Willem Dafoe and Thomas Haden Church are reportedly in talks to return as Green Goblin and Sandman, respectively, for the MCU's Spider-Man 3.
Multiple disparate Spidey worlds were already set to collide in the MCU's Spider-Man 3 — but it might be an even more packed affair, with Willem Dafoe and Thomas Haden Church reportedly returning as Green Goblin and Sandman, respectively. Played by Tom Holland, the latest incarnation of Peter Parker first debuted in Captain America: Civil War. He has since returned in two solo adventures and featured alongside other Avengers in two other team-up movies. When last seen, however, the teenage web-slinger had been framed for murder by the villainous Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). As if that wasn't enough of a cliffhanger, his secret identity had also been leaked to the public.
For many, that seemed like the perfect threads to follow through in the confirmed sequel. However, it's become more and more apparent that Spider-Man 3 will essentially be two films in one. As well as the chaos that could come from criminals knowing Spidey's identity, the film will also be pulled into the multiversal drama that's set to be central to the MCU's Phase 4. It was previously announced that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will both reprise their iterations of the popular superhero. Furthermore, they look set to bring several allies and antagonists with them. As well as Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy and Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane Watson, Jamie Foxx's Electro and Alfred Molina's Doc Ock were also confirmed.
According to The Illuminerdi, however, they won't be the only villains to joining in with the fun. The outlet exclusively stated that Dafoe and Church are currently finalizing deals to return. Dafoe famously played Norman Osborn (aka Green Goblin) and featured in all three installments of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Church, meanwhile, played the remorseful Flint Marko (aka Sandman) in the much-maligned third film of the same trilogy. The Illuminerdi's information apparently comes from an unnamed source so should be taken with a pinch of salt until an official announcement is made. Still, given the extent of the cast so far, it's not at all outside the realm of possibility.
As with the already-confirmed returning cast, it's unclear how big of a role they will play in the film. They could either be cameos glimpsed as Doctor Strange and Spider-Man jaunt to other worlds or they could actually travel over through a breach of some kind. Whatever the case, the above outlet stated that they are very much part of the Spider-Man 3 masterplan. There's also a chance they might not even be the very same incarnations seen battling Maguire. Instead, they may be different versions played by the same actor. Spider-Man: Far From Home has already set a precedent with J.K. Simmons returning as a distinctly new version of J. Jonah Jameson.
If they are the same versions that have traveled over, it would beg a lot of questions. After all, Norman Osborn notably died at the end of the first Spider-Man, only returning to fuel his son Harry's descent into madness. Though significant time will have passed in the world of Maguire's Peter, there would need much exposition to fill in the blanks for the audience regarding any resurrection. The same could be said for Church's Sandman, especially if he has returned to villainy since earning Peter's forgiveness. As such, it could be a safer bet to have them be new incarnations. The MCU could then craft brand-new takes from scratch but have what is, for many, the quintessential actors remain. Either way, it would add to Maguire's purpose in the film, having experience with them and thus able to guide Holland's Spider-Man. Whatever ends up being the case, however, fans will no doubt be excited to see even more of their favorites crop up in Spider-Man 3 and be made MCU official.