Marvel's Spider-Man 3 is becoming more and more of an event film with each passing day. Jamie Foxx's Electro and Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus are both returning, and now word is coming in that Andrew Garfield and Kirsten Dunst are both coming back, too. It now seems like a real possibility that we hear Tobey Maguire and Emma Stone are also back in. However, in the long list of possible big returning characters, we could see in Spider-Man 3, there's been one we haven't really heard mentioned at all: Willem Dafoe's Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. But if Spider-Man 3 is bringing back a full Spider-Verse of franchise characters, Dafoe's Green Goblin is a must.
Willem Dafoe was Sam Raimi's choice for the Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Sony's original Spider-Man film (2002). Dafoe certainly made an impression on fans, with his wildly maniacal version of Osborn, and his Green Goblin persona. It was an especially big deal that Dafoe (an Oscar-level character actor and leading man) taking on a comic book movie role. It was arguably Dafoe's leap into the genre that inspired another unlikely choice (Alfred Molina) to do the same. Between actors like Dafoe and Molina doing Spider-Man movies alongside the likes of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the X-Men movies of that time, comic book movies got a shot of prestige few expected of the genre. A version of Spider-Man 3 that celebrates the franchise's history - without including Willem Dafoe - would feel incomplete.
More importantly: Willem Dafoe hamming it up as Green Goblin remains, to this day, one of the most enduring and wonderful parts of Raimi's original Spider-Man movie. It took all kinds of charisma to make that silly Goblin armor costume (and the regrettable helmet) look convincingly menacing onscreen. Whatever big storyline or sequence brings all these different Spider-Man movie characters together, Dafoe's Green Goblin is a presence that definitely needs to be out in front of the pack. Hearing Dafoe's cackle and seeing his Goblin glide into the scene would thrill Spider-Man movie fans to no end.
Right now, the rumor mill is still churning with possibilities for how far Sony and Marvel will take things with Spider-Man 3 and this live-action Spider-Verse concept. The other caveat may be just what kind of plans there may already be for Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in the future. Rumors have swirled for years that Osborn could be a new big bad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the wall between Sony and Marvel is now much more permeable. The resolution of Spider-Man 3 could be the very thing that re-introduces Norman Osborn to the franchise. It could be Dafoe again - after all, J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson was brought back in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Or, a new Norman Osborn could emerge from the Spider-Man multiverse. We know which we fans of the Raimi trilogy are leaning. What do you want to see?
Spider-Man 3 is set to arrive in theaters on December 17, 2021.