Sony recently surprised Marvel fans the world over with an announcement that after years of false starts, they’re going ahead with a solo Venom movie, with a Black Cat/Silver Sable film to follow. The news was met with mixed reactions, to say the least. Primary amongst the concerns is the fact that it’s already been confirmed that Venom is not going to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, meaning that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man won’t be making an appearance. This is bad news for comic fans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the idea is completely without merit. Fox’s recent Marvel efforts, especially Logan, have shown that MCU association isn’t the only way to tell a compelling Marvel story that works for audiences.
While Venom is predominantly a Spidey villain, he has had successful solo series in the past, and provided the right talented people are enlisted to work on it, there’s no reason why the film couldn’t be the sort of Venom movie that fans have been desperately clamoring for for years. With all that in mind, here are the 15 Things We Want From The Venom Movie.
Sony seems to be wasting little time in getting Venom off the ground. There are few concrete details known about it so far, but what we do know is mostly down to a casting call that was posted online. It’s slated to come to be released on October 5th, 2018 and shooting is set to begin at the end of this year. One of the more interesting tidbits gleaned from the post were the genres it was listed under, describing the film as an “Action/Horror/Sci-Fi”.
Venom isn’t the sort of character that you’d want to meet in a dark alley. He’s an inherently terrifying presence, and the idea of a malicious force possessing someone and controlling their actions is admittedly horrific. It would be a wise decision for the movie to lean into these aspects of the character. Many fans joked about Sony’s recent claustrophobic spaceship horror Life being a Venom prequel, but a scary take on the material could totally work. He’s almost literally a Xenomorph on steroids. None of the Marvel Studio films so far have explored the darker and scarier territories that comics occasionally dip into, and it would set it apart from the hefty competition and build in its own crossover appeal.
14. An R-Rating
We’re not drawing a hard line in the sand here; a PG-13 Venom movie could work. That said, it wouldn’t exactly be ideal. The symbiote is consistently portrayed as being about as violent and vicious as these costumed types get, and if we really want to be true to the character, we’re going to have to bump up the rating to something a little meatier.
There are already rumors that this is the way that Sony intends to go. Both Deadpool and Logan have shown studios that an R rating isn’t the box office killer it was once thought to be, as both films still managed to rake in piles of cash from satisfied moviegoers. Pushing for the higher rating could give the action more weight and the horror more bite. Sony could counter criticism over their decision to break away from the MCU by showing people exactly why their story couldn’t be part of Marvel Studios’ consistently PG-13 output. Who knows; if Sony manages to create a memorably mature tale that remotely rivals what Logan and Deadpool accomplished, a few years down the road, we could even be praising the decision to keep Venom out of the MCU.
13. Limited sequel set-ups
Sony’s last attempt at setting up their own branded Marvel universe was a mess. On top of the mountain of other questionable things included in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the decision to clunkily tease the future Sinister Six, with pre-fabricated villain suits like Doc Ock’s tentacles being shown in a secret Oscorp lab. It was a lazy attempt to connect their budding Spider-Verse together, and they’re going to have to be a lot smarter this time around.
Sony has a hard enough time convincing people that this movie is needed at all (or at least, that they should be the ones helming it), so the last thing they need to be doing is running before they can walk. If the Black Cat and Silver Sable movie is next on the slate, then eye-rolling teases aren’t going to cut it. Perhaps a throwaway reference or two could work, but the focus needs to be on Venom first and foremost. Nobody’s going to want to see your sequels if the first movie sucks.
12. Origin of the species
Since his first full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #300, Venom’s origins had been somewhat of a mystery, with several writers expanding on the symbiote’s history without one coherent take on where the alien species came from in the first place. This was until 2015’s Guardians of the Galaxy #23, which elaborated on how the creatures, now named Klyntar, came to be. What the Guardians find out is that the Klyntar are a hive mind of benign alien beings. They desire to keep the peace and have created an army to achieve that, bonding with strong and morally true warriors. However, if their host doesn’t meet the criteria, the Klyntar attached can become corrupted, leading them to become more primal beasts full of anger and violence.
There’s no real reason why this couldn’t be part of the Venom movie. It’s a cool science fiction concept that could easily be adapted for the big screen. The Venom symbiote itself is from a feral offshoot of Klyntars. While the others had chosen to feed off their hosts, Venom still wanted to bond with them, leading to his pals shunning and imprisoning him. He’s an outcast from a group of outcasts. It’s no wonder he’s a little clingy.
11. Extended symbiote family
Venom isn’t the only symbiote in the Marvel comicverse, of course. Carnage is the most obvious (we’ll come back to him), but there have been tons of other slavering alien beasts over the years. In the comics, doomsday preppers The Life Foundation used a sample of the symbiote to bond with their top security officers, creating five new horrors, namely Scream, Lasher, Phage, Riot, and Agony. There’s also the weird anomaly Toxin, established as the most powerful symbiote to date and possessing more heroic tendencies than his siblings.
Some of the characters are stronger than others, but all of them have the potential to be decent screen presences if handled correctly. None of them (except maybe Toxin) could support a movie on their own, but they could work well as supporting characters and may be worth considering when it comes to fleshing out Sony’s Symbio-verse. If they were bold enough to tackle Toxin, maybe they could leave out the part where Carnage is pregnant with him and he and Venom have something similar to a lovers’ quarrel. We’re not sure audiences are ready for that level of weirdness just yet.
10. The classic look
Putting aside story issues for a moment, we’ve got to talk about Venom’s look. Can we all agree that Venom’s appearance in Spider-Man 3 should be stricken from the record? It’s easy to see where Sam Raimi was going with his reluctant version of the black-suited antihero, but that doesn’t make it any better. When Eddie eventually became Venom, it was basically the recolored Spider-Man suit with a toothy alien face. There was no real size difference, and it made the character look a little pathetic.
Venom is huge in the comics. He’s incredibly physically imposing. This is due in part to Eddie Brock’s obsession with bodybuilding, which he turned to as a coping mechanism to deal with his life spiraling out of control. The dude is jacked when the symbiote finds him, and it builds on his impressive frame to become a towering monster. Venom should be a shifting mass of tendrils and teeth; an absolutely terrifying sight to behold. It’s an iconic design that deserves to be done properly for the movie.
9. Anne Weying
Anne Weying is a successful lawyer and Eddie Brock’s ex-wife. Brock’s slow descent into madness puts a strain on his marriage with Anne, and the pair divorce. Weying would often help Spider-Man out with relevant information about Eddie’s past. In the comics, Weying has managed to reason with Eddie numerous times, talking him down from his fits of rage.
Anne has also had some time bonded with the symbiote, once to save her life and once after being sent by Eddie to bust her out of prison. When Weying is She-Venom, she attacks with unbridled ferocity. After one such incident, Anne complains to Eddie that the symbiote made her kill. Eddie responds by stating the suit doesn’t make you do anything you don’t already want to do, leaving Anne stunned. We’re not saying to slap the suit on Anne straight away, but it could be a lot of fun to see a crazed female symbiote going on a violent tear through people who wronged her somewhere down the line.
Most of Venom’s solo stories have him playing the role of anti-hero. Venom’s obsession with Spider-Man act as a pair of blinders do on a race horse, and he’s usually not interested in hurting innocents or fighting anyone who isn’t in red and blue tights. When he’s cut loose, he does have a strange sense of morality. He’s played the hero on several occasions, becoming more of a vigilante than anything else, even teaming up with Spider-Man to save innocent lives. It usually doesn’t take very long for him to get bored and revert to his baser instincts, however.
While a movie doesn’t always need a hero, it’s usually a good idea to have a character that the audience can root for and get invested in. Eddie Brock is definitely not a saint, but he’s not the worst of the worst in comparison to other supervillains. He doesn’t want to take over the world or become all-powerful. He’s the result of several bad decisions who blamed all of his problems on Spider-Man, the very thing that drew the symbiote to him in the first place. Later hosts of the suit, like Mac Gargan, have shown that they can be much worse than Eddie, and haven’t displayed nearly the same restraint when it comes to the symbiote’s desire to eat brains.
Speaking of other hosts…
7. Open the door for other Venoms
Eddie Brock is undoubtedly the best-known Venom. Considering Sony’s past reluctance to go for a non-Peter Parker Spider-Man, it seems likely that Brock will be our Venom for this movie. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t introduce the idea of some of the other black-suited hosts. Former Scorpion Mac Gargan was a particularly deranged host with none of the moral qualms that Eddie Brock had, so some sort of role for him in the film would make a ton of sense.
Another potential character to add in the mix could be Lee Price, one of the more recent and interesting hosts. Price is a war veteran and a true psychopath. When the symbiote bonds with him, it actually finds Price’s evil intentions are even worse than its own and it tries to escape. It’s too late by this point, because it turns out that Price has a mind like a steel trap and is able to make Venom submit to his will. The symbiote fights against this and becomes the hero by default. A movie where Venom is forced to be the voice of reason could be a fun and unique take on the character, and the comic book movie genre as a whole.
6. Miles Morales
Venom may not feature Peter Parker swinging his way across Manhattan, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a Spider-Man. Sony already has an animated Miles Morales movie in the works, so we know that they have the rights to the character at the very least. Having Miles show up would help differentiate it from the Tom Holland’s OG web-head and provide all the wall-scaling punching action Spidey fans crave.
The movie could take inspiration from the Ultimate universe, where Morales has tangled with the symbiote several times over his web-slinging career. Would it be a bit of a cheat? Maybe, but Miles is a strong enough character with his own unique personality traits to warrant consideration. Comic book fans are used to separate continuities, so it shouldn’t be too hard to convince movie audiences to buy into the idea.
Sony could even have Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s animated Spider-Man adventure take place in the same universe as their Venom film, which would only further the studio’s goal of a shared universe to rival Marvel’s.
5. Flash Thompson/Agent Venom
Another way to get around the Parker-less situation could be to focus on Flash Thompson instead. While the character does have his own ties with Spider-Man, he’s less intrinsically linked to him and has a full and interesting backstory away from the web-head.
In the Agent Venom storyline, Flash is inspired by Spidey’s heroism and enlists in the army to fight in the Iraq War. He proves himself to be a brave soldier when his platoon is ambushed and he endangers himself to save his buddies. It comes at a cost, however, and his legs are badly injured, requiring below the knee amputation. Due to his wartime heroics, he’s later chosen to be part of a top-secret program that bonds a symbiote to a soldier host. When bonded with the black goo, Flash becomes Agent Venom and the suit regenerates his legs, as well as provides him with a suite of superpowers.
If replacing Eddie isn’t in the cards for this first Venom tale, then having Flash Thompson appear would be the next best thing, serving as a tease for later movies without resorting to corner-cutting. It would be undeniably awesome to see Agent Venom on the big screen.
4. A definitive Eddie Brock
If Sony is stubbornly shackled to having Eddie Brock as their lead, the least they can do is make their portrayal true to the spirit of the character, if not his printed origin story. Brock is mostly a tragic case. He made a bad call when working for Bugle rival The Daily Globe, and when he was fired, he spiraled down into a deep depression, losing everything, including his marriage. He allows himself to become bitter and resentful, and he works out like crazy to exact his revenge.
None of this specifically needs Spider-Man, although it could be awkward no matter what. The symbiote’s spider powers and look may take some explaining, but the core of Eddie’s character remains interesting. Spider-Man 3‘s Brock was a smarmy, two-dimensional jerk who got what he deserved when he’s fired by J. Jonah Jameson. He was hard to care about in the slightest, even when at his lowest point. The comic book Brock is infinitely better, and he could use a more faithful adaptation. Clear motivation and relatability are key tenets in making a character memorable, and Eddie has both in abundance.
3. Mature storytelling
Studios follow trends. That’s how they make money. Movies are still a gamble, but if a studio is making a film based on a popular property that promises to cater to the widest audience possible, investors feel that it’s less of a risk. Deadpool and Logan have proved that R-Rated Marvel properties can work. This is great, but more studios should look at why they worked, not just what they are. Deadpool was intentionally immature, but it also had all the violence and naughty language fans of the character wanted. Logan was a bleak, adult tale that could have easily been a Western if it didn’t have superpowers in it.
The Venom movie needs to take the lead from Logan and tell its own confidently mature tale if it hopes to attract attention and justify itself. The short film Truth in Journalism by filmmaker Joe Lynch featured a gritty, darkly comic take on the Eddie Brock/Venom character and sparked conversation over a grittier take on the material (even at Sony itself, with producer Adi Shankar reportedly on the short list of potential directors for the Venom project).
2. Leave the window open for future MCU integration…somehow
There’s no use crying over spilled milk. What’s done is done and the deals have been made. Venom will not be in the official MCU canon, and that’s a real shame. However, if Sony and Marvel plays their cards right, there could be the potential for future MCU appearances somewhere down the line. It seemed impossible that Spider-Man would ever appear in a Marvel Studios movie just a few short years ago, but here we are with a Spidey appearance in Captain America: Civil War and a starring turn in this year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Deals and agreements are made all the time, and if enough people want it, it can happen.
If Sony nails it (stranger things have happened) and Venom becomes a hit, the idea of combining the two universes — or at least the sharing of character rights — could be put back on the table. For now, we’ll have to wait to see what happens, but it would be a huge missed opportunity if we didn’t get to see Venom and Spider-Man face off properly at some point in the future.
When any conversation about Venom is brought up, a mention of Carnage usually isn’t too far behind. In the comics, serial killer Cletus Kassady bonds with the spawn of the original symbiote and becomes the remorseless Carnage, one of the deadliest foes Spider-Man has ever faced. Unlike most of the other Spidey villains, he enjoys killing, often doing so without rhyme or reason. Venom even recognizes the danger Carnage poses, and the pair have clashed countless times as a result.
Having Carnage in the movie makes Venom the lesser of two evils, which could be interesting. The appearance of Carnage does inherently necessitate an R-Rating and a macabre tone, however, to be done any kind of justice. If the movie is heading in that direction, Carnage is the perfect character to introduce into the proceedings. One of the best ways of establishing who a character is is by demonstrating what they’re not. Venom is nowhere near as violent or as murderous as Carnage is, and it’d be interesting to watch the results play out on the big screen — even is Spidey is nowhere to be found.
What do you want to see in the Venom solo movie? Let us know in the comments.