It's now been confirmed that Tom Hardy's Venom won't be comic-book-accurate in one crucial respect; his symbiotic form won't bear the spider-symbol. Sony Pictures' Venom may be an origin story for the tongue-slavering antihero, but the studio has rewritten the classic comic book version for the big screen.
Sony doesn't appear to want - or be able to - use Spider-Man in the film, meaning this version of the Venom symbiote never bonded with Peter Parker. While smart storytelling will allow Venom to become the wall-crawler fans know and love, that nonetheless means there will be real differences between the Venom of the comics and the one seen on the big screen.
Footage shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 has confirmed that this will lead to one very visible change. In general, Sony's Venom is remarkably comic book accurate, with a pitch-black costume that looks strangely organic. In the comics, though, this costume is complemented by a massive white spider-symbol, adding a sense of contrast to Venom's appearance. This is entirely absent from the movie version of Venom.
The sad truth is that, from a story perspective, this absence makes perfect sense. In the comics, there's a simple reason the spider-symbol is on Venom's chest. It's because the symbiote's first human host was actually Peter Parker, and it simulated a black Spider-Man costume on Peter's behalf. Peter eventually rejected the symbiote when he realized that it was affecting his hormones and making him more aggressive. That left a deep psychological scar upon the symbiote, leading to its bearing the spider-symbol in almost all future iterations. Naturally, given Spider-Man doesn't actually seem to be in Venom at all, the big-screen version of the symbiote will never bond with Peter. It would make absolutely no sense for the symbiote to then generate a spider-symbol. Instead, this version of Venom is simply pitch-black, with the only whites being the highlights around his eyes.
Oddly enough, there is still a comic book precedent for this look. The modernized "Ultimate Comics" version of Venom doesn't have a symbol either; what's more, just as in the Venom trailer, this version tended to use symbiotic tendrils rather than webs. These comics portrayed the symbiote as more of a monster in its own right, rather than a being that had been scarred by rejection. It's entirely possible the movie version of Venom lifts liberally from the Ultimate Comics range, which would certainly fit with the changed visuals.
This #SDCC post is brought to you in partnership with Regal Cinemas.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018