This was unexpected. After teasing fans with the possibility of a Venom movie, as part of its developing Spider-Man universe, Sony confirmed on Friday that Tom Hardy has been cast as Eddie Brock, with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer in negotiations to direct. This is a huge step forward for a standalone project that, you'd think, needs a few legs of support to stand on. This leads us to many questions that we really can't wait to have answered over the next few months.

For those who don't know, Venom is a villain who hates Spider-Man, primarily because the man in the Venom suit -- Eddie Brock -- hates Spidey's alter ego, Peter Parker. Brock's jealousy for Parker's professional and personal accomplishments, coupled with his own depression and despair, led to the creation of a sadistic and animalistic alien villain on the pages of Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man comics, back in 1988. Now that Sony has confirmed that Tom Hardy will star in a Venom movie, here's what we need to have answered as we move forward.

Will Spider-Man Be Involved?

Spider-Man, ultimately, belongs to Sony. They have worked out a deal where they loan him to Marvel Studios for appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Captain America: Civil War and his upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming. But Spidey is STILL a Sony character, and it would make sense for him to have a role in the Venom movie. Venom is born from a hatred for Spider-Man. Eddie Brock, as the comic story goes, is a journalist who gets a huge break when he exposes the identity of a serial killer. Only, Spider-Man eventually captures the real killer, and Brock is disgraced as a result. Brock's anger with Spider-Man attracts an alien symbiote that has recently been rejected by Spidey (long story), and together, they form the menacing Venom. That brings us to our next question...

How Will They Explain The Symbiote?

So, without getting TOO geeky here, the alien symbiote that bonds to Eddie Brock's flesh to help him create Venom originally bonded to Peter Parker's flesh after he fought in the Secret Wars... which took place in outer space. Naturally, the Spider-Man movies haven't tiptoed off of Terra Firma yet, so Peter Parker will not have interacted with the alien tech that gave him the symbiote -- meaning Eddie Brock, in this Venom movie, will have to come up with some new way to acquire the Venom suit.

Origins change in movies all of the time. For example, Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock doesn't have to be a journalist, and doesn't need to have a feud with Peter Parker, to make this Venom movie work. But the costume really needs to be a living, breathing symbiote that glides off of Brock's body and has its own personality for this to BE Venom. I can't wait to find out how they explain the costume's origins.

Will This Set Up The Black Cat And/Or Silver Sable Stories?

A month ago, we reported that, in addition to a Venom movie, Sony was exploring a Black Cat and Silver Sable film that would be set in the Spider-Man universe... even though, as our first question pointed out, we don't know if Tom Holland is contractually obligated to play Spider-Man in these movies, as well. The buzz on these spinoff Sony movies is that they will NOT take place in the MCU, meaning that Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) can't pop by like he does in Homecoming. But a Venom movie arriving in October 2018 could start to lay the groundwork for a larger story that explains how Black Cat and Silver Sable would need to be brought into this fold.

There can be ways for Marvel and Sony to share pieces back and forth, allowing Holland and a growing cast to tell stories in the Sony corner of this world. Because I don't get how Sopny builds this Spider-Man universe without Spider-Man. But the hiring of Tom Hardy is a great first step, and eventual casting on Black Cat and Silver Sable only gets us more excited.

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SPOILERS: Venom End Credits Scene | What Happens, and What It Means

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