a bit of a villain myself

Spider-Man 3 leaks may confirm a major theory about the Avengers 5 villain

It turns out the foe doesn’t have to be Dafoe.

The MCU is back. After more than a year of delays, the Disney+ series WandaVision and Falcon and Winter Soldier have paved the way for Marvel’s comeback. But that’s just an appetizer for the main course of Marvel Phase 4.

From the feature film side of the line, Black Widow and Eternals are finally releasing after more than a year’s worth of delays with Shang-Chi right in the middle. Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are on deck next, and Disney’s recent deal with Sony concerning their shared interest in Spider-Man titles could have huge implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next steps.

In fact, one leaker reveals that Sony-Disney deal could be so important, that it paves the way for the next Marvel big bad in Avengers 5.

Spider-Man 3’s surprise supervillain

Nick Santos at That Hashtag Show reports that Marvel now shares rights with Sony for the classic Spider-Man villain Norman Osborn (aka, the Green Goblin.)

Santos states that Willem Dafoe will reprise his role as Osborn from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Dafoe’s Norman isn’t the Norman of the MCU, but from another universe — presumably the same one Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man comes from. That means we’ll also get a new version of Osborn with a surprising twist that could set up Avengers 5.

Could this Green Goblin be the first of multiple?Sony Pictures

While the report remains unconfirmed, it’s already widely believed the multiverse will be a part of Spider-Man: No Way Home. After all, multiple villains from multiple Earths is the most logical way to explain all those cool cameo rumors.

Santos’ report goes on to state that after conquering Dafoe’s Osborn, Peter will search for the MCU Earth’s version of Norman and find someone completely different — someone who doesn’t have the motivations to become a major villain, yet. This introduction to the new Norman would be the start of a long journey to establish a supervillain not only for Spider-Man but for the Avengers as a whole.

Who will play the new Osborn? Santos reports that the actor in talks for the role is “a prominent New Yorker with ties to the MCU.” Considering the amount of actors with Marvel association, this doesn’t narrow it down much. (Matthew Broderick, anyone? Hm, wrong one.)

Inverse reached out to Santos for further comment on the casting, and he clarified the actor is someone who has worked behind the scenes of the MCU.

“I believe both on-screen in the MCU and definitely behind the scenes," Santos tells Inverse.

A multi-hyphenate New Yorker? That sounds like Norman Osborn to us!

Norman Osborn as Iron Patriot, the leader of the Dark Avengers. Marvel Comics

While this version of the Green Goblin could become the Big Bad of Avengers 5, he also could serve another purpose in the MCU. Santos tells Inverse that thanks to Disney’s new deal with Sony, the studio can now legally make series with Spider-Man characters, just probably not Spider-Man himself.

"They can make series with some Sony characters,” Santos says. “Probably not Spider-Man though."

This is a prime opportunity for the MCU’s Norman Osborn to serve his other role from the original comics — the head of the Dark Avengers.

The Dark Avengers have long been rumored as the next logical step for the MCU, what with the way John Walker’s story ended in Falcon and Winter Soldier. Could Norman team up with Contessa Valentina and create the anti-hero squad fans have been clamoring for? Hopefully, this groundbreaking deal will allow for just that.

Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17, 2021.