Rumour: Marvel is casting its first Phase 4 villain – and it could be Norman Osborn

Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

What comes after Thanos? We could be getting an answer the unenviable question with news of Marvel Studios potentially casting the first big Marvel Phase 4 villain. A recent report has surfaced that suggests a new baddie – one that’s already been namechecked in the MCU – could be on the way. If you want to take the whispers and read between the lines a bit, it sure sounds like a certain Green Goblin could be coming out to play.

Now, to preface this: It should be taken with a Hulk-sized pinch of salt. It’s definitely not fact and, even if there is some truth to it, plans change. But here’s the juicy stuff: The GWW is hearing that Marvel is searching for a male actor between the ages of 40 and 60 under the codename ‘The Benefactor.’

Does that name ring a bell? It should. Ant-Man and the Wasp villain Sonny Burch mentioned a shadowy benefactor – he even called them ‘The Benefactor’ – throughout the movie. Of course, that could be just about anyone, but Marvel retro-fitting the role for it to become someone like Normal Osborn would make a lot of sense, especially as a benefactor hints at someone who could bankroll a major criminal organisation. Osborn not only fits that bill - but has previous for doing so in the comics too.

After all, the ages also match up. With a Tony Stark-shaped hole in the MCU (and Spider-Man: Far From Home on the horizon), it stands to reason that Norman Osborn could be introduced sooner rather than later. Having said that, it could just as easily be a different villain entirely, so don’t get your hopes up.

Even if it isn’t ol’ Normie shuffling on over to the MCU – he hasn’t been seen in a Marvel movie since Willem Dafoe gleefully chewed up the scenery back in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man flick – it’s clear that the wheels are beginning to turn when it comes to the next era of the MCU. A hero is only ever as good as his villain, after all - and we’ll need plenty of good ones to replace the Mad Titan.

Check out the cream of the crop when it comes to heroes and villains (and, sometimes, other heroes) facing off with our rundown of the best superhero movies.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.