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It feels like we're experiencing late 2014 all over again. Back when the Amazing Spider-Man series was still running, Sony was keen to build their own superhero cinematic universe centered around the Web-Slinger through spinoffs like Venom and Sinister Six. Those plans collapsed when the studio decided to join forces with Marvel to throw Spidey into the MCU, which they accomplished last year with Captain America: Civil War and are continuing this summer with Spider-Man: Homecoming. However, now Sony is back on the spinoff train, as last week the Venom movie was slated for release in October 2018, and a movie starring Black Cat and Silver Sable is also in the works.
The strange thing about these projects is that there are conflicting reports about whether or not they'll be connected to Spider-Man. In other words, is Sony going to try to make these spinoffs without the characters having any history with Spider-Man, or more drastically, have them set in a different universe, one where Tom Holland's Peter Parker doesn't exist? While it's possible (but not advised) to make that work for the Black Cat/Silver Sable adventure, a Venom movie without any connections to Spider-Man whatsoever would be a poor creative decision, and we've collected the main reasons why.
Venom Needs Spider-Man For Many Of His Powers
In the comics, Spider-Man stumbled onto the Venom symbiote during the Secret Wars event while he was on the Battleworld with other Marvel heroes and villains. Like the rest of its kind, it attaches itself to a host, and for Peter Parker, it was able to turn into a black Spidey-outfit and street clothes when necessary, as well as provide the hero with an endless supply of webbing. However, like the other corrupted members of its species (called the Klyntar), the symbiote also sought to take full control of Peter, and when that didn't work out, Eddie Brock became its new host. More importantly, its time with Peter also resulted in it acquiring all of Spider-Man's super powers. So even though a symbiote-powered host can be physically enhanced and shape-shift, Venom can't rock abilities like wall-crawling and the Spider-sense without having been latched on to Spider-Man for a long time. Sure the Venom movie could come up with an alternative reason for why a symbiote-powered host has arachnid-themed powers, but it just won't work as well.
The Symbiote Hosts Need Connections To Spider-Man
It's not just important for the Venom symbiote to have been attached to Spider-Man. The hosts themselves also need to have a connection to the superhero. There have been a number of individuals in the comics who've taken the Venom mantle, but for the sake of this feature, we're focusing on Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson, the most notable of the bunch. Eddie is the first and by far the most famous Venom, who was taken over by the symbiote immediately after Peter Parker was able to remove the black blob from himself. Eddie was already furious with Spider-Man for ruining his journalistic career, so becoming Venom gave him the means to unleash revenge. In Flash Thompson's case, he is one of Spider-Man's biggest fans, so even though he struggled with controlling the symbiote's monstrous tendencies, as Agent Venom he aspired to be a hero like his idol. Without having any kind of relationship or tie with Spider-Man, be it positive or negative, these protagonists won't be nearly as compelling or interesting as their comic book counterparts.
Venom's At His Best When He's Fighting Spider-Man
Venom has certainly made for a captivating protagonist in several solo series, but the fact remains that when it comes to Venom as a villain, he's had some of his greatest moments when he was fighting Spider-Man/making the hero's life hell. Spidey has a lot of great antagonists, from Green Goblin to Doctor Octopus, but his dynamic with Venom is something special. The demonic-looking adversary is a twisted foil of Spider-Man, as if the Web-Slinger had been thrown through a horrible funhouse mirror and Venom was the creepy reflection on the other side. Given how Spider-Man 3 failed to properly adapt Venom, it's baffling why Sony would want to give the villain another shot at big screen fame, and then not pit him against his sworn nemesis. It's understandable if the Spider-Man: Homecoming movies don't want to use Venom as an antagonist, but to not have these two facing off against each other in Venom is a waste. Even if this Venom movie goes the hero/anti-hero route, at minimum it would be wise to throw in a Spider-Man cameo. They don't necessarily need to fight, but it needs to be established that they aren't on good terms with one another.
Venom's Best Villains Are Also Connected To Spider-Man
Venom may hate Spider-Man, but he has a small gallery of other rogues to tangle with when the Web-Head isn't around, like Carnage, Jack O'Lantern and Crime Master. Most of these villains are also connected to Spider-Man in one way or another, so if he's not swinging around in this world, then these characters lose some of their appeal. This is especially applicable for Carnage, who would be the next best choice for the Venom movie's villain after Spider-Man because unlike Venom, Carnage doesn't care about morality. The Carnage symbiote is actually the offspring of the Venom symbiote, and while that can still work in a self-contained Venom movie, that brings us back to this list's first entry. If the Venom symbiote doesn't copy its powers off Spider-Man, then Carnage doesn't get those same powers, and any alternate reason for how he acquired those "talents" would be inadequate. That's the problem with creating spinoffs that all branch off of one central character: without said character, it's hard to make the stories about these other heroes/villains work properly, resulting in inferior products.