Talk about going from nought to sixty before you can say alien symbiote. The surprise announcement that Sony has scheduled a Venom standalone for 2018 has knocked the #comicbook universe flying. The outer space stranger will be finally getting his much-deserved screentime after a lackluster appearance in Spider-Man 3 back in 2007. Topher Grace's maligned performance was one of the worst in the Spideyverse (and that is saying something), and while all plans for any form of #Venom spin-off were blasted back into space where they belonged following the collapse of the Andrew Garfield era of films.
#Disney have remained quiet on how/if a #SinisterSix movie will fit into its universe, while #Sony could take the Venom entity into a dark new chapter of the Spideyverse. The Mummy's Alex Kurtzman was previously attached to the project, but even with a now director-less project, #SpiderMan franchise aficionados Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach will produce the film, while Edge of Tomorrow's Dante Harper will write the script. Can a new face for the alien race give us the Venom we all deserve?
Presumably the story will focus on the life of Eddie Brock, a loudmouth reporter whose life spiraled into depression when he was exposed for framing the wrong man for murder. Close to suicide, Brock sought solace in a church, where an alien symbiote known as "Venom" bonded with him. All it takes is a quick google to see that Supernatural's Jensen Ackles has been banded around a lot for the part, while for the "Grace" of God, hopefully Topher won't return. So, who else could stick on the black gloop and swing into action? Here are eight actors for the non-eight-legged part in Spider-Man lore:
1. Will Poulter
Known for: We're The Millers, The Revenant
What at first may sound like a ludicrous casting, all you have to do is remember that Poulter was once attached to play Pennywise in the remake of IT, then let your imagination do the rest. Poulter is a jack of all trades, treading the comedy scene for We're The Millers, to action in Maze Runner, and a more serious time with The Revenant. With his "butter wouldn't melt" face, Poulter could be perfect to play Eddie Brock before his spiral into the dark world of Venom and them embrace the madness beyond.
2. Boyd Holbrook
Known for: Gone Girl, Logan
James Mangold's Logan was a near-perfect swansong for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart's time with the X-Men, while Boyd Holbrook stood out as the mechanically-handed Donald Pierce. The wise-cracking southerner slithered his way through the film's screen time, but sadly felt slightly underused. There were no big action sequences for Pierce and we were dying to see him go hand to claw with Jackman's Wolverine. The actor is currently tooling up to lead the fight against a different alien in Shane Black's The Predator as a good guy, but he clearly has a talent for playing the bad boy.
3. Jack O'Connell
Speaking of bad boys, could the rough 'n' ready thug from Skins take on big ol' Brock? The Venom alien was attracted to Brock by feeding off his mental instability and anger, and if there is one emotion O'Connell has shown us plenty of, it is anger. The character of Cook in the UK version of Skins premiered in the third season, and spent the next two years beating people up or throwing himself into a berserker rage. Elsewhere, O'Connell starred with Julia Roberts in Money Monster, where he played an equally unhinged man who lost everything — sound like Eddie Brock to anyone else?
4. Aaron Paul
Known for: The Last House on the Left, Breaking Bad
If saying the word b*tch over and over again has got a bit tiring for Aaron Paul, could the Breaking Bad alumni sink his teeth into something a little more venomous? Paul rightly deserved his Emmy for his superb acting in Breaking Bad, while his move into Hollywood hasn't been as high-profile as Bryan Cranston since the duo stopped making meth. With an intense scowl and cheeky chappy attitude, Paul would be perfect for the downtrodden Eddie Brock. Moving him from Walter White's second in command to a full-blown villain could be a master move for Sony.
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5. Eric Dane
Known for: Grey's Anatomy, Burlesque
If we forget his days as Multiple Man in X-Men: The Last Stand, Eric Dane could return to the Marvel universe in a glorious blast of black gloop. Dane's time on Grey's Anatomy had him as suave surgeon Mark Sloan. With his "come to bed" eyes and cocky demeanor, there is always something smarmy about Dane's performances. It may make him instantly dislikable, a.k.a perfect Venom fodder, but Dane's swagger would be perfect so slip into the symbiote suit.
6. Michael Pitt
Known for: Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal
If I had my way, I would cast Michael Pitt in everything, but alas, Hollywood won't let me. For those unfamiliar, Pitt played doomed Jimmy Darmody for the first two seasons of HBO's Boardwalk Empire with a bubbling sense of lunacy under his hushed voice. It is a big deal to outshine the likes of Steve Buscemi, but at times Pitt certainly did. He also ruled in the critically-acclaimed home invasion film Funny Games, and took on the part of a gleeful Mason Verger for Season 2 of Bryan Fuller's Hannibal. With a penchant for psychos, Pitt has this one nailed!
7. Bokeem Woodbine
Known for: Total Recall, Fargo,
Bear with me on this one, Woodbine may currently be playing one of the (many) Shockers in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but does that really mean he can't play Venom in the standalone? Woodbine's villain credentials come particularly from his time as Mike Milligan on FX's Fargo, a role he got only two days after auditioning. His part as the no-nonsense mobster was a man who literally frightened the bejesus out of me. Because we don't know how Venom will turn out in terms of rights of the MCU, the ball is in Disney's court for this one.
8. Henry Rollins
Known for: Bad Boys II, Sons of Anarchy
Henry Rollins may be getting on a bit in his years, but if an older Eddie Brock is what you are looking for, roll on up. The 56-year-old has the right look for "classic" Brock, flexing those bountiful biceps with a military stance. Eddie has a long history of anti-hero status, which would fit Rollins perfectly. Even when he is playing a "good guy" role, there is still something unnerving about his booming voice and vein-popping neck.
So, what do you think? Venom's 33-year tenure has also included the creature taking over Brock's ex-wife Ann Weying, so the perfect way to round off the film could be to see Brock perish, only to see the likes of Charlize Theron pick up the mantle as "The Bride of Venom."
With Venom essentially playing the murderous counterpart to Spidey, it is unclear whether the solo-film will fall in line with #TomHolland's portrayal in the #MCU or strike out on its own. Certainly Venom would be more suited to the current trend of R-rated superhero films, while this would also spell good news for other fan-favorite Carnage.
Venom may be pretty damn fierce, but die hard Spider-Fans really want to see Cletus Kasady's Carnage brought to our screens. Kasady was a sadistic killer who burned down orphanages and pushed grandmas down the stairs before a spell behind bars. Don't even get me started on that one, Prison Break's Robert Knepper is the only man for Carnage, so case closed. However, with Venom firmly scheduled for October 5, 2018, a whole universe of Symbiotes could soon be finding their way into cinemas.
Check out the venom fight from Spider-Man 3, and don't forget our poll below!
Who would you like to see play Venom?
(Image source: Marvel)