Cast This: Green Goblin

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

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With Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and now Tom Holland, we're on our third incarnation of Spider-Man in a little over fifteen years, but there's only been one Green Goblin of the Norman Osborn variety in all that time. Sure, Dane DeHaan played Harry Osborn/Green Goblin in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, but we need NORMAN back! (Chris Cooper played Norman Osborn in the same film but had shockingly little to do before his character died.) Willem Dafoe, who played the role throughout Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN trilogy, will certainly to be a tough act to follow, but it's only a matter of time before the iconic villain rears his head once again on the big-screen.

Since his first appearance all the whole back in The Amazing Spider-Man #14, there have been several characters who have held the mantle of Green Goblin, but the original and best-known incarnation of the character is Norman Osborn, a wealthy industrialist at the head of Oscorp Industries. Thanks to an accident while tinkering with an experimental strength/intelligence enhancement formula, Osborn's physical and mental abilities were greatly intensified, but with the unfortunate side-effect of self-destructive insanity. Ain't that always the case. Taking on the identity of the Green Goblin and seeking to take control of organized crime in New York, Osborn soon began butting heads with Spider-Man and grew obsessed with discovering his secret identity. Green Goblin makes use of his high-tech Goblin Glider, which comes equipped with a wide variety of gadgets, as well as his infamous Pumpkin Bombs, which ol' Spidey has frequently found himself on the wrong end of.

Willem Dafoe spoke with GQ last month to break down his most iconic characters, which obviously includes Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, a role he's quite fond of. "Sam Raimi did a miracle thing. He made kind of a personal film out of a fairly big-sized, partly effect movie. It was early in the game of movies from comic books, that sort of thing, so there was no template," Dafoe said. "I loved in Spider-Man particularly playing the double role. Everybody thinks about the Green Goblin and that was fun, but the more interesting role was probably the father, Norman Osborn. Because you could play these scenes where it would switch from comedy to drama in a line."

As I mentioned above, Willem Dafoe will be a hard act to follow, but that's not to say that there aren't quite a few actors who could step into the role and give it their own unique spin. Who has what it takes to play Green Goblin for a new generation? I'll toss out a few suggestions to get you started. Those who have followed my tenure on Cast This likely know of my love for Michael Shannon (THE SHAPE OF WATER) as I've brought him up as a possibility for several roles over the past year, including J. Jonah Jameson, another iconic Spider-Man character. Watching Shannon give the Goblin his own special brand of manic intensity would be a treat, and he would definitely make for an imposing villain for Spider-Man to face off against. If we were looking for a more suave version of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, I'd go with Matthew McConaughey (THE BEACH BUM). The actor has previously stated that he's open to a comic-book role and has actually been offered several over the years but has turned them all down, including the role of the villain in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2. For my final suggestion, I'll go with Damian Lewis (ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD), an actor who perhaps isn't quite as big as Michael Shannon or Matthew McConaughey, but who I feel could do something amazing and sinister with the role.

Remember, you're free to suggest anyone in the comments, so let your inner casting director run wild!

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Previously on Cast This, you were asked to fill the role of Candyman, which may have already found its star as it was announced last week that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (AQUAMAN) was in talks to play the titular character in the upcoming remake from Nia DaCosta (LITTLE WOODS and Jordan Peele (US), however, a later report stated that Abdul-Mateen II would be playing "an artist who becomes obsessed with the bloody legend" of Candyman, so perhaps the part of the vengful spirit is still in play. My suggestions of Mahershala Ali (True Detective) and David Oyelowo (GRINGO) seemed acceptable to some of you, but you came through with several great picks of your own, including Djimon Hounsou (CAPTAIN MARVEL), Winston Duke (BLACK PANTHER), and Michael Ealy (The Following).

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About the Author

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.