I'm not sure why you'd check out this feature if you haven't seen the movie yet, but I feel obligated to tell you that there's obviously spoilers here. So, if you don't want the mid-credits scene ruined for you, it's time to leave. Check back after you've seen the movie, alright?
Needless to say, that was quite a vague credits sequence. My immediate thought was the shadowy figure was Norman Osborn. He's mentioned numerous times throughout the film, so he seemed like a logical choice for making a sinister reveal in the end. He's dying and clearly a formula they use on him will enhance him, turning him into the Green Goblin and probably the primary villain in the second film. That said, there's a few problems. First and foremost, the character didn't look like Osborn. We got a brief glimpse of him on the sign in Oscorp and this white haired man lurking conveniently in the shadows certainly wasn't the same guy. Then, there was the Batman disappearing act. Norman might be fast, but there's no way he could pull that off. And finally, there's the fedora. Norman should never wear one of those. Never. My personal opinions aside, actor Rhys Ifans flat-out stated in an interview with Ain't It Cool News that the mysterious man isn't Norman Osborn. Now that the most obvious choice is out of the running, it's time to open the floodgates and prepare for a tsunami of speculation. Unfortunately, we probably won't know who the figure is for at least a few years, but there's no harm in taking some educated guesses in the meantime.
The dialogue here was key. Immediately, the man asks if Curt revealed the truth about Parker's mom and dad. Seeing as this was the only subject he was interested in, it seems clear the character was involved in the (alleged) death of Peter's parents. Are his parents actually six feet under or was it all a ruse? If it was the latter, then this could very well be the work of Mysterio or Chameleon. The master of illusions and the master of disguises, they would be ideal picks for faking a death or even plotting one. Plus, few characters can simply disappear in the blink of an eye. With their assorted talents, that's a feat they'd be able to accomplish. Furthermore, at one point Chameleon (under the orders of Harry Osborn) created Life Model Decoys of Richard and Mary Parker
The character's drastic entrance and exist is accompanied by what sounds like thunder, so it's tough to not immediately think the white haired fiend is Electro. Traveling via an electric current would certainly explain his ninja-like exit. While it's true he was never an employee of Oscorp (though to be fair, Curt Connors never was either), he has worked with Norman before, both in the Ultimate Universe and as a member of the Sinister Twelve. To top it off, Rhys acknowledged that the character is "someone we're familiar with, who we don't know is employed by Osborn." He likely wouldn't bring that interesting of a side-plot to the table, but odds are this character would serve as a secondary villain (to Green Goblin), and that's a role I can see Electro fitting quite well.
It's clear there's still a lot to learn surrounding Pete's papa, so could it be Peter's dad was the creeper in Curt's cell? Has Richard Parker been alive the whole time and, in fact, working with Norman? It's absolutely possible. We know at one point he rejected Norman's orders, but I imagine he has rather violent ways of convincing people to stay on-board. After all, in the comics Richard and Mary had a very secretive life working for the C.I.A. and he could eventually be the man that turns Normy into the Green Goblin. If that formula/serum is based on Connor's work, it's possible the Green Goblin could be inspired by his Ultimate counter-part, too. Think less Power Rangerish and more like a big ol' green demon.
There's always the potential for other characters like Morbius, The Jackal and Alistair Smythe, but honestly, I hope they would avoid using a generic mad scientist two movies in a row. Unfortunately, it's going to be a long wait before we get any solid answers. In the meantime, who do you think the character was?
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man, so expect more blogs on the new franchise in the near future. I'll likely dive into how a Venom tie-in makes sense and where I would like to see the trilogy go from here.