It was around the time that these stories were produced that Bob Harras told us who should be revealed as the master villain responsible for the entire clone saga. The reaction was not enthusiastic. I don't think ANYONE - from the writers to the editors to the assistant editors - agreed with Harras's idea, although his rationale certainly made sense to a certain extent. Harras felt that there was only one person who could have had the money, the resources, the connections, the knowledge, and the motivation to orchestrate the clone saga and disrupt Peter Parker's life to such a profound extent. Harras felt that the mastermind had to be Norman Osborn.
I was one of the most vocal opponents to this idea. "But Norman's dead!" I argued. "I mean, there was a body! We saw his funeral! There was no doubt left in anyone's mind that he died. Beyond that, he died in one of the most powerful Spider-Man stories of all time. It was a key event in Spider-Man's entire history! We would be totally betraying the trust of the fans if we went in and undid that story!" I remember someone muttering, "Who are we gonna bring back next? Gwen? Or how about Uncle Ben?" But Harras felt that no other option would work, and he made it absolutely clear that he would not be bound to a story that had been published almost 25 years earlier. Harras felt that for the here and now, Norman was the only solution, continuity and history be damned.