Spider-Man has one of Marvel's mightiest Rogues Gallery, with villains ranging from Kraven the Hunter to Doctor Octopus who are ready to put the beat down on the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. Now that Sony is letting Spider-Man (Tom Holland) carve out his niche in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you would think that Marvel Studios would want to dive into some of Spidey's most famous antagonists for a series of big-screen stories. But as I learned on the set of this summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming, there's one villain who'll stay in the sidelines for the foreseeable future, and that's The Green Goblin. Co-producer Eric Carroll explained to me:
We want to tread lightly with what's been done in the past films in terms of, like, the Osborns, and things like that. So I don't think... we're not going directly down that route any time soon.
Even casual fans of Spider-Man and his various films know that Norman Osborn, Harry Osborn and their shared alter ago, the Green Goblin, have been used time and again as foes for the on-screen Spideys played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. And that makes sense. In the big picture, the Goblin and Norman Osborn are to Spider-Man what The Joker or Lex Luthor are to Batman and Superman, respectively. If you are doing a Spider-Man movie, you eventually are going to want to pit your version of the web-slinger against a deranged Green Goblin.
Only, Marvel and Sony think it's the right decision to wait. Spider-Man: Homecoming executive producer Amy Pascal, who was integral into setting Spider-Man up at Sony (and brokering the current deal between Marvel Studios and Sony), also spoke with us on the Homecoming set and explained why the decision was made to leave the Green Goblin on the shelf for now, saying:
Well, here's the thing: we've recycled a lot. I think there are certain characters [who] I don't think there's anything more to say about them right this minute. ... I think we have to try to be really fresh with it. I mean, I don't know how many more times we can do -- at least for now -- I don't know how many more times we can do the Green Goblin. I've certainly tried to do it fifty [times].
You have to love that honesty. It's true, there are elements of the Peter Parker story that have been covered, extensively, in the previous Spider-Man movies. It's part of the reason why, as we reported, Peter's Uncle Ben will be referenced, but we don't have to see him die on screen again. And I suppose it explains why Michael Keaton is playing The Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and not Norman Osborn.
I do hope that future Spider-Man movies find a way to use the Green Goblin, eventually. Part of the reason why he's Spider-Man's chief nemesis is because of the close connection the characters have, and Marvel should get a chance to explore that dynamic. But it's not happening any time soon. Spider-Man: Homecoming opens in theaters on July 7. For more information on Upcoming Marvel Movies, click those words.