Riz Ahmed is in talks to join the cast of Sony Pictures and Ruben Fleischer’s Venom movie as a Marvel Comics character. After Sony’s first crack at a Spider-Man shared universe, which would have launched in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, was a nonstarter due to lower-than-expected box office returns and poor reviews, the studio struck a deal with Marvel Studios to introduce the web-slinging Peter Parker (Tom Holland) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Sony is still planning its own superhero universe using characters typically associated with Spider-Man – but not Spidey himself.
So far, Fleischer’s Venom is the farthest along in development, with a 2018 release date locked down and a star in Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road), as well as a script penned by Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg. Sony is also developing a Black Cat and Silver Sable movie aptly titled Silver and Black, which currently has a director attached in Gina Prince-Bythewood (Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger) but has yet to cast the two titular roles. Now, Venom continues to move ahead by starting to fill out the rest of its primary cast.
Variety is reporting that Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is in talks for a mystery role, though it’s said to be a “popular Marvel Comics character.” According to Variety reporter Justin Kroll, additional actors up for the part include Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), and Matthias Schoenaerts (Red Sparrow).
In terms of what we know about Sony’s first Spider-Man spinoff movie, Venom is expected to begin filming this fall and the villain Carnage will also reportedly appear. Plus, Hardy is expected to play the Eddie Brock version of Venom; Topher Grace previously brought the character to life in the final chapter of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, the much-maligned Spider-Man 3. It’s unclear what character Ahmed would play should he sign on to Venom, as well as how the character would fit into the overall film Fleischer and Sony are creating.
Of course, much has been reported and said about how Sony’s Spider-Man spinoff universe connects to the MCU, if at all, with Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige and Sony’s Amy Pascal offering seemingly conflicting statements. As of now, it seems Venom will be separate from the MCU, but Sony is constructing their superhero universe in a way that it could connect, should Marvel ever wish to do so.
That said, though the MCU is arguably one of the strongest universes and brands in Hollywood at the moment, Sony is bringing in some major talent for Venom. Ahmed is a rising star in Hollywood; he co-starred in Disney and Lucasfilm’s Rogue One last year in addition to earning an Emmy nomination for his role in HBO’s The Night Of. With Ahmed in talks to join Venom, which already has a talented star and director in Hardy and Fleischer, the movie seems poised to be able to stand on its own separate from the MCU.
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