‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’: What Convinced Willem Dafoe to Return as the Green Goblin?

The Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer took the world of Marvel by storm, and fans had a lot packed into the three-minute preview to be excited about. The film has had rumors swirling around its production for over a year, and fans saw some of those seemingly confirmed when the trailer finally gave them a sneak peek at Spidey’s latest adventure. One of the things that have fans the most excited is the apparent return of some familiar faces from previous franchises. A Glance at Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock was sensational enough, but the iconic laugh of the Green Goblin as a pumpkin bomb rolled across the screen seemed to indicate that Willem Dafoe was reprising his version of the character nearly 20 years after first appearing in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.

Spider-Man and the Green Goblin

Willem Dafoe first appeared as The Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in 2002. He was the main antagonist of the film and a formative influence on Toby Maguire’s version of the web-slinger. The character did die in the climax of the film, but in line with the comics, The Green Goblin wasn’t a one-and-done character.

The Green Goblin has always been one of the premier villains in Spider-Man’s rogue gallery, and the character would continue to be a force throughout the rest of Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise, whether it was through flashbacks, as a ghost, or through the influence of his son. The legacy of Dafoe’s character and his influence on Peter Parker was a central theme throughout Raimi’s entire franchise.

Dafoe’s performance as both Norman Osborn and The Green Goblin was an iconic part of the success of those movies, and has become treasured memories to many fans. Hearing his voice as the character was just what many fans have been waiting for in the trailer.

What’s Dafoe saying?

Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe | Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images

Rumors have been going around for months that Dafoe would be reprising his role as Norman Osborn in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but the actor has been reluctant to make any comments on the subject. That never meant he wasn’t involved with the project, however. Dafoe is an old hand in Hollywood, and he knows how to do his job without spilling the beans on spoilers.

In a recent interview with The Wrap, Dafoe still dodged questions about the film. When asked if he would appear in the movie, the actor responded, “I got lots of stuff happening now. And, you know, I always feel like when a film comes out, that’s when it’s time to talk about it.”

Since the interview, however, still images have leaked from the film that appears to show Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina, and Willem Dafoe on set and in costume according to Full Circle. Maybe now that it’s been confirmed, Dafoe will start talking about it.

Heard but not seen

While fans could catch a glimpse of a pumpkin bomb in the trailer, Dafoe himself was notably absent. A lot of fans are very eager to see the villain back in action, but they may want to temper those hopes. It’s possible that Dafoe could have a very limited role in the film, or that The Green Goblin could even be played by another actor. It would seem like a bit of a troll for the trailer to tease beloved villains to only have them appear in passing or as a cameo, but last winter fans thought that stunt casting Evan Peters as Quicksilver just for a meta-joke seemed ridiculous too.

What may be more intriguing though about not catching a glimpse of Dafoe is that fans have no idea what form the character will take. The leaked photos from production seem to show him wearing his trademark hood from the comics. This could indicate that, like Electro (whose color has changed to a more comic-accurate yellow), he’ll be getting a more true-to-source material look.

Hopefully, after nearly 20 years of waiting, fans can see The Green Goblin return to screens in the flesh rather than as a hallucination or memory. The character is an iconic part of Spider-Man’s cultural identity, and for many fans, Dafoe is The Green Goblin. Unless Dafoe starts talking more though, it seems like fans may need to wait until it hits theaters in December to find out how much he’s in the film.

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