10 Reasons Norman Osborn Is The Most Important Addition To The Marvel Movies

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Most people were rightly excited when they heard the news that Spider-Man was coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn coming back to life was one of the most important developments for Marvel. Osborn became a true villain rather than just a thorn in Spider-Man’s side. The post-Clone Saga Osborn is arguably a far more important character to move into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s plot than Spider-Man. Here’s why.

10. Marvel Phase Four Needs A Major Bad Guy

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The major bad guy of the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was Loki. The second phase is bringing us the glorious evil of Ultron. Avengers: Infinty War will be a two-part universe spanning extravaganza which will bring the Avengers in conflict with the world destroying ability of Thanos. Assuming these movies are commercially profitable, there should be ample demand for Marvel Phase 4.

The bar for villainy has been set incredibly high by alien invasions, ancient gods, clandestine government organizations, evil sentient robots and magical universe altering stones. Where do you go from there? Who’s a villain who can believably challenge all facets of the Marvel Universe as a threat? In our minds, there’s only one answer to that question.

9. Advanced Idea Mechanics

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A.I.M. was introduced in Iron Man 3. After the death of Aldrich Killian, A.I.M.’s future is in doubt. We do know that we still haven’t seen the real Mandarin. In the comics, Norman Osborn formed an alliance between Hydra, A.I.M., and his own team of Dark Avengers. HYDRA was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and continues to terrorize Marvel in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A.I.M. needs new leadership, as well as financial backing. The company, as well as its technology and secrets, would be a perfect acquisition for Norman Osborn and Oscorp Industries.

Norman could leverage ownership of Oscorp into a partnership with HYDRA. Killian’s death also paves the way for a renewed relationship with the Mandarin. The Ten Rings already have possession of Mandarin impersonator Trevor Slattery. This union would build on many elements already present in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so seamlessly that it would appear planned from the beginning. Advanced Idea Mechanics would also be essential for Osborn to gain control of the existing Iron Patriot armor and design, but more on that in a moment.

8. Oscorp

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Norman Osborn is the founder and CEO of Oscorp Industries, which is practically an evil mirror of Stark Industries.  Tony Stark and Norman Osborn would be rivals in almost every way imaginable. The conflict between Stark Industries and Oscorp could be central to the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Oscorp is also a multinational technological conglomerate. In a broader sense, Oscorp’s worldwide ambitions would naturally come into conflict in Phase Three’s Black Panther. Norman Osborn’s age and technological innovations would also make him a target for Henry Pym and Ant-Man.

The mere existence of Oscorp unifies and drives the plot for other heroes. After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the public may be reasonably weary of Tony Stark and Stark Industries. A cunning industrialist like Osborn could easily turn the shifting political winds to his advantage. A few well placed speeches about the dangers of super-humans would foster an environment similar to The Watchmen or The Incredibles. In response to the events of Captain America: Civil War, Norman Osborn would be wise to present himself as an ally to Tony Stark. It’s easier to plot Stark’s destruction while shaking his hand.

7. The Iron Patriot

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James “Rhodey” Rhodes wore the Iron Patriot Armor in Iron Man 3. In the comics, Rhodes is actually more closely identified with the War Machine Armor that he wore in Iron Man 2. The Iron Patriot Armor‘s original wearer was Norman Osborn. The events of Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron should perfectly set-up Norman Osborn to become the new Iron Patriot. If Osborn purchases Advanced Idea Mechanics and James Rhodes returns to the War Machine persona, then Norman Osborn could step into the suit as an American hero. The events of Captain America: Civil War should actually make Captain America an outlaw in the minds of the American public. People will be practically clamoring to accept the Iron Patriot as their new symbol of American pride.

Of course, Norman Osborn won’t simply leave the Iron Patriot Armor in its original form. Norman would improve and customize it to create armor that Tony Stark is unfamiliar with. That could turn Osborn from a threat to simply Spider-Man or Iron Man into a full fledged Avengers enemy. If Osborn also unites with HYDRA, he’s more dangerous than a sky full of invading aliens or streets full of rampaging robots. Norman Osborn in the Iron Patriot Armor is also a nice nod to longtime comic readers.

6. The Cabal Versus The Illuminati

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The Cabal, or Dark Illuminati, was formed by Norman Osborn in response to the power of the Illuminati. The Illuminati was a secret group of super-humans which planned global strategy. The Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t have the rights to members such as Professor X and Reed Richards. However, a secret group consisting of Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, Iron Man and Black Panther would make a lot of sense in Marvel Phase Four. Osborn’s group consisted of Loki, Dr. Doom, Emma Frost and an enigmatic villain known as the Hood. The wild card in all of this was Namor the Sub-Mariner, a member of both groups. The rights to Dr. Doom and Emma Frost are currently over at Fox. Namor’s rights are owned by Universal Studios, although Marvel boss Kevin Feige did indicate that the use of Namor was possible.

The Cabal and the Illuminati would be a brilliant way to tie together the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. The groups would consist of one major hero and villain from each of the past and upcoming movies. The Cabal would also be a great way to reintroduce Red Skull. Additionally, the idea of having one character secretly be a member of both groups would be a great story for Phase Four. Namor is a good choice, although if he’s not available the increasingly complicated Iron Man would make sense as well.

5. H. A. M. M. E. R.

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H.A.M.M.E.R. was a government organization formed by Norman Osborn after a Skrull invasion of Earth. Guardians of the Galaxy’s use of Ronan the Accuser hints at the alien race of Kree. The Kree-Skrull War was a major plot-line in Marvel Comics. If Guardians of the Galaxy 2 introduces the Skrull, then the introduction of H.A.M.M.E.R. becomes a possibility. After the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a replacement organization to S.H.I.E.L.D. already seems possible. The creation of H.A.M.M.E.R could also be sparked by the events of Avengers: Infinity War. The pieces are already there for a number of stories to lead to the creation of H.A.M.M.E.R.

One of Norman Osborn’s main aims with H.A.M.M.E.R. was to gain the information in the Superhero Registration Act. The Act should be a major plot point in Captain America: Civil War. It puts Norman Osborn into direct conflict with Tony Stark, as well as the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D.. H.A.M.M.E.R. vs S.H.I.E.L.D. could be spun into any number of movies, as well as the ongoing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series with the Act as the ultimate MacGuffin. Norman Osborn would once again serve as an instigator to move forward the entire plot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

4. The Dark Avengers

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In the wake of the Skrull Invasion, Norman Osborn formed his own team of Avengers with government approval. These new Avengers were chosen because they had similar abilities to known heroes. The Daredevil villain Bullseye had similar abilities to Hawkeye, while Venom was turned into a passable Spider-Man. The god Ares was redressed like Thor. The Dark Avengers would also allow new characters to be introduced, such as the Sentry. Osborn himself publicly led the group as the Iron Patriot.

In Marvel Phase Four new organizations such as H.A.M.M.E.R. and the Dark Avengers would enjoy public support. The original Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. would be seen as failed organizations. The old Avengers who didn’t come on-board with the new programs would be hunted as dangerous criminals. This environment would also allow new actors and actresses to be introduced into the movies with a somewhat coherent storyline. New heroes would rise to take familiar heroes’ roles. This scenario could lead to Sam Wilson or Bucky Barnes taking over as Captain America. In short, the producers could cast a whole new universe by the time we hit a potential Phase Five. The Original Avengers vs. the Dark Avengers could also serve as the Phase Four tent-pole movie.

3. The Super-Adaptoid

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The Super-Adaptoid was an android that contained part of the Cosmic Cube. The Cube was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger. The Android was created by Advanced Idea Mechanics to infiltrate the Avengers. The Super-Adaptoid has the ability to instantly absorb the power of whatever being touches it. In his final form, Norman Osborn was given the powers of the Super-Adaptoid. For example, if the Hulk touched Osborn, Osborn would instantly Hulk out himself.

This power could lead to one of the greatest superhero versus supervillain team battles ever put on film. Imagine if both the Avengers and the Dark Avengers turned on Osborn. Osborn could then fight them with their own stolen powers. In the comics, the Super-Adaptoid Norman Osborn was defeated when all the heroes touched him at the same time. The overload of powers rendered Osborn comatose.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is very fond of using post-credits scenes. It would take an epic effort by combined Avengers teams to beat a Super-Adaptoid Norman Orborn. If this did happen the same way it transpired in the comics, a post-credits scene would feature a nurse checking on a comatose Osborn. The nurse would find Osborn’s bed completely empty, a scene that would have a chilling effect similar to Carrie White’s hand coming out of the grave.

2. The Green Goblin Could Remain a Spider-Man Villain

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The Green Goblin is a believable Spider-Man villain. Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin… not so much. A teenager versus a billionaire industrialist seems implausible even for the realm of comic books. This is why both Spider-Man film series eventually featured Harry Osborn as the Goblin. The son of a billionaire industrialist trying to prove himself to his father actually makes sense as an adversary. Norman Osborn isn’t completely disinterested in Spider-Man, but it’s simply more believable that Harry would don the mantle of the Green Goblin. Norman was revealed to be the mastermind behind the entire “Clone Saga.” The clone creations could serve as a plot device for the upcoming Spider-Man franchise, along with Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin antagonist.

Ultimately, all roads of evil in the Marvel Universe would lead back to Norman. A Clone Saga story run by Norman Osborn and protected by Harry Osborn could introduce Ben Reilly, Kaine Parker and even Miles Morales. There are lots of different ways to create a clone. In the role of super-powered gatekeeper, Harry’s Green Goblin could introduce all sorts of Spider-Man characters. Attempts to clone Spider-Man’s powers could also lead to the creation of both Venom and Carnage. Harry’s Goblin powers could be the result of a failed attempt to clone Peter’s Spider powers. This would give Harry added and believable incentive to destroy Spider-Man.

1. Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 5

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Eventually, Marvel and Disney will have to address the fifth phase of their highly successful franchise. Chris Evans has expressed an interest in directing. Robert Downey Jr. has hinted that Iron Man may be recast. Norman Osborn is very much a “clear the decks” type of villain. After Norman’s dark reign of terror, there could be no S.H.I.E.L.D. and no Avengers. The entire universe would be open to a new generation of heroes, an easy transition from the ones which were introduced starting in 2008. 

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The introduction of Spider-Man is important to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Norman Osborn has the ability to completely reset the Universe if used to his full potential. Fans should be more excited about all the potential story-lines Norman Osborn brings along with him.

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2 Comments

  1. “The Green Goblin is a believable Spider-Man villain. Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin… not so much. A teenager versus a billionaire industrialist seems implausible even for the realm of comic books. ”

    No it isn’t. First of all no one knew Norman was the Goblin until Peter was in college. Second of all Norman is a dark father figure to Peter who represents all the wealth Peter never has. He is someone who had smarts like Peter but abused them to get wealth and power. Something Peter would never do.

  2. …Number Two, to me, indicates you’ve not once actually read a comic arc with Norman in it.

    “Norman Osborn isn’t completely disinterested in Spider-Man…”

    No, he’s freaking obsessed with him. He tried to turn him into his heir, he murdered his baby, he made him doubt his own existence, their fight is VERY personal. And considering WHY he adopted the persona of a “Goblin” in the first place, it makes infinitely more sense for Norman to be the true Green Goblin. Hell, Harry only took up the mantle in-comic because his drug-addled mind had convinced itself that Spider-Man was evil and his father, the Goblin, was a hero who’d died trying to stop him. Then when he learned Peter was Spider-Man… he snapped. So no, it does not make more sense for Harry to be the Goblin, and that’s NOT why the films had him take up the role after Norman’s death. They had him do it because that’s what happens in the pages of what they’re adapting.

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