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Would Willem Dafoe ever want to return to Spider-Man for the MCU? The multiple-time Oscar nominee gave us one of the earliest and most memorable villain performances of this current superhero movie age when he played Norman Osborn in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. His character perished in that first film, but six films and two reboots later and Spidey is just as popular as ever on the big screen in the MCU. So would Willem Dafoe ever want to return to Spider-Man? Here’s what he said:
Oh god. Norman Osborn was a really fun role to play. I don’t know about that, I don’t know what they’re doing. That was then, this is now. Who knows?
It sounds like Willem Dafoe hasn’t given the possibility of returning to the world of Spider-Man in the MCU much thought, but he doesn’t sound completely against the idea either. As he told CinemaBlend’s own Mike Reyes in an exclusive interview for his new film Motherless Brooklyn, Willem Dafoe isn’t really sure what Sony and Marvel Studios are doing with Spider-Man-- seemingly implying that he doesn’t know if there would be a place for him in that world.
The actor also admits that it was a very different time when he was in the first Spider-Man and he’s right. That film was 17 years ago, and the comic book movie genre has evolved since then and he has gone on and done tons of other things. So while he hasn’t given it much thought, he seems unsure of how that could work and if there would even be an opportunity within Marvel and Sony's plans. That said, Willem Dafoe seems open to what the future holds.
If you couldn’t tell from his iconic meme-worthy performance, Willem Dafoe also told CinemaBlend that he had a lot of fun playing Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis the Green Goblin, so it’s not like it was a role he hated. It sounds to me like Willem Dafoe might not be itching to face off with the web-slinger once more, but he’d entertain the possibility if it arose.
Though, Willem Dafoe has a lot on his plate at the moment, which makes a return to Spider-Man an even stranger prospect for the actor, who continued:
Now’s a really good time. I’m finding really interesting things to do. So… I can’t wrap my head around that question.
To say he’s had a lot of interesting roles of late and has a lot to do is an understatement. As of Friday the prolific actor will have two movies in theaters, Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn and his two-hander with Robert Pattinson, the acclaimed Robert Eggers film The Lighthouse. He’s also the star of the Disney+ film Togo and he’s got films from directors Guillermo del Toro, Wes Anderson and Dee Rees all lined up.
One imagines he’ll also be back as Vulko in Aquaman 2 so he’s already part of one huge superhero franchise at the moment. That doesn’t leave a ton of time to hop back on the glider in the MCU. But Willem Dafoe seems somewhat open to it and as we recently discovered this summer, the possibility isn’t as farfetched as it once might have seemed.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, J.K. Simmons reprised his role as J. Jonah Jameson from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. It was a different iteration of the character but it definitely broke the seal and made it clear that this type of thing is possible. To be fair though, J.K. Simmons is J. Jonah Jameson whereas someone else could probably play Norman Osborn in the MCU.
The MCU Spider-Man films seem to be trying to steer clear of villains that have been done before, which is admirable, Spidey has a great rogues gallery to explore, but the Osbornes and Green Goblin are a huge part of the Spider-Man mythos and it would be strange to never have them show up. Even if Willem Dafoe didn’t join the MCU as Norman Osborn, he could play another character entirely or just have a fun cameo of sorts.
We don’t know the direction of the next Spider-Man film yet but whether it stays in the MCU beyond that or not, Sony’s current iteration of the franchise isn’t going anywhere and that means tons of possibilities for the man who is something of a scientist himself to show up.
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