Venom star Tom Hardy is getting more involved behind the scenes on the franchise, as newly-announced Venom 2 director Andy Serkis confirms that he helped write the sequel's story. Sony's previous attempt to launch a Marvel movie universe of their own with The Amazing Spider-Man films infamously failed in 2014, and helped pave the way to the studio sharing the web-slinger rights with Marvel Studios. However, their second attempt is going much better so far, with the first Venom becoming a smash-hit at the box office (despite unflattering reviews) and the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Man being showered with accolades last year.
This success has spurred Sony to move forward with their plans for an entire series of Spider-Man villain and antihero movies (beginning with the Jared Leto-led Morbius the Living Vampire in 2020), in addition to Spider-Verse sequels and spinoffs. Venom 2 is also happening and will presumably pay-off the first movie's post-credits scene, which introduced Woody Harrelson as the curly-haired maniacal serial killer Cletus Kasady and even had him name-drop his symbiote counterpart, Carnage. Venom director Ruben Fleischer won't be returning, though, due to his commitment to finishing another Sony sequel in the form of Zombieland: Double Tap. Instead, he was only recently replaced by the Man of a Thousand Mo-Cap Faces himself.
Speaking at the TCA press tour to discuss FX's upcoming A Christmas Carol adaptation (where he plays the Ghost of Christmas Past), Serkis revealed (via Gamespot) that Hardy was "very involved" in writing the story for Venom 2 with Venom cowriter Kelly Marcel. He added that he's only in the "beginning stages, so I've got some very clear ideas about the journey, [and what] I'd like to see visually, and how we can take the characters into another direction".
Hardy, who is also costarring in and producing A Christmas Carol, only has one previous writing credit in the form of FX'x grisly period drama Taboo (which he co-created with his father, Chips Hardy, and Steven Knight). He also starred in the show's first season as James Keziah Delaney, a dark and mysterious antihero who returns to his home in England in the early 19th century to stir things up, having spent the last twelve years in Africa doing who knows what. Between that and his role as Eddie Brock, Hardy definitely has a taste for playing edgy rabble-rousers and presumably wants to bring more of his personal touch to Venom 2.
Serkis is clearly a fan of similarly violent and strange fare himself. His second film as a director, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, was a far bloodier and more adult take on The Jungle Book than Disney's famous animated and live-action adaptations, and drew mixed reviews but also praise for its slick visual effects and mo-cap performances. Taking on a comic book superhero sequel like Venom 2 feels like the natural progression of his filmmaking career - and with Hardy and Marcel (who, lest we forgot, also wrote Fifty Shades of Grey) writing the story, it promises to be just as bizarre and bonkers as its predecessor.
- Morbius (2020) release date: Jul 31, 2020