Just because Sony is working with Marvel Studios on Spider-Man: Homecoming and its sequels, that doesn't mean that it's given up on the superhero game.
No, for Tom Hardy will be taking on the role of Peter Parker's alien-costumed nemesis, Venom, in a movie that is coming surprisingly quickly. It's all a bit confusing, but as long as no one mentions Spider-Man 3 we should all get along fine.
Venom cast: who's in it?
Having divided fans as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and dodged a bullet by dropping out of Suicide Squad, Tom Hardy is bravely taking another stab at the superhero genre by playing Eddie Brock, the down and out journalist-turned-monster/anti-hero.
Rumour has it that they will be using motion capture to recreate the gigantic, slavering monster that is Venom.
Venom's other castings have been kept largely under wraps, but we know that Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed and Obvious Child's Jenny Slate are also on board in mysterious roles. Reid Scott, Scott Haze and Kelly Marcel have also been rumoured for the movie, as has Woody Harrelson.
Zombieland and Gangster Squad's Ruben Fleischer will direct the film.
Venom and the MCU: are they connected?
Sony had big plans for its Spider-Man movie universe, such as a Sinister Six villainous team-up and an untitled female-led movie, but those seemed to fall apart when Andrew Garfield's Amazing Spider-Man series imploded and Tom Holland was cast as Peter Parker for an MCU/Sony crossover.
Then things got really confusing, with the heads of Marvel Studios and Sony contradicting each other over whether Venom would exist alongside Holland's Spider-Man.
To cut a long story short, the answer seems to be sort of. Holland won't be in Venom, but although the film has no other connection to the MCU, Sony chief Amy Pascal said that Spider-Man and Venom operate in the same world, and that one day their paths could cross. Confused? Us to.
As Venom is a character very much defined in relation to his nemesis, Spider-Man, we're really not sure how his solo movie will work without the webslinger. Let's just say that we're very interested to see what Sony comes up with (and if it's any good).
Plot details are few at the moment, although Sony has said that it is going for a horror vibe that will channel directors like John Carpenter and David Cronenberg.
Here's what you need to know about Venom to get you started:
During an adventure off-world, Spider-Man acquired a new, shapeshifting black suit that enhanced his already-amazing abilities and responded to his thoughts. Eventually, he realised that it was also affecting his emotions, making him more aggressive and unpredictable.
He was able to get rid of it, but the suit – revealed to be an alien "symbiote" with its own thoughts and desires – found Eddie Brock, a washed-up journalist who unfairly blamed Parker and Spider-Man for his troubles. He embraced the symbiote, transforming into the monstrous Venom.
Venom has been portrayed as both a straight villain and a troubled anti-hero over the years, and though there have been various hosts, the suit always comes back to Brock eventually.
The movie is also reported to feature Carnage, the symbiote offspring off Venom that bonded with a serial killer called Cletus Kasady. Carnage exists to make Venom look like a nice guy in comparison.
There is also a theory that other symbiotes could show up, including Agony, Phage, Riot, Lasher and Scream, who were created by the sinister Life Foundation. Williams is rumoured to become She-Venom, too.
Fleischer has also said that he was most influenced by two Venom comic stories – 'Lethal Protector' (which saw Venom try to dedicate himself to doing good) and 'Planet of the Symbiotes' (where Earth is attacked by an army of alien-costume invaders).
Venom release date: when's it out?
Shooting began in October 2017.
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