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Update: Irrfan Khan to play Nels van Adder (AKA the Proto-Goblin) in SPIDER-MAN reboot

James Wallace

by: James Wallace
December 7th, 2010

Last week, we brought you word of a few additions to the cast of SPIDER-MAN, including Irrfan Khan (best known for his role as the police inspector in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) who was reported to play a character named van Adder (or "Van Atter" as it was originally listed) - a potential villain for Andrew Garfield's newly transformed Spidey. Other than that, little was known about the role.

After a little digging, Cinematical seems to have uncovered the mystery behind just who this mystery man is. Having only one appearance in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #1from 1997, Nels van Adder was actually a research assistant employed by Oscorp Industries, who volunteered himself for the chemical serum experiments Norman Osborn was conducting. As these things often go in the comic book world, the experiments went horribly wrong and the man was mutated into the Proto-Goblin, a monstrous crimson-colored villain that possessed super strength along with sharp claws and fangs.

It seems that Marc Webb and co. are going a little off the page for this reboot, a la BATMAN BEGINS, choosing less mainstream villains like van Adder and Rhys Ifans' The Lizard. With the Proto-Goblin's origins and connections to Norman Osborn, this could of course be groundwork to later introduce the Green Goblin (who Osborn himself later becomes in a very similar way as van Adder/the Proto-Goblin). Or they could completely deviate from the character and comic's mythology, as they seem to have with a few key choices already.

Anywho, Khan is definitely in the film and he is definitely playing van Adder. As for the rest, he seems to know even less that we do at this point based on a recent interview he did with the New York Times. "He's a character who, I think, was not in the comics or perhaps a minor character. I've read some pages, but the whole script hasn't been made available to me."

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