The itsy bitsy Spider-Man is crawling around the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the Goblin is about to flush him out. A rumor revolving around the MCU’s “Phase Four” involves the possible inclusion of Norman Osborn (aka, Green Goblin), who may already have snuck in through an unseen role in Ant-Man and The Wasp as “The Benefactor.”
But where did this rumor come from? Should we take it seriously? And, most importantly, what would Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Marvel’s Phase 4 mean for the MCU? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Fans Think Norman Osborne Could Be the Big Villain of Marvel’s Phase 4
Here’s where the rumors started: On Monday, fan blog Geeks Worldwide ran a story claiming to have obtained “a character breakdown” for the role of “The Benefactor,” previously an unseen presence in Ant-Man and The Wasp. “The Benefactor” was the employer of Walton Goggins’ character, Sonny Burch.
Geeks Worldwide further reported that the breakdown of the Benefactor is that of a “mysterious and nefarious benefactor,” and that Marvel is searching for a “preferably” Caucasian male actor aged between 40 and 60.
The site drew a line from that description to Norman Osborn, indeed a nefarious villain who is often portrayed within that age range. Although, admittedly, a lot of other Marvel villains fit that bill.
Geeks Worldwide appears to have found further evidence that supports Norman Osborn as the major villain in Phase 4. Previously, popular Marvel leaker Roger Wardell revealed in now deleted tweets that Phase 4 will center on Norman Osborn. Roger Wardell, whose true identity is unknown, has become a reliable leaker after every spoiler for Avengers: Endgame, which they tweeted out in December 2018, turned out to be accurate.
To be perfectly clear, the connecting threads between Geeks Worldwide and @RogerWardell are flimsy. While @RogerWardell has so far been correct, almost beat-for-beat, they are still an unknown entity. And it’s only Geeks Worldwide that is drawing lines to this alleged character breakdown (which doesn’t name Norman!) that the site reportedly obtained.
Why Norman Osborne as the MCU’s Phase 4 Villain Makes Sense
But why the brouhaha? With Avengers: Endgame in the books and Spider-Man: Far From Home just a few weeks away, there is a lot of feverish speculation over what the next slate of Marvel movies will be.
Studio president Kevin Feige has previously confirmed that Marvel’s future projects will be revealed after the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which ties in nicely with the annual Comic-Con International in San Diego. At Investors Day 2019, a Disney executive confirmed that Marvel will be present at the convention. It is unknown if the company will reveal its theatrical slate or focus on the upcoming Disney+ launch which, will also have new Marvel shows, like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Why Norman Osborn, though? Besides the fact he’s one of the most important Spider-Man villains of all time, he’s also one of the most feared Marvel baddies, period. His plans have ventured beyond Spidey’s territory and into the wider Marvel Universe. For a time, Norman wore the armor of the Iron Patriot and served as leader of the Dark Avengers, an alliance of reformed villains who took over the “roles” of their heroic counterparts. This could easily become a new arc for Phase 4 of the MCU, and a refreshing approach to overarching cinematic plotting that doesn’t involve yet another hunt for Infinity Stones.
For now, though, it’s just enough rumor.
Spider-Man: Far From Home, the next film from Marvel Studios, will be released in theaters on July 2.