Sony Pictures has made no secret about their plans to fast-track their upcoming Venom solo film, which was recently brought back from the dead following the extremely positive reception of Tom Holland‘s portrayal of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War and the positive hype surrounding Spider-Man: Homecoming. They backed that up earlier today when they announced via their official Twitter that Tom Hardy had been cast as Eddie Brock/Venom! Check the official announcement below which also contains the official release date and Hardy in a fresh Venom t-shirt:
But that’s not all. A report by Deadline has revealed that Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad, Zombieland) has signed on to direct, beating out previously rumored contender Adi Shankar. Fleischer was previously rumored to be in the running to helm Suicide Squad 2, but seeing as that job belongs to Mel Gibson (if he wants it) it makes sense he would end up on another comic book film. The report also goes on to reinforce that this film will not be a spinoff of Spider-Man: Homecoming nor will it be connected to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, it will be the first film in what is unofficially being called their Spiderverse, standalone films featuring Spider-Man supporting characters. Additionally, Eddie Brock is described in the film as “[being] able to converse and have a relationship with the symbiote, which culminates to him becoming Venom.”
First off, let me just say that Hardy as Venom has me incredibly excited. He’s a self-admitted fan of the character and was rumored for the role way back in 2015 when Drew Goddard was signed on to direct and it seems the studio agreed. He has the physicality and acting chops to do the part justice and make up for Topher Grace‘s portrayal in Spider-Man 3. Having said that, I am and have always been against Sony trying to craft their own shared cinematic universe around secondary Spider-Man characters, yet not connecting it to the MCU. The whole reason these characters work is because of their relationships with him. It makes no sense for Venom, Jessica Drew, Silver Sable, Silk or the Sinister Six to exist in their own films independent of Spider-Man. The only way to counter that would be for Sony to cast their own Spider-Man, but that would completely undermine the amazing job Marvel has done handling the character, not to mention also being confusing.
This all just reeks of Sony trying to profit independently from Marvel’s hard work instead of continuing to jointly profit from their efforts. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited for this film. I just hate that we won’t get to see Hardy’s Venom (or the rest of what will be an amazing shared universe if they keep this up) in the MCU.