The Green Goblin worked his way up to being the ultimate big bad of No Way Home, unleashing his fury on the trio of Peter Parkers as Dafoe got to fully embrace the crazy side of his iconic Spider-Man villain.
And while Zendaya didn't get much to do in terms of fighting, she got to enjoy one of the film's truly iconic moments as Andrew Garfield's hero caught her in the air as she fell off the Statue of Liberty, helping to atone for losing Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Zendaya vs. Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home
Marvel Studios concept artist Phil Saunders shared new concept art featuring a deleted moment that featured Zendaya's MJ in the final battle fighting against Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Calling this moment "one of the most fun keyframes to do" for No Way Home, Saunders described how MJ was set to drop onto the Green Goblin's back after the Goblin stabs Spider-Man, with Zendaya stabbing Norman Osborn with the antidote needle:
This was one of the most fun keyframes to do for 'Spider-Man: No Way Home.' In an earlier version of the script, Green Goblin ends up stabbing Spidey, just before MJ drops on his back and manages to plunge the antidote needle into his neck. It was great working out the dynamics of this composition to capture the drama of the moment.
The Goblin is seen holding Spidey up by the throat after stabbing him, with Zendaya's MJ latched onto the Goblin with her legs as she looks to cure him with the antidote.
A closer look at the image shows Peter Parker's blood coming off of the weapon on the Goblin's arm, although the villain looks concerned as he gets closer to the end of his reign of terror while flying around the Statue of Liberty.
When Will Zendaya Return to the MCU?
For now, the most likely option for Zendaya's MCU comeback would be in the currently-in-development Spider-Man 4, which had solid progress made on its script and story before the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes began.
And even while some have argued that her MJ isn't necessarily needed for Tom Holland's next movie, her status as one of the biggest movie stars on the planet would seemingly make her a near-guarantee to show up next time around.
Reportedly, Sony and Marvel are doing their best to work the production schedule on Spider-Man 4 around Zendaya's schedule (along with those of Tom Holland and director Jon Watts), teasing that she's in for another significant role in the MCU.
While it's still unclear how exactly she'll fit into the mix after forgetting about her old boyfriend in No Way Home, hints have already been laid out regarding how her old life will come back to her in the future.
Spider-Man 4 is currently in the earliest stages of development and doesn't have a release date set in stone yet.