films. Oscorp could become a more recognizable, shady company than Hammer Advanced Weapon Systems or A.I.M., but I would prefer to keep Norman Osborn completely separate from the overused Hydra. In fact, I would like to have him take over the role as primary thorn in The Avengers side. Comics Norman, like Lex Luthor, somehow manages to remain trusted enough by both the public and the government to be given the title and power of Iron Patriot as well as jurisdiction over his own team of “Dark Avengers.” Built up correctly, Norman Osborn could be the overarching threat, the “Hydra” if you will, the drives The Avengers through Phase 4 and beyond.But who should play the latest Mr. Norman Osborn? Let’s be real; NO ONE can top the aforementioned Willem Dafoe. I think his take is a better villain than any other we’ve seen since in the Marvel and DC movies. He’s not the best written villain, but something about Dafoe’s delicious performance makes him more dangerous, yet gleeful than Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger’s Joker, Tom Hiddleson’s Loki, and the rest. Unfortunately, no Studio likes to reuse actors in their reboots (as much as I’d also like to have J.K. Simmons back as J. Jonah Jameson), and Dafoe is tied up in the DC Extended Universe (as is Simmons!).
I’ve been saving this actor for my dream casting for another Spider-Man character, Eddie Brock, the 1st and most definite host to the Venom symbiote. But, with a rumored Venom film independent of Spider-Man on the way from Sony and the problems the character had in Spider-Man 3, it’s actually less likely that we will see Brock than Norman. So… I nominate… Michael C. Hall (Dexter) for your MCU Norman Osborn!
Think about it. Hall could play intimidating, likable but slimy businessman Norman, no problem! And, if need be, he can go full “Dexter’s-inner-monologue crazy” if his role is evolved to full villain. Which hopefully, it is. Because if Norman can’t pay off as Iron Patriot due to prior MCU story-lines, I’d love to see the Goblin and his own team eventually face The Avengers… or he can just act big across the MCU as Norman and just pester Spider-Man as Goblin in a sequel to Homecoming… or we can forget the Green Goblin all together… I just want some God-Damn Norman Osborn in my MCU! Right away!
Thanks, Marvel Studios. You’re a peach!