Tom Holland’s Spider-Man could easily crossover with Tom Hardy’s Venom in future movies – because the story foundations are already there. It is a pivotal time for Peter Parker and his wider cinematic mythos. As a result of Sony and Marvel Studios’ unprecedented deal in 2015, Marvel assumed creative control over the core aspects of Spider-Man’s mythology for the past few years. In the meantime, Sony delved into various other projects, from the acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to the burgeoning Spidey villain universe, including Venom, Morbius, Kraven the Hunter, and the troubled Black Cat and Silver Sable film.
However, Sony and Marvel's Spider-Man negotiations broke down, and even though there’s still a slim chance of a compromise, Sony now looks set to carry on charting Spidey’s future alone. But this parting has raised many questions: Will Tom Holland’s Spider-Man be able to reference his part in the MCU if he’s no longer technically included in it? And how will Peter - and the MCU - continue after this development, especially after the cliff-hanger ending of Spider-Man: Far From Home?
If there is one certainty in this, it is that Sony will want to capitalize on both the popularity - and the box office successes - of Spider-Man: Far From Home and Venom. Indeed, it's been reported that a Spider-Man and Venom crossover was always the plan, so a cinematic reunion between Spidey and his archenemy seems increasingly likely. And, while skeptics may argue that Holland’s Spider-Man and Hardy’s Venom are incompatible, there’s a lot of leeway for retcons to be made so that the two characters can bond once more.
Venom Avoided The MCU - So It Could Be Retconned In
Since it was first announced, Venom was criticized by fans for being too far removed from the traditionally crucial influence of Spider-Man as well as the familiarity of the MCU. But now that Holland’s Spider-Man is being cast adrift, these ties to the MCU have become something of a hindrance to the wall-crawler’s future. From his idolization of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to his participation in the war against Thanos (Josh Brolin), it will be jarring if Spider-Man’s ongoing story is unable to call back to these events or communicate with the advancing MCU. Working on the widely-held assumption that some sort of narrative middle ground will be reached for Spidey, it is here that Venom’s outlier position works in Sony’s favor.
Like the America of the MCU, Venom takes place in a rather typical, modern setting. But the film also comes without the baggage of many references to an extended continuity. Eddie Brock’s story unfolds in San Francisco which, outside of the Ant-Man films, is relatively untouched by core Marvel properties. There are numerous oblique references to the character’s mythos, but otherwise the main bulk of Venom’s plot spans several days. And much like a Phase 1 Marvel movie, it is intensely focused on its own central character and standalone story.
If Venom and Spider-Man are to share a quasi-MCU space, Venom’s lack of inter-film connections can be easily explained by his distance from the franchise’s preferred setting along the East Coast. In short, the makeup of Venom’s world can easily accommodate whatever a Spider-Man crossover demands. Furthermore, Venom’s continuity could actually adapt the longstanding rivalry between the two characters with just a few retroactive changes.
How Spider-Man Can Fit Into Venom's Past
In Venom’s comic book origins, Eddie Brock’s successful journalistic career ends when he rushes to exclusively report on the villainous Sin Eater’s alter ego. Yet Brock’s source is unreliable, and Spider-Man inadvertently discredits both the journalist and source when he captures the real Sin Eater and exposes the killer’s true identity. Brock loses his job at the Daily Globe newspaper, and his rocky relationships with his father and Anne Weying break down. As Brock continues to spiral downwards, Spider-Man becomes the focal point of his hate and frustration, which is later compounded by the symbiote’s fury of being rejected by Peter Parker.
Obviously, this is not quite the same story that Venom relays. The movie completely sidesteps Spidey’s role, and his impact upon Brock. However, Venom does manage to reference the original tale in several ways. During their dinner date, Anne (Michelle Williams) significantly refers to Eddie being run out of New York due to “the Daily Globe incident.” The particulars of this scandal are never referred to again, but its implied that Eddie suffered for his hubris - as he does later in the film, and in the original comics. Therefore, it stands to reason that this incident could be recontextualized in a future film, with flashbacks depicting the young Spider-Man accidentally wronging Brock in some way during his crime-fighting career.
Additionally, this is not the only link between the current film versions of Spider-Man and Venom. The surviving astronaut from the Life Foundation shuttle was John Jameson, who has played an important role in unwittingly putting the symbiote on Spidey’s path in various animated adaptations. Above all else, though, Jameson is the son of the Daily Bugle’s infamous owner, J. Jonah Jameson, who was surprisingly incorporated into the MCU during Far From Home’s post credit scene. In summary, these ties between Spider-Man and Venom’s continuities could bridge the gap between the two and provide ample storytelling possibilities for the potential crossover. But could Sony take that extra step, and replicate the saga of the black costume wholesale?
Could Peter Parker Have Got The Symbiote First?
Brock and Venom may become something of an antihero, but their hatred and mistrust of Spider-Man has ebbed and flowed for years across their traditional mythos. This compelling antagonism is borne not just out of Brock’s resentment, but from Peter’s initial enjoyment of the suit’s dark influence prior to realizing what was happening before he rejects its power. As stated earlier, this particular combination of tragedy and drama does not exist in Venom. But upon closer inspection of Venom and Spider-Man’s MCU timelines, Sony could rework their established stories to include this section of the tale in order to lend a greater weight to their confrontation.
While many key events of Spider-Man’s MCU progression are dated (such as his resurrection in Avengers: Endgame, and adventures in Far From Home occurring in 2023) Venom’s time-frame is unspecified by any dates - and this is significant. After Eddie is fired and Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) seizes the symbiotes, the film contains a time jump, during which Drake experiments on the life forms and Brock languishes in self-pity.
The crucial part of this is that, while Drake may have had three symbiotes contained for that period (Venom included), they may not have remained that way the entire time. If the Riot symbiote was able to traverse across Malaysia and end up in San Francisco in this sizable duration, then it stands to reason that the Venom symbiote could have temporarily escaped and been bonded with Spider-Man for a while before it is rejected and recaptured by the Life Foundation.
Indeed, if Sony wishes, Spider-Man’s dalliance with the black suit could have unfolded after the events of Far From Home, meaning that the bonding of Eddie and Venom would happen at an even later point in the shared timeline. It would undoubtedly be a radical change to two established stories, and such choices may stretch continuity somewhat, especially by placing Venom’s story so far into the future. Yet edits such as this, to both Spider-Man and Venom, are certainly not outside the realms of possibility. Moreover, if Sony is willing to make the bold move of crossing the MCU’s Spider-Man with their own version of Venom, then hopefully, that can deliver a story that does justice to both characters, and intrigues cinema-goers enough to buy an admission ticket.