A Walking Dead Star Is Becoming A Huge Part Of Marvel

Steven Yeun is joining Marvel's Thunderbolts in an unknown role, which we theorize is Norman Osborn.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

steven yeun marvel

Walking Dead star Steven Yeun is joining the cast of the upcoming Marvel movie Thunderbolts in what is described as both significant to the specific film and the future of the franchise. According to Deadline, the Nope star will play a mysterious new role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning with Thunderbolts, which raises a whole lot of possibilities of who he could be portraying. This might sound farfetched, but hear us out: Norman Osborn.

We are tying several threads here to explain why there is a good possibility that Steven Yeun might play the Marvel Cinematic Universe of Norman Osborn, Spider-Man’s greatest and most lasting villain. Firstly, we reported some time ago that the actor was in strong consideration to play the antagonist in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man 4, which was just recently (and finally) confirmed as in development by Kevin Feige. There has not yet been a Norman Osborn within the MCU proper, considering that Spider-Man: No Way Home messed with some multiversal business, leaving the role open. 

Ayo Edebiri Thunderbolts

Secondly, Steven Yeun joining Thunderbolts for a role that could have an enormous impact on the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe opens the door for him to play Norman Osborn in a different way. While the earliest incarnation in Marvel Comics of the team of supervillains semi-turned heroes was founded by Baron Helmut Zemo, Daniel Bruhl, the actor who plays Zemo in the MCU, has not been announced as appearing in Thunderbolts. That implies that Marvel Studios is not replicating the group’s comic book origin exactly, which is par for the course with the MCU. 

Instead, Thunderbolts might reflect a different incarnation of the team, which was formed by Norman Osborn. While Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s CIA Director Valentina Allegra de Fontaine has been confirmed to appear in the film and will likely be the main antagonist of the story, that does not mean that Steven Yeun as Marvel’s Norman Osborn could not be her collaborator in some way.

Thus far, Norman Osborn has been played by two actors in live-action films: Willem Dafoe and Chris Cooper. While the latter only had a brief appearance in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dafoe appeared in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and the more recent Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, the latter confirmed that Oscorp did not yet exist in Earth-616, which very well could mean that at the time, a younger version of Norman Osborn was still building his company.

If Steven Yeun does join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Norman Osborn, it will likely be a very different version of the character than we have seen so far. Thunderbolts already has a very impressive cast, including Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Red Guardian, Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier, Wyatt Russell as U.S. Agent, and Harrison Ford as United States President Thaddeus Ross. If we get to see Steven Yeun as some version of the Green Goblin, we will be pretty happy.