Willem Dafoe thought it was ‘useful’ when asked to return

  • Willem Dafoe reprises his iconic Green Goblin villainous role in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
  • At the Comic Con Experience in Brazil, Dafoe recalled his reaction when he heard they wanted him back.
  • He thought it was “crazy” since his famous character died in 2002’s “Spider-Man”.

When Willem Dafoe first heard they wanted him back for another Spider-Man movie, nearly 20 years after his character was killed, he was surprised.

“When I heard it, I thought, well, that’s pretty crazy,” Dafoe said of being approached to reprise his iconic Spidey villain, Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” during a virtual panel at Brazil’s annual Comic Con Experience earlier this month.

“In the first movie, I was speared pretty well,” Dafoe said, recalling the Goblin’s death in the 2002 film at the hands of his own glider. “But I thought, ‘OK. They can figure out a way to bring me back.'”

Willem Dafoe at the Spider-Man: No Way Home Premiere

Willem Dafoe at the premiere of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Steve Cohn for Columbia Pictures


Dafoe said director Jon Watts gave him the whole idea for a sequel before even reading a script.

“It sounded like a lot of fun and a good solution and as we got into it, I thought I was going back to something that was the same, but different,” Dafoe said of how Osborn is being brought back in “No Way Home.” “It’s a return to something I did before with that kind of history, but there’s a twist to it and that appealed to me.”

In a separate clip released by Sony Pictures, Dafoe said it was important to him that his return be more than a “power cameo”.

If he were to reprise the part, he wanted to do as much stunt work as possible.

Dafoe is 66.

“It was important for me to do these physical things,” Dafoe said in a pre-recorded interview for the studio. “One of the first things I said to Jon and… [producer] Amy [Pascal], actually when they threw it to me, before there was even a script, it was, ‘Listen, I don’t want to just come in there as a cameo or just fill out close-ups. I want to do the action because it’s fun for me.”

Willem Dafoe Spider-Man: No Way Home Premiere

Willem Dafoe at the premiere of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Eric Charbonneau via Columbia Pictures


Dafoe added, “It’s really impossible to add integrity or fun to the character if you don’t participate in these things because all those action stuff informs your relationship with the characters and the story, and it also makes You earn your right to play the character.”

And he does.

The actor has a bigger role than you might expect in “No Way Home,” which is heavy not only on the dialogue, but also on the action. Dafoe has a few action and fight scenes in the film.

Fans who have seen the film have applauded Dafoe’s performance, and many say he surpassed his 2002 take on the character, cementing his status as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, superhero movie villain.

Osborn isn’t the only Spidey villain to return in “No Way Home” previously biting the dust. He is joined by Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Max Dillon/Electro (Jamie Foxx), Dr. Connors/Lizard (Rhys Ifans) and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church).

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is now in theaters. You can read our review here.

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