Spider-Man’s popular nemesis is finally coming to the big screen. But would Venom even be an actual spin-off, or a stand-alone film?
A Venom solo movie has been a dream project of Sony’s ever since the alien-symbiote clad villain made his cinematic debut in Spider-Man 3 (2007). But the path to the silver screen hasn’t been easy. Many previous attempts in launching a Spider-Man series of spin-offs, including Venom, have failed, no thanks to Sony’s rebooting the Spider-Man franchise twice. But now, not only is the Venom movie back on the table, it has an official release date.
As announced by Exhibitor Relations Box Office’s announced on their Twitter feed, the target date is October 5, 2018. Thus far, the film doesn’t have director, despite Alex Kurtzman (director-producer of this year’s remake of The Mummy) previously helming the project, as revealed in a 2014 interview with MTV News. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a script is in the works, with a working draft by Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinker already submitted for approval. If that latter name sounds familiar, it’s because Pinker was one the screenwriters for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). As for Rosenberg, his body of work includes such films Con Air (1997), High Fidelity (2000), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) and the upcoming Jumanji remake.
Of course, now that Venom is a go, the question is how will this connect to Spider-Man: Homecoming? Will it even be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? After all, the deal negotiated between Sony/Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios dealt with Spider-Man movies, but it’s unknown whether this also applies towards possible Spider-Man spin offs. If it doesn’t, we could be anticipating a film based off a comic book character created as a villain for Spider-Man, who has the same name as said Spider-Man villain, but with no connection to Spider-Man whatsoever. If that’s the case, then Venom might as well be a live-action adaptation of the video game, Prototype.
Marvel ComicsBut let’s say Venom does somehow tie-in with Spider-Man: Homecoming. How exactly would that work? As Sam Raimi learned the hard way with Spider-Man 3, to do a potential Venom movie justice, the filmmakers would first have to re-introduce the black costume, have it temporarily bond with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker for an extended period, then bond with someone else after Peter rejects it. They’d also have to reintroduce Eddie Brock and set up a motive for why he hates Spider-Man. Unless they decide to go with Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson, instead.
Either way, a Venom movie without Spider-Man, or one introduced without Sony properly building upon their new Spider-Man franchise, could have doomed to fail written all over it. As observed by Forbes’ Scott Mendelson:
A Venom movie disconnected from the Spider-Man mythos is about as appealing as Steel. But connecting Venom to this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, especially in the marketing, risks repeating the core Amazing Spider-Man mistake.
Also, let’s not forget Avi Arad, along with Matt Tolmech, is the producer behind this Venom movie. As revealed by the infamous Sony email hacks via WikiLeaks, Arad is Venom’s strongest advocate. He was also the one responsible for forcing Venom as the second villain for Spider-Man 3 against Raimi’s original choice of The Vulture, as documented in Sci Fi Wire. And we all know how well that turned out, don’t we?
Nevertheless, it will be interesting in seeing how this new Venom film will develop over the course of this year and the next. Or whether this will be the first of many possible Spider-Man spin-off films. By Mike McNulty