WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
We knew going in that"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was going to have an "X-Men: Days of Future Past" clip featured during the closing-credits sequence. The segment, now available online, features Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique springing a who's-who of mutants from prison — and teases the release of Fox's X-Men sequel due out May 23 (below).
While the cross-franchise, cross-studio play fires up the comic-book faithful, Sony missed a big opportunity to start buliding hype for its slate of Spider-Man spinoffs with a Spidey-specific teaser tacked onto the end.
[Related: Spidey Gets X-Men Assist in Credits Scene]
But that wasn't always the plan. The original idea was to treat fans to a bonus scene featuring Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper).
Or at least his severed head. In a jar.
Geek Tyrant has released stills from the purported scene, which features the head of the head of Oscorp being preserved via cryogenic freezing in a chamber cleverly marked "3." The Man in the Shadows (Michael Massee), who made an appearance in the credits scene in "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2012), approaches what remains of Norman and says, "Wake up, old friend."
Well. That's the stuff of nightmares, no?
The scene was first reported in mid-March, with Dark Horizons posting a leaked photo and reporting that it's from the post-credits coda of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." Text at the bottom of the article claims "IMAGE & VIDEO REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF SONY PICTURES."
There's been no official reason given for Sony removing the scene, though Cooper himself revealed as far back as December that the studio has future plans for Norman Osborn... even though he died early on in "ASM2" after long suffering from a genetic disease he'd been desperately trying to cure.
"All I can say is this ["The Amazing Spider-Man 2"] is a very strange introduction for Norman Osborn," said Cooper to Moviefone. "I just can't reveal why it's that way, but this is not the beginning of Norman. It is the introduction, but it's not the beginning, and I think that's as far as I can go."
There's certainly a lot of Norman Osborn history in the Marvel Comics Universe that Sony can draw from if they're looking to bring back the character in future movie installments (and why wouldn't they? They got an Oscar winner to play him, after all). While Harry (Dane DeHaan) did the honors of taking Gwen's life in "ASM2" (it was Norman in the comics), Norman was just getting started with his legacy even after he seemingly met his demise by being impaled by his own Goblin Glider in "The Amazing Spider-Man" No. 122 (July 1973).
As with almost any Marvel character, Norman's arc is a long, convoluted, and often contradictory one, but something to keep in mind is the "Goblin Serum" gave him powerful regenerative abilities much like Wolverine's, which allowed him to escape from the morgue and flee to Europe after his "death." This is a guy who just won't stay dead for long, so there's no reason why we should think Norman's death in "ASM2" makes for the last time we'll ever see the character on the big screen.
Norman will probably play some sort of role in the formation as of the Sinister Six (or even of his own team of 'reformed' supervillains, the Thunderbolts, per the comics). There's also a good chance he could be reborn as the Goblin King, his persona when he managed to organize a group of bad guys in the sewers of NYC and subsequently run over half of the city's organized crime.
['ASM2' Spoiler: The Secret History of the Biggest Game-Changer in Comic Book History]
The Goblin King best summarized Norman's seeming immortality with this dastardly quote:
"Nothing keeps me down, Kingsley. Not death. Betrayal. Even the entire world against me! Every time I rise back up! Stronger than before! Every time!"
Whatever's in store for Norman Osborn (or just his head), we won't have to wait long to find out, as "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" swings into theaters on June 10, 2016.