‘Spider-Man’: What Are the Odds of Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus Returning?

With Spider-Man: Far From Home being yet another big hit for the web-slinger, fans naturally wonder when they’ll get the MCU’s take on the Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus. The answer is maybe never, but not necessarily for a bad reason.

As it stands, the filmmakers prefer to concentrate on villains that haven’t been seen before. That’s why we got the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming and the villain in the new movie — both of which some younger viewers may not know. 

What’s the status of the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus?

Tom Holland
Tom Holland | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Spider-Man‘s villains make a particularly colorful lot, and the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus are arguably numbers 1 and 2, which is why they were the first two villains Sony tapped in their movies in the 2000s. Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin menaced our hero in Spider-Man, while Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus was a fascinating, and not entirely a bad guy, in Spider-Man 2

It’s when the movies try to use multiple villains that they start to get in trouble. The wildly inconsistent Spider-Man 3 had the Sandman, Venom, and a new version of the Green Goblin. The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield had only the Lizard, but Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell right back into the “too many villains” trap, with Electro, the Rhino, and the Green Goblin, yet again. That movie’s disappointing performance led Sony to start over again, which is how Spider-Man ended up in the MCU. 

However, it’s because Sony has already used these characters — sometimes repeatedly — that it and Marvel Studios want to go in a different direction. Even the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, made solely by Sony, used the Kingpin, who had not previously been seen in a Spider-Man movie — although there was also a female version of Doctor Octopus.

Sony and Marvel want to give us something new 

In an age when sequels and reboots overcrowd movie theaters, and when the new Spider-Man movie is both, it’s actually refreshing to hear the filmmakers say that they prefer not to go to the same well others have gone too already. 

Jon Watts, the director of both recent Spider-Man standalone movies told Cinemablend

You always start by trying to show people something that they haven’t seen before, unless you have a really good reason, I think, to bring back someone we’ve seen before. Spider-Man has such a great rogue’s gallery that there’s a lot still I think to draw from. I mean, we also put Cyclone, Molten Man and Hydro Man in this movie, in a very roundabout way. … Technically you could say [Mexico’s villain] was like Sandman. But yeah, it’s always about trying to find something new and just trying to push the envelope there, but I dunno, I dunno who it could be next.

When talking to Cinemablend, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige didn’t completely rule out using already seen villains. But there would have to be a compelling story to bring them back.

Some people have speculated that the third Spider-Man movie with Tom Holland would feature Kraven the Hunter, who definitely fits the bill of a villain we haven’t seen before. Kraven is an obsessed big-game hunter who wants to bag what he feels is the ultimate prize: Spider-Man himself. Kraven eschews weapons, preferring to take villains down with only his bare hands, which are attached to particularly strong arms. We can feel the “Peter tingle” already.

In the comics, Spider-Man wears his black costume when fighting Kraven, which could lead to the Venom crossover that’s been talked up. Then again, the crossover would violate the unwritten rule of not using villains we’ve seen already. As is ever the case with Marvel, all will become clear eventually.