Hollywood played a rousing game of release date reshuffle recently, with several major 2018 blockbusters jockeying for position. James Cameron made it known that Avatar 2 would not be ready for its December 2018 date, which might have prompted Warner Bros. to shift its Aquaman back from October to that time frame. With October open, Sony stepped up and slotted a live-action Venom project that has been on the studio's radar for several years... only, that announcement brought with it a handful of interesting questions.
You can't really have a Venom story without a Spider-Man. So why don't we start there as we try to figure out what this movie will be all about, and how it might factor in to the studio's larger plans.
Does This Connect To Tom Holland's Spider-Man?
When Sony allowed Marvel Studios to use Spider-Man in its Captain America: Civil War, it was both a reset for the classic on-screen character, and a nail in the coffin for Sony's plans for a shared Spidey universe. At the time, back when Andrew Garfield wore the familiar red-and-blue Spidey tights, Sony had plans (in addition to Amazing Spider-Man sequels) for Sinister Six and Venom spinoff films. Those plans appeared to die when Spidey was recast and shared with Marvel.
So, what is this Venom movie? If you read the comics, you know that Venom was created when an alien symbiote detached from Peter Parker and merged with the angry and jealous personality of one Eddie Brock, Peter's rival at the Daily Bugle. The origin of Venom and the symbiote have changed over the years in the books, but the design -- basically a sleek, black and savage spin on Spider-Man's look -- has remained consistent. Venom appeared in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, and should be an integral villain for the Spider-Man being set up in the MCU. But seeing as how this Venom news only came from Sony, and not from Marvel, we have to assume that this will have nothing to do with Tom Holland's version of the web-slinger... which is odd.
Venom can be his own character, standing apart from a Spider-Man narrative... but why would you do that? Maybe this is part of the evolving agreement between Sony and Marvel? Maybe Tom Holland will appear in this Venom movie? It's the biggest question we want answered about this movie, but far from the only question.
How Will They Introduce The Symbiote?
Originally, in the comics, Spider-Man acquired his alien suit while fighting in the Secret Wars. Not being able to recreate them on screen, Sam Raimi cheated and brought the alien symbiote down to Earth as part of meteorite that attaches to Peter while he and Mary Jane are in Central Park. (It really was as silly as it sounds.) The symbiote usually feels like a difficult element to just introduce into a normal Spider-Man narrative, so the question becomes HOW will Sony explain it on screen in this solo Venom movie?
The comics have gone a long way toward exploring the origin and backstories of the symbiotes, following them to an unnamed planet in the Andromeda Galaxy. The Venom symbiote was actually declared insane by its fellow symbiotes, named Klyntar, because of its need to bond with its host in a parasitic fashion. Eddie Brock was the first person to become Venom while wearing the symbiote costume, and his hatred for Peter Parker turned him into a nemesis for Spider-Man. But it also has bonded to Flash Thompson, another Spider-Man side character, which begs the question, "Doesn't the Venom movie need to have a bunch of Spider-specific characters?" This continues to point to this Venom movie somehow existing in a Spider-Man universe, which brings us back to our first question. But if you are bringing Venom and the symbiote to the big screen, were curious how they're going to approach his origin. And if it's science-fiction, then does this next theory make sense?
Is Life A Venom Prequel?
Stay with me here. This one is weird, but too much of it makes sense. We reported a while back that the most recent Life trailer recycled crowd footage from Spider-Man 3... a sequel that included Venom, and the alien symbiote coming down from space. The Life trailer (Life is a Sony movie) suggested that the alien life force that gets free on Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal's capsule finds a way back down to our planet. Then, out of the blue, Sony dates a Venom movie.
Probably. There's no way that Sony is sneaking Venom origin story into theaters as Life. Then again, Split wasn't SUPPOSED to be an Unbreakable sequel, and look what happened there. One major issue, as we just discussed, regarding a Venom story is you have to find some way to bring the alien symbiote from outer space to Earth. Spider-Man originally brought it here after fighting in the Secret Wars with the rest of Marvel's all-stars. Did Sony find a workaround, in the form of Life? We'll know ,for sure when that movie opens in theaters on March 24.
Does This Mean The Sinister Six Is Still In Play?
With the Venom movie being back on the books at Sony, does this open the door ever so slightly for the studio's Sinister Six movie? Much like Suicide Squad, the Sinister Six movie was meant to be a villain team up of Spider-Man's rogues gallery (including Doctor Octopus, Mysterio and The Vulture), and while no one ever confirmed whether Spider-Man was definitely a part of it, there was word that the script Sony had in place could have existed without Spider-Man, and just as it's own team-up adventure. We basically assumed that the project had died on the vine when Sony struck its deal with Marvel Studios to let the MCU reboot Spidey, but if Venom is coming out of hiding, he may bring the Sinister Six along with him.
We will continue to track any and all progress on the Venom movie, but for now, it is down for an October 5, 2018. Let's see what happens next.