This is straight-up crazy. Pretty much out of the blue, Sony has announced it will release a Venom movie on 5 October 2018 in the US, directed by Alex Kurtzman.
One of the many versions of Venom. Image: Marvel
The news, first reported by ERC Box Office, is very surprising, considering no one has heard a peep about a Venom movie for a long time.
What we do know is Sony has been trying to do a Venom film for years. The character was more or less forced into Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 and afterwards several people worked on different versions of his story, including Kurtzman, who then went on to make The Mummy. Last year, news broke that writer Dante Harper was working on a script that would reintroduce the character as the star of his own franchise, unrelated to the new Spider-Man films starring Tom Holland. But that was the last we heard of it.
With this announcement coming only from Sony and not Marvel, it seems likely a standalone take on the character is still the plan. However, with a character whose history is so closely tied to Spider-Man, and a new Spider-Man movie coming out, you have to wonder what exactly is the approach -- and who, exactly, will be involved.
For some clues, we turn to the comics where Venom has been a standalone character for a while. In recent storylines the symbiote has been bonded to Flash Thompson, providing a more heroic take on the character on Earth and within the Marvel cosmos as Agent Venom. Then, in his latest ongoing series, he's reverted back to villainy with a new criminal host. So the idea of introducing a Venom on his own isn't completely crazy. However, most moviegoers are sure to wonder what the story will be without Peter Parker and the iconic storyline about the black symbiote suit.
Anyway, it's incredibly odd for this film to pop onto the release schedule so suddenly. We contacted Sony for comment or clarification but had not received a response at time of writing.
Additional reporting by James Whitbrook