If your chief complaint about existing superhero movies was that the main characters’ costumes weren’t black enough and their tongues weren’t prehensile enough, then today is your lucky day. On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Sony, having sent Spider-Man off to play with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is looking to revitalize another part of its superhero franchise: Venom. In order to bring the fan-favorite comic book character to life, Sony has enlisted Dante Harper to pen the script, Nerdist has learned.
What is particularly interesting about this project is that it will not connect to the Tom Holland-starring Spider-Man film that’s currently in the works. Rather, this will exist alongside that film but remain separate. The hope is that this new Venom film won’t just stand on its own, but that it will launch its own franchise. Given the havoc that Venom tends to wreak, this is a fascinating idea, and could perhaps allow Sony to create a more adult superhero film akin to Deadpool (albeit with fewer dick jokes per capita).
First created in 1988 by writer David Michelinie and artists Todd McFarlane and Mike Zeck, Venom quickly rose to become one of the most popular characters in Marvel’s stable. Venom itself, is an alien symbiote that latches onto a human host in order to survive. In exchange for using a human body as its own personal Airbnb, the alien lifeform grants its host a range of incredible powers, which rival those of Spider-Man’s.
The Venom symbiote first appeared in 1984’s Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8, in which the heroes of the Marvel universe are spirited away to a strange planet called Battleworld. After his costume is damaged in combat, Spider-Man touched a black orb, which quickly spread over his body and formed a new costume. Though the decision was originally intended to sell Spider-Man action figures, it wound up becoming a major plot point as the suit, which was secretly the alien symbiote, began trying to permanently bond with Peter Parker.
The symbiote reappeared in 1988, now bonded with disgruntled journalist Eddie Brock, who blamed Spider-Man for his woes. Calling himself Venom, Brock became one of Spider-Man’s deadliest and most frequent foes. Over the years, Venom has fought on the side of the angels, fighting crime as a vigilante, and even teaming up with Spider-Man on occasion (much to his chagrin). Brock isn’t the only human to have played host to Venom either. Mac Gargan, Ann Weying, Patricia Robertson, Angelo Fortunato, and most recently, Flash Thompson, Peter Parker’s childhood bully-turned-ally have all worn the symbiote suit over the years.
Marvel’s current iteration of Venom is Flash Thompson, an Iraq War veteran who lost both of his legs during a 2009 Amazing Spider-Man storyline, and became Venom a few years later under the auspices of a United States government black ops project. Currently, Venom is cavorting around the universe, hunting down a mysterious force that has been amassing weapons from across the galaxy in Venom: Space Knight. Now, the infinite blackness of space is nothing new to Venom; he has been fighting with the Guardians of the Galaxy for some time, but now he is out on his own. While I doubt this is the version that will make its way to the big screen, it would certainly be fertile narrative ground to explore.
That being said, it is currently unknown which version of Venom we will eventually see on the big screen. The last time we saw Venom in a feature film was in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace. This Venom spin-off has been a long time coming, though, with directors like Josh Trank and Gary Ross attached to the project at various points in time, as well as writers like Paul Wernick and Rhett Rheese (Deadpool).
Avi Ara and Matt Tolmach, who oversee Sony’s Spider-Man properties, will be producing and shepherding the project. Dante’s past credits include rewrites on the excellent Tom Cruise-starring Edge of Tomorrow, and co-writing the Jamie Foxx/Dermot Mulroney crime thriller Sleepless Night. Palak Patel and Eric Fineman will oversee the project for Sony’s Columbia imprint.
Who would you want to see play Venom? What storyline do you hope it follows? Let us know in the comments below.
Images: Marvel Comics
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