In 2010, one of the biggest status quo shifts in modern Marvel Comics occurred with Secret Invasion. This storyline centered on the revelation that the Skrulls utilized their shapeshifting abilities to replace various superheroes over a period of years. This infiltration also involved breaking various supervillains out of supermax prisons and disabling S.H.I.E.L.D. During the final act of the event, Norman Osborn kills the Skrull Empress resulting in him leading S.H.I.E.L.D.’s replacement called H.A.M.M.E.R.
This led to the next cross-title storyline/event called Dark Reign. Along with this new organization, Norman Osborn forms a new Avengers team while he himself becomes “Iron Patriot.” This alias was already seen when the United States government rebranded War Machine during Iron Man 3. The events of Dark Reign have inspired adaptations across multiple tv shows and video games and with Spider-Man: Far From Home, it looks like we could see an MCU version as well.
Aliens Infiltrating Earth
One of the biggest surprises in Spider-Man: Far From Home was the reveal that Talos and Soren were acting as Nick Fury and Maria Hill. In Marvel Comics, a Skrull impersonating a key figure such as Nick Fury would be an issue and pose a threat to all heroes. However, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Skrulls are instead friendly with Earth’s heroes carrying high respect and gratitude towards Nick Fury and Captain Marvel. Soren even mentions that other aliens, such as the Kree, have classified sleeper agents on Earth. That altogether could spell a disastrous situation for the credibility of Nick Fury and his associates.
This would be fueled by the probable xenophobia present on Earth after the traumatic events of The Battle of New York, The Dark Elves Invasion, and The Decimation. Combined with propaganda from the likes of J. Jonah Jameson, people would not receive the news of shapeshifting aliens well regardless of their true intentions. While Nick Fury could vouch for the Skrulls, the public would instantly question him if evidence of Talos posing as him leaked and feelings of mistrust from the HYDRA infiltration carried over. This route would be interesting as it would make an MCU adaptation of Secret Invasion more of a “fake news” style PR campaign vs an actual malicious invasion by the Skrulls. All things considered, the groundwork has been laid for Earth to learn about more advanced aliens living among them.
Absence of Tony Stark & The Avengers
A regular topic of discussion in Spider-Man: Far From Home was the legacy of Tony Stark and The Avengers. In Memoriam images were shown for Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow. With Iron Man, people wanted to know who would take his mantle as the “greatest hero in the world.” This was a feeling that Mysterio intentionally preyed upon to further his goals for fame with staged super-heroics. For Peter Parker, he personally struggled with trying to carry Tony’s torch until he realized he can’t carry that burden. Instead, with guidance, he’ll make better decisions and hopefully grow into a better hero than Tony Stark ever was. Tony said it himself in Spider-Man: Homecoming when he told Peter to be better than him instead of trying to be him. However, a drawback is that anyone with proper resources and publicity can attempt to “fill the void” of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Norman Osborn and Oscorp would be able to fill this void better than any other Spider-Man related character.
Since we’ve seen the Green Goblin a few times we could focus on the other side of Norman, a characterization that could repurpose the Iron Patriot armor for starters. He could function as a dark mirror of Tony, almost like Tony without the humbling experiences from his solo films. If he acquired Avengers Tower as the new Oscorp headquarters, that would quickly give him the resources to create comparisons. With The Avengers, it appears the team is officially retired. While this could open the door for teams such as The Ultimates, New Avengers, or Secret Avengers, it also leaves room for the Dark Avengers. It wouldn’t be surprising if Marvel Studios tries merging the premises of Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers, considering Thunderbolts is a movie rumored for years.
Norman Osborn Breadcrumbs
While Norman Osborn has never been officially revealed, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say there are teases all around Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ant-Man & The Wasp, and Spider-Man: Far From Home. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, a mysterious entity acquired Avengers Tower from Stark Industries. An acquisition such as this would require a buyer of enormous wealth, wealth similar in some capacity to Tony Stark. Considering Stark Industries ceased making weapons after Iron Man, it’s possible Oscorp stepped in to scoop up those government contracts. This possibility is augmented by Iron Man 2 as Justin Hammer and Hammer Industries experience difficulties due to faulty tech and involvement with Ivan Vanko. It would be a seamless introduction for the character of Osborn, especially if they don’t force the transition into Green Goblin. Personally, I’d prefer they ignore the Green Goblin persona unless he’s introduced post-Sinister Six. Until then, Marvel Studios should spotlight the amazing rogues’ gallery only rivaled by Batman.
Other breadcrumbs for a character similar to Norman Osborn can be found in with the “Benefactor” from Ant-Man & The Wasp. This character, while never seen, had his subordinates attempting to collect Pym Tech. The last time a Spider-Man movie had a shadowy benefactor-like character was The Gentleman/Gustav Fiers from The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. According to Marc Webb, the character was originally going to become a version of Electro before his real name was revealed. Gustav Fiers was tied to Oscorp and in the comics was a businessman who gathered the Sinister Six. It’s likely this concept of connecting Norman Osborn, Oscorp, and the Sinister Six is still permeating within Sony, considering how Sony was actively trying to develop a Sinister Six movie within The Amazing Spider-Man 2, then have it separate, and most recently discussed developing it parallel to the MCU Spider-Man franchise. The Vulture, Shocker, and Mysterio have appeared in recent movies, making the likelihood of a Sinister Six story potentially high.
Do you want to see Norman Osborn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know your thoughts and if you’d like to see an MCU Secret Invasion/Dark Reign in the comments!