My explanation of what could be done in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did not resolve many of the open questions that need to be answered in the current trilogy. The introductions of the Daily Bugle, Venom, Mary Jane and Harry Osborn were technically not essential to the overall narrative. The identity of Norman’s sidekick was, but that was in one of two proposals for the story, so if the Vulture were the co-villain, it would likely remain unresolved. So The Amazing Spider-Man 3 would be the film that resolves the saga of Norman Osborn, the mystery of Peter’s parents, the fate of Gwen Stacy, and the fate of the burglar. With one possible exception.
The Green Goblin’s almost certainly going to be the main villain of this film if the story is meant as a trilogy. The obvious ending to the trilogy is that Norman Osborn had Peter Parker’s parents killed, and that Peter discovers this information for himself during a pivotal battle with his arch-enemy. So the trick is to make it a surprise when all this happens. Because so many of the previous films have been based on a villain learning Spider-Man’s identity, that’s not going to be part of this narrative. This Norman Osborn won’t know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, ensuring a different rivalry than in Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man.
The film would open with the the previously reclusive Norman Osborn making his very public return. A weakness with the Green Goblin in the Silver Age comics has traditionally been his motivations, which wasn’t that believable in even his best stories. But there’s some interesting stuff that can be done with the character, and there are at least three directions to take the villain.
The Green Goblin may just be pure evil. He doesn’t have a goal for humanity, beyond demanding that everyone acknowledge his power and let him do whatever he wants. He’s not out to teach a lesson of any sorts like Magneto or DKR’s Bane. He’s just an egotist. This take on the character might be similar to Zod, who is going to be the villain of next year’s Man of Steel.
Osborn would just declare himself the King of New York, and force Harry and Mary Jane to be members of his cult. He wouldn’t bother making his identity a secret. One of the questions of the film would be whether it would be worth trying to stop him, or whether it would be better to allow him to continue flouting the law.
A different arc would be if Osborn operates openly as the Green Goblin, but pretends to be a superhero. He would be open about the process that saved his life, and gave him super-powers. He could engineer a battle with the Lizard, which would really be an effort to kill Connors and get him out of the way. And he could also frame Spider-Man.
Mary Jane and Harry would have a different arc here, dealing with the fame that comes with their associations with a superhero. And there could be a conflict if Peter and Gwen don’t trust Osborn. MJ would be caught in the middle, since she’s pretty sure that Peter Parker isn’t a criminal.
Green Goblin VS Norman Osborn?
A different angle on the story would be if the Green Goblin essentially operates as a terrorist, allowing Norman Osborn to pretend that he’s the only man capable of taking care of the supervillain. He might also frame Spider-Man in the process, to create a blacklash against anyone with powers. And he might claim that the Green Goblin is really Richard Parker.
In this version, Osborn could work with Spencer Smythe to commission the Spider Slayers. That would create more enemies for Spider-Man.
J. Jonah Jameson would be back in New York City, agitating against Spider-Man. I’m stealing this idea from Stillanerd, but there could be a flashback showing Jonah arguing with Captain Stacy that Spider-Man is a force for good. Now, Jameson returns from Los Angeles with a plan to avenge his friend’s death, by making the guy he had previously championed infamous.
If Norman Osborn frames Spider-Man and pretends to be a good guy, Jonah would be one of his champions. But in the end, he may be instrumental to exposing Norman, when the truth comes out.
Whatever form the arc has, it seems like it could use an Ultimate Nick Fury type character, either serving as a government liaison to Norman Osborn, or leading the fight against him. There’s no SHIELD, but it could always just be a superhuman task force. And John Jameson’s the right guy to lead it, given his image in the comics and ties to an important member of the supporting cast.
Whatever storyline the Green Goblin has, this film could incorporate Stan Lee’s story of Peter trying to prove the innocence of his parents. A new report comes out that Richard and Mary Parker were trying to sell military secrets to enemies of the United States. The report suggests that this is why they fled the country, and that their deaths were orchestrated by the Russians, whose denials are not particularly believable.
John Jameson might clear their names, sending files to his dad, revealing that they were working for his agency. They wouldn’t be the equivalent of SHIELD agents; they were simply concerned citizens serving as key witnesses in a government investigation. It’s too obvious to reveal that they were killed by Norman Osborn, so a better murderer could be a scientist working for Osborn, either Adrian Toomes or Spencer Smythe, who believed that he was the subject of their investigation.
Earlier, I suggested that the Vulture could be one of the bad guys in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Otherwise, he could be used in the first act of this film as an enemy of Norman Osborn, who now has super powers. If Osborn pretends to be a superhero, he may make his debut as the Green Goblin against the Vulture. And then later, he would use the Vulture’s technology for himself.
If the Scorpion was a villain in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the mystery of who was in Connors’s cell at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man is solved. But otherwise, it could be established that the man is the Chameleon, a super-powered associate of Osborn’s. He could be involved in framing Spider-Man for any story that involves Osborn pretending to be the good guy. At some point, the Chameleon would pretend to be Richard Parker, just to piss off Spidey even more.
There’s some speculation that the man in the cell was Electro. The origin story is simple: he would be an enforcer of Norman Osborn’s, who had gained powers in earlier experiments. If Osborn pretends to be a superhero, he might work with Electro to make the supervillain menace seem more convincing. In the “Green Goblin VS Norman Osborn” narrative, he could have Electro pretend to be a superhero, the one last hope against the menace of Spider-Man and the Green Goblin.
Earlier, I suggested that there could be a Venom film after The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In that case, I suspect that audiences would be happy to see a team-up between the Flash Thompson Venom and Spider-Man in this movie. One complication is that this would guarantee that the actor playing Flash Thompson is pretty damn busy, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014, Venom in 2015, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in 2016 and Venom 2 in 2017, but it should be doable.
If the Green Goblin operates openly as a supervillain, the government would bring in Venom as their premiere agent for this type of stuff. If Spider-Man is framed, Venom may be given the task of bringing him in. Venom could defeat one of the minor villains while Spider-Man fights the Green Goblin. There would be a scene in which Peter Parker and Flash Thompson say cryptic good-bye to their friends before heading off to a pre-ordained battle, unaware of what the other guy is going to be up to.
Peter Parker No More
Peter’s best friend (Mary Jane) and the girl he loves know that he’s Spider-Man. So throughout the film, he might completely ignore his responsibilities as Peter Parker. That would be part of the conflict, as some of the people around him wouldn’t know why this bright kid is screwing up at school, and seemingly wasting all of his time and dragging his friends down with him. Gwen’s grades may suffer as well, and MJ may miss a few opportunities because of the time she devotes to helping out Spider-Man.
There may be an obligatory fight with Aunt May, and he would seriously consider revealing his identity to the public. That plot would come to a head in one of two ways.
The obvious end to the trilogy is the death of Gwen Stacy. This scene will be different from the comics, since she would have a better idea of why she’s in danger, having known for some time that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. That could suggest a proactive role. So one possibility is that she discovers something the Green Goblin doesn’t want her to have, perhaps proof that Peter’s parents were innocent of any charges, and that Adrian Toomes had them killed. She could expose him, or reveal some kind of weakness. And Osborn may kill her for it.
While the death on the Brooklyn Bridge is iconic, the setting isn’t important. What matters is that the death was unfair, and that even Peter’s attempts to save her were unsuccessful. In the comics, he may have accidentally snapped her neck when he saved her life.
Spider-Man defeats the Green Goblin. He’s pissed. He considers killing his beaten enemy, but decides against it. Osborn spent millions to beat death, and now he can spend the rest of his life in a prison cell.
Mary Jane finds a distraught Peter Parker. He wants to give up being Spider-Man. But a crime occurs. He gets involved, and stops the crook. And he realizes it’s Uncle Ben’s killer. The lesson is pretty clear. He has great power and it comes with great responsibility. But it means that he’ll always have to be alone. His identity as Spider-Man will remain a secret, which means he has to take care of his responsibilities as Peter Parker. So you might see him taking a final exam in a tux, right before he heads to Gwen’s funeral.
This may be the end of the trilogy, but it’s not the end of the saga. Since Andrew Garfield’s not getting any younger, it would make sense to start filming another trilogy back to back, provided he’s interested in doing more films.
The other option is to borrow from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. Peter Parker dies, rescuing Gwen. That would take the series in an entirely different direction. The mystery of Uncle Ben’s killer would have to wait. A post-credits sequence would tease a new Spider-Man. The rest of Peter Parker’s family and friends would understand exactly what he was up to.