With Venom’s very own solo movie on the horizon, Sony Pictures are likely hard at work trying to find the perfect way to bring the iconic character to life on the big screen in a way that will excite fans without alienating casual audiences.
A fan favorite character that is a relatively recent addition to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, Venom has appeared in many different incarnations in the comics over the years, and has often crossed the line between sympathetic anti-hero and flat out supervillain, depending on the writing team of the time, and the direction that Marvel wants to take the character.
It’s widely believed that the upcoming Venom movie will take inspiration from the Agent Venom comic series, in which Peter Parker’s high school bully, Flash Thompson, takes on the role of Venom in secret missions for the US government. Considering the often brutal, violent nature of the character in the comics, it’s not surprising that Sony is aiming for a hard R-rating for their Venom movie, not least thanks to the success of other recent comic book movies like Deadpool and Logan.
But despite Sony’s eagerness to create a dark, violent Venom movie, there are some key events from the character’s appearances in comics that probably won’t be adapted for the big screen. Some of these ideas are either too violent or disturbing to be adapted, while others would be a significant challenge due to licensing issues with other Marvel characters (and one DC character).
Here are some of the weirdest Venom comic book stories that won’t be appearing in Sony’s upcoming film about Spider-Man’s evil alien doppelganger:
15. Venom Teaming Up With the Guardians of the Galaxy
Regardless of whether the Ultimate comics universe wants to admit it, Venom is an alien. The character is a symbiotic life form from a faraway planet, and as the Avengers always like to have an Earth hero on the roster for the Guardians of the Galaxy, it was only a matter of time before Agent Venom got a chance to fly off into space with Star Lord and his pals.
This period of Guardians history has its ups and downs. On the one hand, the Venom symbiote gets purged of all its anger and aggression, as it turns out that its species are actually naturally peaceful, and that this one symbiote is only quite so violent thanks to bonding with a psychopath for its initial host.
14. Venom Literally Eating Brains
Back in the Nineties, Marvel comics made the first big push to turn Venom into a gritty but ultimately likeable antihero. With characters like Spawn and Ghost Rider growing in popularity, it made sense to give this iconic Spider-Man villain his own chance at the limelight.
There was just one problem: Venom wasn’t all that endearing at the time. It’s hard to get behind a character who literally eats the brains of his enemies, and making constant references to this throughout his adventures was a good way to put readers off Marvel’s many attempts at kickstarting a regular Venom series.
Understandably, these days Venom spends a lot less time chomping grey matter, and the character is probably better for it. Considering that Sony wants Venom to be their new, edgy Spider-Man, the studio will probably err on the side of caution when it comes to Venom’s cannibalistic tendencies, even if they’re aiming for an R-rating.
13. Venom is the Cure for Cancer
In the Ultimate comics universe, rather than being an alien from another planet, Venom is a man-made scientific creation designed as the cure for cancer. Clearly, the project didn’t exactly achieve its goals, as the side effects are somewhat extreme to say the least.
That said, Venom is canonically able to cure cancer – or, at least, keep it at bay. Eddie Brock, the original host for Venom, contracts cancer at one point in the comics, and it’s revealed that, for years, Venom feasts on the adrenaline produced within Brock’s body as a result of the disease, while simultaneously keeping him alive in spite of his terminal illness.
Eventually, though, Brock decides that enough is enough, and he’s not able to live with all the killing that he’s forced to do while bonded to the symbiote. He removes the creature, and attempts to do some good with the rest of his short life by volunteering at a homeless shelter. To cut a long story short, though, this doesn’t stick, and eventually, Brock becomes Venom once again, because monthly comics are allergic to character development.
Either way, there’s very little chance that Sony will want to delve quite so deeply into the ideological struggle and depressingly morbid tale of Eddie Brock choosing a terminal illness over life as a monster, so be prepared for a somewhat less impactful version of the story when the Venom movie comes to theaters.
12. Venom Disguises Himself as Santa Claus
Back in the era when Marvel were first working to transition Venom from a psychopathic, murderous Spider-Man villain into a fully-fledged antihero (a process that is still ongoing), the comics publisher released a peculiar story in which Venom saves Christmas, through his standard strategy of threatening to eat the brains of random street thugs.
In the comic, Eddie Brock discovers that a group of criminals have been mugging charity collectors who dress as Santa Claus, and in order to set a trap for them, he uses the shapeshifting power of the symbiote to disguise himself as jolly old Saint Nick. This plan works a treat, and soon he’s found a group of criminals that he fully plans to murder, until an old lady points out that, in the spirit of the festive season, it would be nicer (and less hypocritical) to let them off with a warning.
The comic literally ends with Brock webswinging away, singing “Venom Claus is coming to town!” It’s worth assuming that, unless Sony gets Shane Black to direct the Venom movie, it probably won’t be set at Christmas.
11. Venom Bonds with Deadpool
Sadly, no matter how good some ideas might be, intellectual property rights often get in the way of a great comic book movie that’s accurate to its source material.
Deadpool is hugely influential to Venom’s backstory (albeit thanks to a retcon after the fact). While originally, Spider-Man finds the Venom symbiote in a prison cell on Battleworld during Secret War, it’s later revealed that Deadpool found it first, bonding with it, and no doubt making the creature even more violent and aggressive than it had been previously. After realizing that the symbiote is attempting to alter his mood and behavior, though, Deadpool decides it’s not worth the hassle, and returns it to its cage, only for Peter Parker to stumble upon it soon after.
Following Spidey’s rejection of the Venom suit back on Earth, the symbiote seeks out Deadpool again as its new host, and while temporarily pleased to be back with Wade Wilson, it soon decides that he’s not the perfect body to bond with. Deadpool, after all, has enormous respect and admiration for Spider-Man, and the symbiote hates the original wall crawler with a fiery passion after he abandoned it. So, instead, Venom goes off to find someone who hates Spider-Man as much as it does, leading it to Eddie Brock, whose career was ruined by Peter Parker.
While it’s not impossible for Sony to work out a deal with Fox that would allow Deadpool to show up in the Venom movie, this is hardly a priority for either studio. They’ve got bigger crossovers to deal with, so it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a Venom Deadpool on the big screen.
10. The Venom Mobile
Yes, once upon a time, Venom had his very own super car, just like Batman.
Except, unlike Batman, the Venom Mobile isn’t just a car that Venom drives around in. Venom is the car.
At one point in the comics, when trying to chase some thugs that escape in a car, Venom decides that two can play at that game. The symbiote absorbs a nearby wrecked junker that’s been stripped, and even lacks wheels, and fills in the blanks, bonding with the car and dramatically changing form as a result.
“Venom” (in this case, Flash Thompson) can still be seen behind the wheel of the car, but it’s pretty clear that the vehicle itself is actually alive in this form, with a huge mouth and long tongue indicating that this is the work of the symbiote’s ability to, apparently, bond with inanimate objects as well as living things.
It’s unlikely we’ll see anything like this in the Venom movie, which is a shame, as it’d be fun to see what other objects the symbiote could bring to life – anything from toasters to washing machines could become part of suit if needed, it seems, and while that’s an idea that’s too weird for the big screen, it’d certainly be hilarious to behold.
9. Bullseye Gets a Dog Stuck in Venom’s Eye Socket
It’s widely accepted within the Marvel comics universe that there’s not much that supervillain Bullseye can’t use as a weapon.
Sure, Hawkeye might have a better reputation with a bow and arrow, but in the hands of Bullseye, anything and everything can be used as a dangerous projectile, to be hurled at a foe with deadly accuracy.
This is even true of household pets. At one point, while dueling with Venom, Bullseye picks up and hurls a small dog at the alien monster, with such force that it gets lodged within the creature’s eye, partially absorbed into the symbiote.
Venom is not particularly pleased with this turn of events, but doesn’t even let it slow him down, continuing the fight while all the while the body of a dog dangles limply from his eye socket. There’s a good chance that this kind of imagery is probably a bridge too far for Sony’s gritty Venom movie, no matter what rating the studio is after.
8. Venom Goes Undercover as a Nun
One of Venom’s most useful powers is his ability to shapeshift into whatever form he chooses. While Peter Parker mostly used this talent to be able to quickly change from his outdoor clothes into his Spider-Man get-up, various other incarnations of Venom have used it regularly for undercover work, sneaking into different locations and facilities, in order to wreak havoc or apprehend criminals, depending on how noble his host might be.
At one point, Venom hides out in a church in order to stop an assassination attempt, and does so by mimicking a nun’s habit – clearly, someone at Marvel was tickled by the idea of this obvious juxtaposition of ideas, as it doesn’t take long for this particular “nun” to burst forth into full Venom glory, slaughtering bad guys in the clear view of terrified choirboys.
We’ve seen Eddie Brock’s warped view on religion in a Spider-Man movie before (with the character, played by Topher Grace, asking God to kill Peter Parker). It’s likely that Sony will want to stay away from this side of the character for their next incarnation.
7. Venom Beats Up Spider-Man and Superman at the Same Time
While plenty of classic comic book adventures simply can’t be adapted for screen due to different licensing issues (with Sony, Fox, and Disney all owning a piece of the Marvel pie), there’s one story from Venom’s history that would be even more legally complicated than any other.
Sure, we know that, in the right circumstance, Sony is willing to play nice and share Spider-Man characters with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s no way that DC would let Superman join the party as well, though.
Back in the Nineties, Marvel and DC teamed up a few times to create massive crossovers that saw each publisher’s most popular characters battling it out for various contrived reasons. One of these match-ups sees Venom drop into Metropolis for no particular reason, only to start slapping Superman across the face with suspicious ease. Eventually, Spider-Man shows up too, at which point, Venom starts throttling both heroes at the same time, because the writers were clearly just throwing whatever they could into the comic to make it as exciting as possible.
6. Venom Bonds with a T-Rex
There’s no denying that Logan is a great movie. That said, the personal, character-focused story is an exceptionally loose interpretation of its comic book source material, and foregoes a lot of key elements of the Mark Millar graphic novel in favor of focusing on the relationship between Wolverine, Professor X, and X-23.
Old Man Logan, on the other hand, is nowhere near as restrained in its use of fantastical characters and action setpieces. The book that inspired Logan sees a pacifist Wolverine acting as a navigator for a blind Hawkeye, as the pair speed across a post-apocalyptic USA in the Spider-Mobile, facing various villains and enemies along the way.
One particularly powerful image comes part-way through, as the pair find themselves trying to outrun an enormous tyrannosaurus rex, which is the current host for a Venom symbiote. The whole thing looks like a scene from Jurassic Park with extra comic book lunacy, and it’s understandable that it wasn’t included in Logan.
Sadly, the scene probably won’t appear in Venom either, if only because it’d be hard to set up a movie that features both an alien rage monster, and living dinosaurs. That said, stranger things have happened in comic book movies, so it might be worth Venom fans crossing their fingers.
One of the laziest practices in comic books involves the creation of a new, female character by essentially slapping a pair of breasts on a proven male superhero. For reference, feel free to check out Supergirl, Batgirl, Spider-Girl, She Hulk, and the original Ms Marvel, to name but a few. There’s something about seeing genderswapped versions of classic characters that really appeals to the writers and artists of the two major comic book publishers, whether or not fans actually have any interest in seeing this themselves.
Take, for example, She-Venom, a short-lived character from the Nineties, who is exactly what you’d expect. Original Venom Eddie Brock passes his symbiote over to his ex-wife, Ann Weying, who becomes a version of the character that has the slobbering, toothy head of venom, but who, from the neck down, resembles a naked woman who’s been covered in black body paint.
Strangely, there wasn’t a lot of call among fans to see such a confusingly sexy version of Venom again, and the character was very quickly retired, with a subsequent Marvel writer going so far as to kill off Ann Weying, just for good measure. This being the case, there’s pretty much a zero chance that this particular comic book story arc will ever get a big screen adaptation, much to everyone’s relief.
4. Venom is Killed by Spider-Man
Part of the reason why Spider-Man is such a compelling character comes from his strong belief in the importance of doing the right thing. Much like Batman, Peter Parker is opposed to killing in all forms, even if it means letting dangerous supervillains run wild (no doubt leading to the deaths of far more people as a result).
That said, while Peter is normally opposed to murder, the gloves are off when it comes to people who threaten his flesh and blood. In the Secret Wars tie-in comic Renew Your Vows, we see an alternate-universe version of Peter and Mary Jane, who were never subjected to Joe Quesada’s Brand New Day soft reboot, and who are not only still married, but who also have a young daughter named Annie.
When Venom breaks out of prison and comes after Peter’s family, something within the Web Head snaps, and he decides that, in this instance, he’s willing to do whatever must be done in order to keep his wife and daughter safe from a murderous psychopath – even if that means taking the life of his evil doppelganger. Spider-Man brings a flaming building down upon Venom, killing him, before retiring as Spider-Man in order to keep his family safe from future supervillain attacks.
No matter what direction Sony takes with their Venom spin-off, the company probably won’t want to use this story for the movie. Not only would it mean introducing an older, far more complex version of Spider-Man than audiences have seen previously, it was also involve killing off the flagship character for Sony’s planned cinematic universe. Aside from anything else, this would be tremendously bad for business.
3. Venom Bonds with Gwen Stacy
The Venom symbiote has a habit of infesting whatever super-powered host comes near enough to it. Marvel writers, it seems, are particularly fond of throwing Venom at whatever comic character they like, and are eager to see what comes out of these pairings. Clearly, Venom versions of popular heroes are good for book sales.
Considering the rising popularity of Spider-Woman, or, as she’s known only on the cover of her books, Spider-Gwen, it was only a matter of time before the hoodie-wearing alternate universe wall crawler ran afoul of the symbiote and ended up bonding to it, albeit briefly.
Of all the items on this list, seeing a Venom Spider-Gwen on the big screen might just be the thing that fans would be the most excited to see – if only because it would involve seeing Spider-Gwen in a live action movie.
There may be a legal issue that prevents Sony from using Spider-Gwen in their new cinematic universe, but if not, it would be absolutely incredible to see this version of the character appear on the big screen. Surely, that should help clear up the problem with Sony having already committed Spider-Man to the MCU!
2. Venom Becomes the Red Hulk Ghost Rider
Continuing the ridiculous pairings of Venom with any Marvel character who stays still for long enough, one comic story involves the symbiote bonding with the Red Hulk. As if that wasn’t enough, though, the Red Hulk is also the host for the Spirit of Vengeance at the time, meaning that the character becomes both Venom, and Ghost Rider, at the same time.
With the battle cry of “We am smash for vengeance”, the amalgam antihero fights to save Earth from a villain that wants to turn Las Vegas into literal Hell (more so than it is already), before breaking up into separate characters again, because Marvel clearly thinks that it’s possible to have too much of good thing.
Quite aside from the legal issues involved in combining Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Venom, there’s another reason why this probably won’t be appearing in a movie any time soon. If Sony kicks off their cinematic universe with this particular team-up (or another, legally distinct one like it), the entire franchise will peak far too early. Once you’ve given the world Hulk Ghost Rider Venom, how do you manage to top yourself?
1. Doctor Octopus Forcibly Controls the Venom Symbiote
As much as Peter Parker would like to be rid of Venom for good, the symbiote always seems to find a reason to bond with him periodically, like a clingy ex who refuses to move on even though they’re already in a committed relationship with someone else.
But what happens when the symbiote, desperate for some Peter Parker affection, infests Spider-Man, only to find someone else is in the driving seat of Parker’s body?
During the Superior Spider-Man comic run, when Doctor Octopus swaps bodies with Peter Parker and becomes Spider-Man in his place, the Venom symbiote attempts to get back together with Spidey, only to discover that the brain it’s infested is no where near as juicy and appealing as that of good old puny Parker.
Realizing the unbridled power that the Venom suit offers him, Doc Ock decides to keep the symbiote – much to the creature’s dismay. Try as it might to escape, the symbiote can’t break free from the Superior Spider-Man, until the Avengers show up to do the job forcibly.
It’s entirely possible that Venom could infect Doctor Octopus in the new Sony Spiderverse, but what’s less likely is that it would infect him while he’s masquerading in Peter Parker’s body. This story line is far too complicated for a single two-hour movie, and hardly something that would work in a longrunning movie series.
Venom’s had plenty of adventures over the past few decades, many of which vary wildly in quality and tone depending on the creative team that are working with the character. A lot of this inconsistency can be blamed indirectly on Venom’s popularity with fans – Marvel, hoping to capitalize on the large fanbase that the character has attracted, have often tried softening his public image in order to make him more appealing as an anti-hero, rather than as an all-out villain.
Now, Sony Pictures faces the same challenge, as the studio aims to adapt Venom to the big screen in a way that makes the character likeable, while maintaining his violent tendencies enough to secure a solid R-rating. As Sony plot out this movie, existing comic book stories will probably provide a helpful starting point for Venom’s big screen persona.
That said, it’s unlikely that any of the stories on this list will make it into the movie. There’s only so far Sony will be willing to go in adapting Venom comic books for a live action film.