Spider-Man: No Way Home Writers Explain Why Green Goblin Became the Main Villain

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Spider-Man No Way Home Green Goblin

Spider-Man: No Way Home continues to be the talk of the comic-book-movie community as it nears its first full month in theaters with fans unable to get enough of the film's Multiversal mayhem. Although the main nostalgia factor helped with this endeavor thanks to a returning Spider-Man villain or two, like Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin and Alfred Molina's Doc Ock, the threequel also did its part to push the web-slinger's narrative into uncharted territory in all aspects.

No Way Home came as a true celebration of Spider-Man's extensive big-screen history as it featured five movies' worth of villains from the hero's various 21st-century theatrical releases. Each of these villains found the opportunity to find some sort of redemption arc in the end, although that didn't come without plenty of expected chaos as they met and found new life within the MCU.

When all was said and done, Marvel and Sony decided to make Willem Dafoe's Norman Osborn the primary antagonist of No Way Home, giving the veteran actor the opportunity to dive fully into the Goblin persona more than he ever could before.

Now, as more details come to life about how the movie was made, the story's writers shared how Goblin took his place at the top of the villain heap.

Green Goblin Steals Spidey's Spotlight   

Green Goblin, Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home writer Chris McKenna sat down with The Wrap and revealed how he and the team decided to make Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin the threequel's main villain.

McKenna revealed that the idea to make Goblin the central antagonist was “honed during pre-production as we stripped stuff away.”

Specifically, the idea for Dafoe as the main villain tied back to "the death of (Aunt) May," which they admitted seemed "necessary" for No Way Home's story. The moment held a great deal of sacrifice for Marisa Tomei's hero, so having Green Goblin kill her made that sense of sacrifice real for Peter Parker as well:

“We really started really leaning into the idea of Goblin being our main villain, and the death of May is something that evolved as something that we thought was just, in terms of story, just necessary. It felt organic that she would willingly know, that she knew that there was great sacrifice in her code of living and Peter has to learn that there is great sacrifice, too.”

May's Death Pushed Goblin to New Heights

Although this movie had more than its fair share of cheer-worthy moments, potentially the lowest point came when Dafoe's Norman Osborn succumbed to the Green Goblin persona inside of him. As he tormented Peter over his decisions regarding his life as a superhero, fans saw the character's true evil side before he fought Peter and struck Aunt May with his glider before throwing a pumpkin bomb at her without remorse.

Dafoe's Goblin made his mark as a truly terrifying villain when he first arrived on the scene in 2002's Spider-Man where he also threatened the safety of Tobey Maguire's Aunt May by partly destroying her house and sending her to the hospital. Nearly twenty years later, he took that threat to more dangerous levels by actually killing the person that meant the most to the Peter Parker (this time in the MCU), which was especially scary with the duality of his personalities coming through more fully.

Even with five powerful villains coming into the MCU, Dafoe's Green Goblin asserted his dominance after biding his time behind Norman Osborn's true self and made his impact quickly when he came to light. From his intense fight with Tom Holland's Peter Parker to the general chaos he caused in the second and third acts, it was clear that Osborn meant business. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters worldwide. 

- In This Article: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Release Date
December 17, 2021
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.