Willem Dafoe Believes Green Goblin Mask Criticism Influenced No Way Home Look

Willem Dafoe’s triumphant return as Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home brought a change that he believes was a reaction to fan complaints.

When Spider-Man first hit the big screen in 2002, fans were in awe of Tobey Maguire as the web-slinger but had a few issues when it came to his adversary, Green Goblin — at least when it came to his mask. Comic book fans are notorious for being sticklers for details, and when Spider-Man replaced the “goblin” face of their original villain with a mask, it didn’t please many people, even with Willem Dafoe bringing plenty of goblin-esque expressions when the mask was off. On reprising his role for Spider-Man: No Way Home, Dafoe believes that some of that criticism saw the demise of the Goblin mask in the MCU crossover movie.


Spider-Man: No Way Home brought several past villains into the MCU, and while most of them retailed their original look, there were some changes made. Jamie Foxx’s Electro received a make-over thanks to events of the story, which was similar to the upgrade of Stark Technology that became part of Doc Ock’s tentacles, but one scene that saw Norman Osborn smashing the mask of the Goblin shortly after his arrival in the movie. While the movie didn’t go all out in creating a comic-accurate version, the evolution of the costume did come closer with Osborn wearing tattered purple clothing over the suit along with a hood. In an interview with the New York Times, Dafoe explained his thoughts, saying:

“I must be honest, I am aware that there was some criticism of that [Green Goblin] mask in the original one. We heard it enough that it was probably a consideration, to change it up a little bit. I don’t think about that because I don’t think about emoting with my face. My face follows my heart. It’s just an expression of what you’re feeling.”

Willem Dafoe’s Return Once Again Shows How Marvel Can Pull Star Power

Willem Dafoe is an actor with an impressive resume and has been one of the most proficient actors of his generation, picking up four Oscar nominations in the process for his roles in the movies Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire, The Florida Project and At Eternity’s Gate. His return to the role of Norman Osborn after almost twenty years, acting out the part almost identically to the way he did in 2002, has proven once again just how good Dafoe is. Losing the mask in No Way Home means there is more screen time for Dafoe’s face to do the work as he effortlessly switches between the Goblin and Norman personas.

Although the MCU doesn’t need megastar names to bring audiences into theaters, and indeed has turned some actors into household names over the last 14 years, there are a number of celebrities from the industry, including Martin Scorsese and Jodie Foster to name just two, who have been vocal in slapping Marvel movies down. The fact that MCU movies have been able to attract many well-respected Oscar winners such as Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, and Michael Douglas speaks volumes and doesn’t seem to show any signs of stopping anytime soon.

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About The Author

Anthony Lund
(1439 Articles Published)

Anthony Lund is an author, songwriter and puppeteer from a small village in the U.K. with an avid love of all genres of TV and film. As well as keeping up with the lastest entertainment news and writing about it for MovieWeb, he works as a video editor, voice over artist and production designer. A child of the 80s, he is the owner of almost 2000 books, more toys than his children, three Warner Bros. Store Gremlins and a production used Howard The Duck movie script.

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