It's been rumored that a lot of potential Spider-Man villains may be making their way to the Silver and Black movie being put together by Sony right now. The most surprising name on the list might be one of the wall-crawlers biggest nemeses, Norman Osborn. This surprised a lot of people because with a villain that big, fans certainly were hoping to one day see in the MCU. However, it seems we won't actually see Norman Osborn in the Spidey-verse either, at least not in Silver and Black, as the word is his character will only exist in the new film as voice over.
According to news revealed by That Hashtag Show, Norman Osborn will only be heard but not seen in Silver and Black, with Oscorp Senior VP Charles Standish being the face of the company within the movie. It sounds like the movie will introduce Norman Osborn only as a voice on the phone talking to Standish, or something similar. Why limit Norman Osborn to a voice-only role? THS surmises that this could be a way for both Sony and Marvel to use the character as it would allow Marvel to bring in a different actor to play the role while still being able to hold some sort of continuity with Sony's Spider-Man universe.
Of course, that idea only works if you assume that Sony and Marvel are really working toward making these two universes fit together, something which is far from clear. In the lead up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, we heard all sorts of conflicting things about whether or not Sony's upcoming films, like Silver and Black and Venom, were canonically part of the MCU or not. At this point, our understanding is that the two worlds have no official connection. We're told that Tom Holland's Spider-Man is Spider-Man in both of them, but it honestly feels more like Holland is just playing the same role in two separate franchises, rather than him playing a single role that crosses franchises.
Still, if the door is being left open for these two worlds to tie together, this idea of obscuring Osborn to the audience could be a movie in that direction. If we ever actually do see Spider-Man appear in the Sony movies and it's Tom Holland in the role then it's only going to confuse people if we end up with two different Norman Osborns. While the deal between Marvel and Sony that brought Peter Parker to the MCU is likely not to be something that lasts forever, based on the popularity of the character Marvel will probably want it to last as long as possible. The fact that the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel is the film that's going to launch Phase 4 of the MCU shows that the character is key to Marvel's future plans.
Of course, all these plans could still change as Silver and Black is still in fairly early development. We'll see what happens when the film finally hits screens February 8, 2019.