While many hope Norman Osborn will debut in the Spider-Man movies, the MCU’s best spot for him is the Thunderbolts film.
One of the biggest questions on fans’ minds, especially with Spider-Man as popular as ever, is when Norman Osborn will debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Initially, the Osborn legacy got kept far away to differentiate Jon Watt’s cinematic vision from its predecessors, but after Spider-Man: No Way Home, it feels like a matter of time before Peter and Norman clash, espceically with Willem Dafoe’s Norman being owned by Sony. However, with reports of Marvel Studios finally pulling the trigger on a Thunderbolts movie, that may well be the perfect place for Norman to debut.
In the MCU, it felt like General Ross would be best to control the Thunderbolts the way Nick Fury did with the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. After all, Ross did marshal the team in the comics, even working in his Red Hulk. But with William Hurt passing away, Kevin Feige and Co. could honor the actor by retiring the character.
That creates a gap, and one Norman can slide in. This ties into the comics where Norman got brought in to police superhuman activity in Civil War. With Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine recruiting the likes of Yelena Belova and John Walker rather than the Dark Avengers, it may be that she’s working for Norman and the murky Thunderbolts initiative. It’d shape Norman as someone carrying Ross’ legacy, just like Glenn Talbot did in Ang Lee’s Hulk, matching Ross as a man of violence and science.
Since Ross loved the idea of tinkering with gamma and the super-soldier serum to make Abomination, the playground is there for a new Norman to play god. He can even use Samuel Sterns as the Leader to help create the strongest military force for America. It’d turn Oscorp from a private contractor to an endorsed government entity with a lot more agency — monitoring alien immigrants, making beings like Red Hulk and forging super-soldiers who could end up being the Goblins.
But most of all, having Norman in Thunderbolts paves the way for him to look to Spider-Man to hone his vision. If he can unlock data after the Doctor Strange spell, it’s easy to envision Norman hiring Kraven the Hunter or bringing Netflix’s Bullseye into play. That would create an airtight origin story for Norman, with possible failures descending him into madness, rather than just chucking him into the fray after being absent.
Having Norman lead the team would position the Thunderbolts to drive his overall obsession as the solution to all his problems and tick off the Avengers like he did in the books. And Norman can easily have Harry working under him, ensuring his own legacy lives on to change the MCU. Thunderbolts already has a pretty stacked roster, but there should always be room for an iconic Spider-Man foe.
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