Spider-Man villain Norman Osborn is seemingly a possible future addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and may have played a role in the contract negotiations between Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures during their deal for Spider-Man to appear in the MCU and Marvel owned characters to show up in Sony’s solo Spider-Man films (Tony Stark, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, Captain America, Maria Hill, and Pepper Potts).
I don’t think that Sony Pictures has any particular plans for Norman as he has been used twice in previous Spidey franchises and they may want to focus on characters previously unused. A Sinister Six movie (Amy Pascal is still to Drew Goddard returning to make it) could be a spot where Norman could be useful for Sony, however, since that roster is flexible and ever-changing and The Green Goblin isn’t necessarily needed if they go with Ned Leeds’ Hobgoblin instead.
There is a good chance that a list of characters from Sony’s roster may be allowed to mingle in the MCU as well, all we have to is look at the characters established in Spider-Man: Homecoming (Aunt May, Vulture, Shocker, The Tinkerer, Scorpion, and Aaron Davis aka The Prowler) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (Mysterio, The Chameleon?) that already reside inside the MCU.
Obsorn’s future may be more interesting as an Avengers villain or maybe even an X-Men villain rather than as a one-off Spider-Man baddie thanks to his increased role in the Marvel Comics universe in recent years.
In October, ThatHashtagShow revealed that Marvel Studios had commissioned a Dark Avengers script. A team headed up by Norman Osborn featuring villains taking on superhero personas. If that movie is coming that would certainly mean Marvel Studios has big plans for him. Fans certainly noticed when a version of Osborn’s Dark Avengers Iron Patriot suit from the comics showed up in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3.
There is a strong possibility that after Avengers: Endgame there might be a vacuum left concerning Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and an opening for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s revamped incarnation H.A.M.M.E.R. to be formed by Osborn and sanctioned by government people like United States Defense Secretary Thaddeus Ross, who may have become fed-up with the existing heroes after Captain America: Civil War recruiting villains (an MCU version of Thunderbolts?) to fill their ranks to combat future threats that may include the X-Men. Watching from the sidelines for a couple of movies may see Ross take drastic measures to reign-in superheroes such as an alliance between Osborn and Ross.
Villains that are currently in the U.S. government’s custody, likely under the thumb of Ross that could join the Dark Avengers/Thunderbolts include Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer, Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo, Tim Roth’s Abomination, George St. Pierre’s Batroc, Walton Goggins’ Sonny Burch, and William Hurt’s Ross could take on his alter-ego Red Hulk. Some of these characters like Zemo, Hammer, Burch, and Batroc could be outfitted with technology or enhancements to make them a little more formidable.
Director Joe Russo revealed to ComicBook that Red Hulk almost had a role in Captain America: Civil War.
“We had so many characters in that movie as it was. We consider everything, obviously, but with so many characters in that movie as it was to try and entertain adding another character and to get to the Red Hulk, you have to add a back story. You have to substantiate the narrative to get to that. [Thaddeus Ross], on our list of priorities, he was there sort of as the government’s agenda and not to add another complicated super powered character to the mix.”
On the X-Men front, Osborn could end-up a hybrid of a bunch of human X-Men villains if need be sparking the whole Avengers vs X-Men conflict as Norman’s Dark Avengers would certainly see mutants as a threat to humanity and could be coaxed by world governments to take them out, this would also give some wiggle-room for another Civil War-like event but having real solid villains in place this time giving the film a little more weight and some stakes that Civil War was missing.
Norman could be easily inhabit traits of anti-mutant human villains such as Reverand Stryker (a religious zealot that saw mutants as an abomination), Senator Robert Kelly (an American politician that pushes an anti-mutant platform that leads to the Mutant Registration Act), and Dr. Bolivar Trask (the mastermind behind the Sentinel program that was eventually used to round-up mutants).
The first X-Men movie could have Norman behind the scenes or directly a big bad human working against mutant kind. You could have Osborn possibly be the one pulling strings on Genosha, an island nation that claims to be a haven for mutants but then eventually rounds them up to forced labor camps claiming them as state property (teased slightly in the opening scene of X-Men: Days of Future Past) and subjecting mutants to medical experiments. When the X-Men show up to rescue mutants and take out their military installations operations in Genosha, Osborn could later frame it to the rest of the world as an act of war on a sovereign nation and could be the crux to bring forward the Mutant Registration Act giving them a reason to go after X-Men using a newly formed version of a government-sanctioned version of the Avengers, Norman’s lineup.
This could also lead to the formation of the Sentinel program seeing more comic book accurate versions of the massive mutant-hunting robots (another excellent part of the X-Men mythology that was skirted over in the Fox movies) and launching the lead-up to an Avengers vs X-Men movie.
His tentacles could reach out to other corners of the MCU as well.
People have speculated that in Ant-Man and The Wasp he’s the employer of Walton Goggins’ character Sonny Burch trying to get his hands on their Quantum Realm technology meaning that something like vibranium may interest him as well and since he has a connection of sorts already to Kraven The Hunter and could be entry point for Ryan Coogler to get his wish to use Kraven possibly in Black Panther 2. Having Kraven working to secure the technology or steal secrets as Wakanda will be opened up to the world and will likely start seeing diplomatic envoys enter the country opening the door to having some seedy characters tag-along with world leaders and diplomats.
Castin Norman Osborn would likely mean they’ll need someone with the chops to play both public hero and private villain. I’d love to see actors such as Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, and Gary Oldman considered for the role.
Having Norman going from billionaire businessman/inventor to American politician to giant thorn in the side of the MCU feels like the way to go there.