Sony has announced that the popular Spider-Man villain, Venom, will be getting his own movie to be released on Oct. 5, 2018. This was originally the date that Warner Bros. had planned to release Aquaman, but after the DC film was pushed back to December, Sony took advantage of the opening, allowing Venom to swing in and pick up the comic book slack.
Venom's first live-action appearance was as one of the main (of frankly too many) antagonists in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, the last film in the original Spider-Man trilogy. There have since been rumblings that Sony was trying to spin the character off for his own film, but with very little momentum.
Now, though, with a release date set, fans can start preparing for a film that has been teased for nearly a decade. Perhaps one of the most interesting questions regarding Venom — outside of this crazy Life theory — is what, if any, relation it will have to Spider-Man. As we know, Spider-Man currently exists within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to an unprecedented partnership between Marvel and Sony. But where does this leave Venom?
Should Venom exist within the MCU?
Spider-Man's current status in the MCU essentially leaves two possible scenarios open for the recently announced Venom film: It either also exists as part of the MCU, or is unrelated to the Spider-Man lore. The latter is an astonishing possibility. Venom is so intimately connected to Spider-Man, it is difficult to imagine a film about the villain removed from Spidey's universe.
While it is currently unclear whether Venom will be connected to the MCU, all signs are pointing in the opposite direction. When it was announced in 2016 that Sony was developing a Venom film, the Hollywood Reporter stated that the film was meant to "stand on its own" and "also launch its own franchise" — not promising signs for it being part of the MCU.
The short answer, though, to whether Venom should exist within the MCU is: absolutely. Having a Venom movie without acknowledging Spider-Man would be like having a Joker stand-alone movie without ever mentioning Gotham... or Batman! Well, it may not be quite as flagrant a misstep. But still, it would be weird.
What could Venom look like in the MCU?
Outside of how odd it would be for Venom to take place in a universe with no Spider-Man, having the film exist in the MCU would make sense from a franchise-building point of view. Sony can still plan their Venom franchise — in whatever form it will take — while also taking advantage of the established universe that Marvel has created.
For example, should Sony decide to go with the Flash Thompson incarnation of Venom, instead of the Eddie Brock version we saw in Spider-Man 3, this opens up the possibility of a crossover with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. After all, Agent Venom — as Flash Thompson was known when attached to the Venom symbiote — was once a member of the hilarious team of misfits.
Could Agent Venom then appear in a third Guardians of the Galaxy film? Sure, but only if Venom were to take place in the MCU. And the timing would at least work. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be released on May 5 of this year. The team will next appear in Avengers: Infinity War in 2018, and likely the sequel in 2019.
This means that a third Guardians of the Galaxy, which director James Gunn all but confirmed in an interview with Complex, would likely not hit theaters before 2020 — two years after Venom. By then, Venom (or Agent Venom, for this to work) would be well-established, allowing him to cross over with the Guardians. It is also interesting to note that Flash Thompson initially joined the Guardians of the Galaxy at the request of the Avengers. Could that happen in one of the Infinity War movies?
While all of this is no more than wishful thinking, that doesn't change how cool it would be for Venom to expand the already massive MCU. For now, here is a trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, because well, it looks awesome.
Sony's Venom will be released on October 5, 2018. The film is currently without a director, but has a script written by Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner. Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach and Spider-Man: Homecoming's Amy Pascal will be producing the film.