Spider-Man: No Way Home is only a couple of weeks away from fundamentally changing the MCU on various levels, with Tom Holland's web-slinger front and center. Having the opportunity to team up with classic Spidey villains like Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin and Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus, the young hero is clearly in for his biggest solo adventure to date as Phase 4 continues.
With No Way Home's release date coming over the horizon, the cast and crew from the Marvel/Sony team-up movie are fully into the promotional tour and teasing what fans can expect to see. While Peter Parker's identity crisis will help fans ease into this new story after Spider-Man: Far From Home, the Multiverse bringing in a handful of past villains will undoubtedly steal the show.
Although all of these villains will have the chance for an exciting new arc in the MCU, Dafoe's Norman Osborn is rumored to lead the efforts in trying to take out any Spider-Man in his line of vision. However, according to Dafoe himself, there is much more to his inner workings than just being a powerful antagonist.
Willem Dafoe on the MCU's Green Goblin
In a video appearance at the CCXP Comic-Con in Brazil, via YouTube, Spider-Man: No Way Home stars Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina explored the dynamics of their returns from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.
Molina explained that there's an enormous depth to villains like his Otto Octavius, which is part of why he loves being a part of the Marvel universe. Speaking about how these characters turn into villains "almost reluctantly" and "almost in spite of themselves," the Dok Ock star praised the way Marvel is able to develop their own stories alongside the heroes:
"The thing about grounded villains, and this is what’s so wonderful about the villains in the Marvel universe, if you like, is that so many of them become villains almost reluctantly, almost in spite of themselves. An accident happens, or some terrible tragedy, and it transforms them. And that’s what makes them very playable, because it’s not just mustache-twirling, there’s some real depth to it. And that’s what makes them interesting. In a lesser environment, us as villains, we would just be functionaries. We would just be there to get the plot going. But here, we’ve got real storylines, they are real people."
Dafoe chimed in specifically about the Green Goblin's return, claiming that the iconic antagonist has "a case to state" in his MCU arrival. Teasing the intensity of his motivations, Dafoe joked that Norman Osborn is more than just a typical "mustache-twirling" comic book movie villain:
"Green Goblin has a case to state this time. He’s trying to make his case, a philosophy of life. It’s not just about some kind of abstract, mustache-twirling power grab."
Green Goblin Settling an MCU Score?
Willem Dafoe made a name for himself in 2002 with a terrifying rendition of Norman Osborn, one of Spider-Man's most iconic villains from the comics. Making post-death appearances in both of the Raimi sequels as well, the original live-action Spidey antagonist proved that he was far beyond being, as Dafoe called it, a "mustache-twirling" bad guy.
His quotes, combined with Molina's, indicate that Spider-Man: No Way Home will look to continue the trend of delivering characters on their side of the fight with some real depth and evolution to them. What helps tremendously in the case of both of these villains is that they had fairly complete arcs in the first two Spider-Man movies, with a chance to add new layers to their stories in their second full appearances.
Looking at Dafoe's Goblin in particular, the trailers for No Way Home have teased that he will play a prominent role against Tom Holland's MCU hero, complete with a terrifying new costume and his classic pumpkin bombs in hand. Add that story to the chances that the Goblin will once again find himself in front of Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker, and he has more than enough to make for as compelling a villain as he was nearly 20 years ago.
Spider-Man: No Way Home will debut in theaters on December 17, 2021.