The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been deviating from the norm with Spider-Man characters. We’ve gotten supporting characters the comics didn’t feature heavily in Ned Leeds and Michelle Jones, while fan-favorite characters like J. Jonah Jameson and a slew of villains haven’t made appearances.
The comic book fan most easily identifies Green Goblin, whose main identity has been Norman Osborn. Osborn is a long-standing rival of Spider-Man in the comics, who has been seen in live-action in Spider-Man, Spider-Man 3, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. However, this has caused the comic book chronology of this character to be forgotten, and the MCU’s push away from him only furthers this. That's why you should check out this interesting trivia about Norman Osborn, to remind you just how much of an impact he's had on the Spider-Man series.
10 He Had An Affair With Gwen Stacy
Let’s get the bombshell out of the way first, and tell you that Gwen Stacy – the love of Peter’s life – had an affair with Norman Osborn – the father of Peter’s best friend! In a story appropriately titled “Sins Past,” Mary Jane reveals that Gwen had shared this piece of information with her.
Not only did Gwen and Norman do the unthinkable, the one-night union resulted in the birth of twins. Apparently, the children had unusual physiologies, that made them grow up at an exponential rate after their birth.
9 He Is Spider-Man's Archenemy
You're probably aware that Green Goblin is Spider-Man’s most frequent foe, but we’re not talking about the Goblin persona here; we mean the man who is Norman Osborn himself. The Green Goblin moniker has been taken over by many people, but it is the Norman Osborn version that has been billed as Spider-Man’s nemesis.
Just as Venom isn’t complete without Eddie Brock, the same goes for Green Goblin and Osborn. However, this villain is considered to be the equivalent of the Joker to Batman. The Norman Osborn version of the Green Goblin has lasted several decades now as the direct enemy of Spider-Man.
8 He Resurrected Himself
Sometimes, comic book material can be comparable to soap operas like The Bold and the Beautiful, with characters making super unlikely returns from the dead. For instance, here we have the example of Norman Osborn, who had perished by his own glider.
Rather than staying dead as he did in the live-action Spider-Man movie, the comic book version was almost instantly resurrected by a healing factor he hadn’t known about. His resurrection came while he lay in the morgue – how did he leave undetected, you ask? That would be because he killed someone nearby who resembled his physique (wasn't that convenient) and made it appear as if that man's body was his.
7 He's Not Hobgoblin
Now, by and large, casual audiences assume the Hobgoblin to be another version of the Green Goblin. This isn't exactly wrong, but it's certainly a misconception.
When conceiving the character, Spider-Man writer Roger Stern was reluctant to bring Norman Osborn from the dead, or have Harry Osborn again assume the identity of the Green Goblin. Since the character was so popular, Stern introduced Hobgoblin. The mystery behind his identity led people to assume it was Norman Osborn, resurrected again, which drove sales further. Only when the plot called for it did Stern reveal the Hobgoblin to be Roderick Kingsley.
6 He Lost His Memory
Time for some more soap opera theatricality here. You’ll remember that Harry Osborn had a bout of amnesia in Spider-Man 3 after he hit his head while pursuing Spider-Man. This was a story derived from what happened to Norman Osborn in the comics.
Some time before Green Goblin had his climactic duel with Spider-Man, the Goblin had deduced Spider-Man’s identity. Due to being fried by electrical wires, Norman lost the memory of becoming Green Goblin. Since Harry was Peter’s best friend, the latter decided to destroy everything tied to the Green Goblin persona, making it appear as if none of that ever happened. This amnesia kept him safe for a while, before the Goblin persona once again began haunting Norman.
5 His Mentor Is Also A Supervillain
This character actually appeared in the 2002 Spider-Man film, but was swiftly killed off rather than be used in part of the story. In the comics, Mendel Stromm was Norman Osborn's professor at college, and it was in partnership with him that Osborn founded Oscorp in the first place. Once greed took over Osborn, he carted Stromm off to jail by accusing him of embezzlement.
Stromm would attempt revenge by attacking Osborn after escaping, but suffered a fatal heart attack. Having anticipated this, Stromm had his conscience transferred into a robot. This persona then became a supervillain who was out to get Spider-Man as well, as Spidey had been the one to prevent Stromm from originally finishing off Osborn.
4 He Had A Bad Relationship With His Father
Norman Osborn’s rags to riches story was only possible because his father had earlier blown all the Osborn family fortune. Amberson Osborn was an inventor with definite talent, but in order to fund one of his creations, he ended up blowing it all. After the invention was stolen, Amberson became cruel and distant towards his son.
The senior Osborn would lock Norman in an abandoned family mansion, where the trauma of being alone and in great fear caused Norman Osborn to manifest the dual identity of the Green Goblin inside himself. He grew to loathe his father.
3 He Is The First Villain Portrayed In Every Spider-Man Media
Quite a few Spider-Man foes have been portrayed across different forms of media, with Mysterio being the latest (in Spider-Man: Far From Home). But Norman Osborn has the distinction of being the first of the Spider-Man rogues' gallery to be shown across mediums.
You can find him in the comic books, video game series, animated series, promotional material, and, of course, the live-action universes. This means there are hundreds of versions of Norman Osborn that we’ve seen so far, and it was because of his importance that Norman Osborn became the first Spider-Man villain to be used in mainstream live-action films.
2 He Became Iron Patriot And Led The Avengers
The MCU may have convinced you that James Rhodes was the original Iron Patriot, but weirdly enough, the first one to don this armor was Norman Osborn. It gets weirder when you realize that the Iron Patriot came about because Osborn lead the Dark Avengers.
In this story, Norman Osborn was seemingly being redeemed as a superhero; however, this didn’t turn out to be the case as old habits die hard. After attempting to lead an invasion into Asgard, Iron Man disabled the Iron Patriot armor to reveal that the Green Goblin alter-ego still existed inside the suit.
1 He Was Responsible For Killing Gwen Stacy
Comic book fans will know this already, of course. However, if you've only recently developed a taste for all things Marvel, you wouldn't know that it was the original Goblin who took Gwen Stacy’s life.
The manner of her death played out exactly as you saw in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, only this time it was Norman behind the mask. Taking Gwen Stacy’s life changed the comic book landscape of Spider-Man completely, and it was this act that established the Green Goblin (and Norman by extension) as the ultimate nemesis of Spider-Man.