Willem Dafoe Reveals Likely Reason for Green Goblin’s Costume Change in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

More than a month after the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, fans are still excitedly discussing the film — and it’s easy to understand why. The latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings back villains and heroes from all the live-action Spider-Man movies that came before. That includes Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, who even got a new look for the occasion.

Green Goblin gets a new look in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

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Willem Dafoe made his debut as the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man back in 2002. He played the villain opposite of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker, and his portrayal was widely praised even back then. Perhaps that’s why fans were so eager to see him take up the role again in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

And Dafoe falls into the shoes of Norman Osborn — and his evil alter-ego — easily after all these years. It’s like no time has passed, with the exception of one major change: the Green Goblin’s costume.

The Spider-Man villain got an updated suit for the 2021 film, losing the recognizable mask early on. And even his metallic suit is embellished with a purple hood, which feels more accurate to the comics.

As for why the Green Goblin got a makeover for Spider-Man: No Way Home, Dafoe has a guess. It has to do with fans’ reactions to the original costume in the early 2000s.

Willem Dafoe reveals why Green Goblin got a makeover

Green Goblin actor Willem Dafoe at the premiere of 'Spider-Man: No Way Home.' He's wearing a black suit and smiling.
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ star Willem Dafoe | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

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During a recent interview with The New York Times, Willem Dafoe speculated on why Green Goblin wore a different costume in Spider-Man: No Way Home. According to the actor, there was a decent amount of criticism surrounding the villain’s 2002 look:

“I must be honest, I am aware that there was some criticism of that mask in the original one. We heard it enough that it was probably a consideration, to change it up a little bit. I don’t think about that because I don’t think about emoting with my face. My face follows my heart. It’s just an expression of what you’re feeling.”

The powers that be at Marvel Studios certainly seem aware of audience preferences, so it’s not a bad theory. And witnessing Dafoe’s expressions throughout the film enhanced the experience significantly.

Of course, the backlash isn’t the only reason the Goblin’s new look makes sense. Spider-Man: No Way Home costume designer Sanja Milković Hays shared another insight about the upgrade.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ designer on Willem Dafoe’s costume

Willem Dafoe may be onto something with his theory about the Green Goblin’s costume change. However, designer Sanja Milković Hays also addressed the villain’s new look during a discussion with Variety. According to her, changes were made to live up to modern audiences’ expectations:

“[We] needed to respect the originals, but also bring them up to the aesthetics of what the new generation expects from us. So it is upgraded and the technology for the way it was made is very different.”

Whatever the reasoning behind the new design, fans seem satisfied with the Green Goblin’s much-anticipated return. And there’s still time to see it on the big screen.

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

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