Say the name 'Venom' to any superhero fan, and they tend to instantly think 'Eddie Brock'. Brock is the classic Venom: the bearer of a dangerous symbiote, an insanely slavering tongue, and a habit of referring to himself with the royal 'we'. Over in the comics, though, it's been a long time since Eddie Brock has worn the Venom symbiote. Now, Marvel has revealed that's about to change — and, suspiciously, right before Spider-Man: Homecoming...
What's About to Happen?
May 2017 will see the release of Venom #150, an oversized anniversary issue featuring tales from Venom writers old and new. Robbie Thompson and Gerardo Sandoval will revisit the cosmic world of Venom: Space Knight, while David Michelinie and Ron Lim will reprise their fan-favorite Venom: Lethal Protector Series — but the real excitement is in the main story.
As Marvel announced in a press release:
"Reunited, and it feels so good! Or, is it bad? Either way you swing it, Eddie Brock is back, and he’s bonding with the symbiote once more ahead of the can’t-miss VENOM #150 – the oversized anniversary spectacular coming this May! Series writer Mike Costa is joined by superstar guest artist Tradd Moore for an oversized main story featuring Eddie’s return to the pages of Venom. Bonded together again, Eddie and the symbiote are web-slinging their way across New York City. But, is their relationship as harmonious as it once was? Or is their bond more sinister than ever?"
It's an interesting twist, especially among rumors that #Marvel is dialling back on their classic 'Legacy Heroes' and returning to classic interpretations of their characters. But perhaps the most intriguing part of this is the timing — Venom #150 will hit shelves shortly before the release of #SpiderManHomecoming. Is it possible Marvel is preparing for a renewed interest in Eddie Brock? Could Homecoming introduce us to Peter Parker's erstwhile nemesis?
Could Venom Enter the MCU?
Back in October last year, there were reports that we can expect some surprises in Homecoming:
“... there will be a surprise appearance from a character that is central to the Spider-Man mythos, one who will play a larger role in upcoming films. We just can’t confirm who it is at this time.”
Most fans believe this "surprise appearance" clearly points to the 2019 Homecoming sequel (explaining why that's as-yet-untitled). Up until now, my best guess has been Ezekiel, setting up a "Spider-Verse" arc; but is it possible that we're about to meet the #MCU version of Eddie Brock?
If Marvel did decide to set up a future Venom film, it's not hard to see how they could develop the idea. Spider-Man will go from the street-level of Homecoming to the cosmic stage of #InfinityWar. What's more, even the mysterious Avengers 4 releases before the Homecoming sequel. We don't quite know the relationship between Infinity War and Avengers 4 yet, but both are sure to be cosmic adventures — meaning Tom Holland's Spider-Man literally has two cosmic blockbusters before the Homecoming sequel. Remember that the Venom symbiote is an alien, and that even in the comics he acquired it while on another world. Is it possible he'll pick up the symbiote while clashing with Thanos?
Additional Evidence from the Set of 'Avengers: Infinity War'
Now we come to the most intriguing piece of evidence to date, from the set of Infinity War itself. Marvel released a celebratory video when they started filming — and eagle-eyed viewers soon spotted a fascinating detail. Although Tom Holland did his level best to hide it, he was wearing motion capture gear around his wrists. Given he's playing Spider-Man, it's a no-brainer that this is to do with shooting webbing.
This is actually crucially important. Marvel didn't use motion capture to simulate web-shooting in Captain America: Civil War, and we know from set photos that they aren't using motion capture in that way in Spider-Man: Homecoming either. They haven't needed to; the MCU's Spider-Man has very visible, slightly bulky web-shooters around his wrists. Motion capture simply hasn't been necessary — until, evidently, Infinity War.
In another intriguing hint, Tom Holland deliberately wore a zipped-up jacket to hide his costume. Robert Downey Jr. was in casual clothes, Chris Pratt was in costume, but Tom Holland didn't want to let us see what he was wearing.
All the evidence points to a costume-change for Spider-Man in Infinity War. Is Tom Holland filming scenes in the black costume, which will ultimately be cast aside to become Venom? After all, this symbiotic costume generated its own webbing, which would fit with the motion capture.
A Sony Snag
There is a snag, though. Although Sony made a deal with Marvel Studios to share Spider-Man, they're still vaguely hoping to do their own thing with some potential spinoff franchises. In March last year, we learned that Sony was actually considering launching Venom as a standalone franchise! Tom Rothman, Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Motion Pictures Group, explained:
"Venom... is being envisioned as a franchise apart from and unrelated to the upcoming Spider-Man movie in the works with actor Tom Holland."
It was a statement that boggled the minds of Spider-fans; how could you make Venom work without Spider-Man? Evidently, Sony wasn't particularly confident themselves; at the time Rothman told us that we'd soon be hearing “real news as opposed to speculative news”. Almost a year later, we haven't heard a peep about this Venom project.
The key point, though, is that Sony was clearly working on Venom even as Marvel was putting together its pitch for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now, it's entirely possible that plans have changed; if a week is a long time in politics, a year is a millennium for a film studio! Still, Sony's surprising ideas obviously complicate the picture quite a bit — but not in an insurmountable way.
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Right now, this is — at best — only an intriguing fan-theory. We know that Marvel Comics likes to synergize the comics and the films where possible, and we know that a mystery character is set to appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming. This, combined with a series of cosmic events and a costume change for Spider-Man, raises some tantalizing possibilities; that Sony has abandoned their idea of a separate Venom franchise, and that the Lethal Protector himself is about to make his MCU debut.
Do you think Venom will be set up in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'?
(Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)