Recent history has shown us that studios aren’t above pulling fast ones on audiences. 10 Cloverfield Lane made it all the way to a trailer before we knew it even existed, The Woods turned out to be a secret sequel to The Blair Witch Project, and Split managed to keep its secret long enough to shock audiences with its tie in potential.
This all works rather well with Internet fan culture. Between Reddit and comment sections, fans love to gather to discuss all of the “could be's” of upcoming releases. These days, fan theories seem to develop traction of their own, leading to whole swaths of the film fan community to develop their own head canons and unique ways of viewing popular films. To some it enhances the experience while others choose to ignore it, but with the recent spate of studios utilizing the ol’ bait and switch on their projects, some fans have taken to trying to uncover secret connections before the movie’s release. Life is the latest movie to get a surprising fan theory which connects it to another cinematic universe.
According to fans on some corners of the internet, the upcoming Sony Pictures release may, in fact, be a surprise prequel to Venom (via Bloody Disgusting). As unlikely as Life being a secret Venom prequel is, there are some intriguing coincidences that have been pointed out by fans that form an interesting argument that would certainly make the idea work, at least in theory. It’s a bit convoluted but, with a little context, it makes a kind of sense.
Our first clue is in the trailers for Life. The film follows a group of scientists on the International Space Station who find the first proof of life beyond Earth in the form of a cluster of inert cells, which the team begins to grow in a lab until it becomes a sort of nebulous blob with long tendrils that begins to terrify the ISS crew. Comic book readers will note the superficial similarities between that description and the venom symbiote, a formless alien blob which attaches itself to a host and enhances their innate negativity to become monstrous.
It happened to Peter Parker following Secret Wars, leading to the black Spider-Man outfit in the comics, which Parker eventually defeated. This led to symbiote attaching itself to Parker’s photojournalist rival Eddie Brock, whose hatred for Parker was enhanced and led to the birth of Venom, one of the most popular villains in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.
Infamously, Venom was portrayed in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, which leads us to the second step in the fan theory. An eagle eyed Reddit user noticed that one of the few shots in the trailer for Life that didn’t take place in space shared a remarkable similarity with a shot in Spider-Man 3. In fact, they’re basically the exact same shot. Below, you can see the shot from Life:
And here’s the shot from Spider-Man 3:
Granted, similar shots—even shots as similar as these—aren’t exactly a new phenomenon in cinema. Shots are recycled constantly, especially in the world of the big budget blockbuster. These shots are so similar, however, that it’s intriguing to wonder whether or not Sony was trying to connect Life and Spider-Man 3 in the minds of viewers, at least unconsciously. But that’s not all that’s making some fans wonder about the possibility of a Life-Venom connection.
Sony recently announced a release date for Venom, which felt a bit out of nowhere considering the state of Spider-Man, which is currently being joint curated by both Sony and Marvel Studios for inclusion in the MCU. With Spider-Man: Homecoming just around the corner, the announcement felt a bit odd, and went to show just how little we know about how the new partnership between the studios will work in actuality. Given the announcement’s proximity to the release of Life, some are viewing this as more than a mere coincidence.
To top all that off, there’s the fact that Life was penned by co-writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who also wrote Deadpool. Their work there was viewed as a subversion of the comic book genre which makes some fans theorize that perhaps the pair are working towards the ultimate subversion with Life. A secret comic book movie would fly directly in the face of all marketing philosophies for comic book movies, as the general consensus is to bombard potential audiences with pre-release hype. Releasing a movie as big as a Venom prequel without anyone knowing about it would represent the largest bait and switch ever pulled off, which would be in line with their subversive ideas. And clearly the pair have a great knowledge of Marvel properties, which means that they’d be the perfect choice to pen something like this if studios decided to go that route.
That’s a huge if, however. As fun as this theory is, you can bet it’s not the case. Humans do love to find patterns where none exist, and that seems to be what’s going on here. For one, while Sony still has a certain amount of control over the properties it owns, they work in partnership with Marvel and no one from Marvel appears to be involved. As separate as the MCU, the Fox universe, and the Sony universe all are, Marvel’s stamps are all over those releases, and it seems unlikely that they’d agree to keep their logo off marketing in this case. Furthermore, Marvel wouldn’t want anything to detract from the release of Homecoming, and a secret Venom movie would potentially do that.
No, this is a case where something looks great from far away but on closer inspection reveals it’s held up by little more than hopes and dreams. Would it be cool? Absolutely. Is it possible? Anything is. But possibility pales in contrast to probability, and the probability here is pretty well close to 0%. That’s okay though. Usually what you see is exactly what you get, and even without the Venom connection, we still have a movie about a monster from space terrorizing a space station. Odds are, Wernick and Reese will bring the same level of genre subversion they brought to Deadpool and Zombieland to Life, and we’ll probably be left with something that’s entertaining even without a connection to the Marvel universe.
Source: Bloody Disgusting
- Life (2017) release date: Mar 24, 2017