Venom star Tom Hardy would love to see a sequel go R-rated and really explore the ‘ultraviolence’ of the material. Venom made his big screen debut in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, where he was played by Topher Grace, but it's fair to say his portrayal in the movie was a disappointment to fans. Raimi has since admitted he was essentially forced to include the character on the studio’s insistence, despite Raimi confessing he didn’t really like the villain or understand his appeal.
A number of Venom projects were touted in the years that followed, with Channing Tatum expressing interest in the role during The Amazing Spider-Man era. Sony eventually greenlit a solo Venom movie with Tom Hardy playing the title role. The project got fans excited by promising it would stick to the darkness of the source material, and that the title character would be biting off heads and limbs with gusto. The movie was also said to be inspired by the body horror genre of the 1980s, with directors like David Cronenberg and John Carpenter being cited as influences.
Sadly, Sony backed away from this R-rated version of Venom, with the movie being confirmed as a PG-13. It appears Sony is pursuing future tie-ins with Marvel’s cinematic universe and were concerned a gory horror take might compromise that possibility. In a new interview with MTV, Tom Hardy takes about how the character can fit into both a PG-13 and R mold, but that he’d love to explore a darker take in a future Venom movie.
To be fair the thing could fulcrum into R-rated. It can fulcrum into for youth or children. My littlest ones they watch Spider-Man and Venom quite comfortably, and Venom toys appear and Lego appear in my nostrils in the morning. So it’s not like they’re scared by him, but at the same time, there’s a lot with the real estate that you can actually imbue with a complete sense of gratuitous ultraviolence if you really wanted to. And I think you’ve got the right people for that job if you want to push it because that’s where I’d love to go with it. And I’d love to go through all The Avengers as well with him. But that’s above my pay grade.
It's worth noting that while many involved with Venom previously pitched it as a darker, bloodier take on a superhero movie, an R-rating was never officially confirmed. Mature comic book movies have started to become popular in recent years thanks to the success of projects like Logan, and while a gory Venom movie certainly would have set it apart from the competition, a crossover with the MCU is a much more lucrative direction to lean towards.
The future of Venom will naturally depend on how the movie does, and while it's tracking well, the decision to water it down might hurt its overall reception. Still, if Hardy were to appear as the character in a future Spider-Man project, its unlikely many fans would complain. While the actor is clearly excited by the idea of a more mature take on Venom, if the character does wind up crossing over with the MCU in the future, the odds of an R-rated solo movie shrink somewhere close to zero.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018