Willem Dafoe Fought For Green Goblin to be More Than, “A Series Of Memes”
Spider-Man: No Way Home featured a return of one of the most iconic Comic Book adaptations in the history of the genre, and yet, with the character losing his menace in recent years, the actor who originated the role, Willem Dafoe, fought for Green Goblin to be more than just a meme.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is the celebration of the characters over 20 years on the big screen, which brought together three generations worth of Spider-Man stories.
Of course, nothing celebrating these three generations could ever happen without celebrating the original Spider-Man villain: the Green Goblin.
Originated in Sam Raimi‘s 2002 Spider-Man, the ominously menacing Norman Osborne still stands the test of time as one of the best comic books adapted villains in the history of the genre.
With his return planned for the aforementioned Spider-Man: No Way Home, the man who first donned the green mask wanted to return with a mission: to present a villain worthy of standing as the main antagonist.
Dafoe fought for the Green Goblin to be more than just a meme, and in doing so, he may have created the greatest Spider-Man villain ever portrayed on screen.
Dafoe spoke of the fatigue he felt portraying the character in the 200s, stating, “Even in the second and third installments [of Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy], having to do little cameos, it was a pleasure to see everyone again and stick my toe in the pool. But I didn’t have the imagination of continuing on.”
Speaking on getting the call to reprise his role, Dafoe recalled, “When Amy Pascal [Spider-Man: No Way Home Producer] and Jon Watts [Spider-Man: No Way Home director] called me up and said we’d like to pitch you this idea, I thought, ‘This is crazy. But let’s see what they have to say.'”
“I really didn’t want to do a cameo. I wanted to make sure there was something substantial enough to do that wasn’t just a tip of the hat,” Dafoe recalled, “I want to take part in action scenes Because that’s really fun for me. It’s the only way to root the character. Otherwise, it just becomes a series of memes.”
It is easy to understand what Defoe is referencing, with the popular use of his work in the 2002 Spider-Man film for various memes, he fought to embrace the action sequences, and expound on the narrative, to craft a return that was fitting such an iconic creation.
Defoe did just that, with his iteration of the Green Goblin stealing the show with his incredible performance and returning to the screen to wreak new havoc on the MCU’s Peter Parker. Gobby embodied the opposition that would mold Tom Holland‘s Peter into what is, in my opinion, the greatest interpretation of Spider-Man that the big screen has ever seen.