Sony is trying to differentiate itself in the shared superhero universe game by leaving its flagship superhero (Spider-Man) alone for a bit, in favor of exploring the darker side of things via two villain-centric movies, Venom and Sinister Six.
While everyone is curious as to how a blockbuster villain team-up film is going to play with audiences, the character of Venom actually got a live-action movie adaption in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 - to almost universal disappointment amongst fans. That being the case, the Venom movie is under a ton of scrutiny, as fans wait to see how director Alex Kurtzman (co-screenwriter of Star Trek Into Darkness) and writer Ed Solomon (Now You See Me, Men in Black) are going to realize the character as the centerpiece of his own film.
Speaking with SPINOFF, Kurtzman was asked what it takes to realize the character of Venom onscreen so that it proper fits with his legacy on the page - as well as which version of the man beneath the symbiote suit we're going to see. According to Kurtzman:
Yeah, before last Friday came out, we started kind of roughing out a story. Ed Solomon’s going to be writing it very soon. I can’t tell you too much, but I’m really excited about it.
I would not say [picking the incarnation of Venom is] an easy choice. I would say that there are quite a few things about Venom that are interesting. Venom had several different iterations, and there are several things that are very unique, interesting and specific. And so I think we all want to make sure that we’re making the right choices for a character that’s so beloved.
For those who don't know: in the long and sordid history of Spider-Man lore - across multiple forms of media - the Venom symbiote suit has been worn by no less than Peter Parker, Eddie Brock (the most famous), Mac Gargan (aka Scorpion), Flash Thompson and even Harry Osborn (in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series). That's not counting the full range of mythos surrounding the character - all of which is game for the filmmakers to draw from. Of course, if fan approval is the key, making Eddie Brock the primary focus is the safest bet.
Then again, Amazing Spider-Man's Flash Thompson (actor Chris Zylka) has gotten a major boost thanks to his role on HBO's The Leftovers, so don't count Flash-Venom completely out of the picture, either. The story of how Flash serves in Iraq and loses his legs (only to gain power from the Venom symbiote) has obvious real-world parallels that would make for a stronger film arc than the classic Eddie Brock revenge story (just sayin'). The filmmakers would be wise to keep options open, and pressures from the fan base out of their ears; in the end, we all just want a better movie Venom than we got the first time around...
Right now, there is rumor that the Venom movie is titled Venom: Carnage and that it arrives in 2017. If both sides of that rumor are true, they point to an interesting picture. Sinister Six has a fall 2016 release date, and if shared universe tradition (and current Spider-Man speculation) is any guide, both a Black Cat and Venom movie could easily be spun out of S6, leading into the 2017 of those female and anti-hero films (with the Venom movie also introducing a major franchise villain in Carnage).
It's the one play that seems most likely right now (using S6 as the necessary foundation for the other spinoff films), as the actual Amazing Spider-Man installments have done little to actually kick a shared universe into high gear. No doubt, by the time The Amazing Spider-Man 3 rolls around in 2018, Sony wants to have a much bigger universe (read: an event film) to offer fans. With three character spinoffs (and a lot of new characters in play), they could easily do just that. (Maximum Carnage, anyone?)
Sinister Six remains set to hit theaters on November 11th, 2016; the Spider-Man female superhero movie and Venom are expected in 2017; and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 will arrive sometime in 2018.