X-Men movies producer Hutch Parker has joined the Venom 2 production team. After trying but failing to launch a shared universe of films based on the Marvel comic book characters which they own the screen rights to with 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony seemed to settle on a formula for success in 2018. The studio released a Venom movie last October that garnered over $850 million at the global box office, only to follow that with the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a couple months later.
Now that they know for certain Venom is a cash cow, Sony is stepping up its game for the sequel. Andy Serkis will lend his expertise in the area of effects-heavy storytelling to Venom 2 as director, with multiple Oscar-winner Robert Richardson serving as cinematographer. Meanwhile, Oscar-nominees Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams will reprise their Venom roles as Eddie Brock and Anne Weying in the sequel, with Woody Harrelson playing the big bad Cletus Kasady/Carnage (a character he briefly brought to life in Venom's mid-credits scene).
According to THR, Parker will serve as a producer on Venom 2, joining Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, and Matt Tolmach on the film. The outlet's sources claim Parker actually joined the project several months back (at the request of Sony Pictures head Tom Rothman), so this move isn't a response to the Spider-Man character's much-publicized departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in August or anything else that's happened recently.
Parker became a producer on Fox's X-Men movies beginning with The Wolverine in 2013. He ended up working on hits like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Logan during his run on the Marvel comic book film franchise, in addition to flops like Dark Phoenix and the Fantastic Four reboot - which is to say, he doesn't have a spotless track record with Marvel adaptations, heading into Venom 2. Even so, his involvement bodes well for the Venom sequel and further shows that Sony is serious about building upon the previous movie's commercial success, while at the same time hopefully improving its quality in the eyes of critics.
With Venom 2 aiming to begin production in November, the odds remain in favor of the film taking the October 2, 2020 release date that Sony currently has staked out for an untitled Marvel movie sequel. The first Venom began production in late October 2017 and reached theaters at the beginning of the same month a year later, so the turnaround wouldn't be too much smaller for Venom 2 in that scenario. And as for whether a certain web-slinger will show up in the sequel now that he's out of the MCU: it's a real possibility, if nothing else.
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