What is life? While this question has plagued philosophers for millennia, the age-old conundrum took on new meaning this year when fans began to suspect that the film Life may have secretly masqueraded as a prequel to the superhero movie Venom.
On the surface, this may sound as mystifying as life itself, but in reality, the alien star of Daniel Espinosa's film shares some striking DNA with Spider-Man's archenemy, suggesting that the two are perhaps linked in some way. So is #Life really a Venom origin story, or have we read one too many fan theories from the deepest, darkest corners of the web? The answer may surprise you.
Why Did Fans Suspect That Life Is A Venom Origin Story?
Redditor toomuchsoull succeeded where the likes of Plato failed when they appeared to discover the meaning of Life in one of the film's officials trailers. Noticing that an eerily similar shot was included in both the promo for Life and Spider-Man 3, connections were soon drawn between the aliens who star in these two movies. Was it just a coincidence that Sony Pictures officially announced a 2018 release date for Venom just a day after the story broke?
After all, many of the team working on Life are somehow connected in a web of Spidey-related coincidences, leading fans to believe that Life is in fact a prequel to Venom's first solo venture on screen. Key among these is the fact that together Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick wrote an early treatment for a Venom movie before succeeding with Deadpool. To make up for the fact that their Venom script was ultimately rejected, Reese and Wernick may have incorporated the symbiote into Life as a way to rectify this.
As if that wasn't enough, #SonyPictures had worked on every Spider-Man movie to date before producing Life. Sony also just so happens to own the rights to every character from the Spider-Verse, including our friendly neighborhood symbiote Venom.
Marvel's symbiote and Life's Calvin also appear to be connected in a variety of unexpected ways. While many differences between the two can be easily accounted for — yes, Venom hails from the planet Klyntar in Marvel's original comics — it would be easy enough for the people behind Life to retcon the symbiote's origins. The way in which Calvin devours human hosts from the inside is also slightly different to the way in which Venom bonds with his victims, but both are gloopy piles of goo that aggressively feed off innocents to survive.
It's simple to see then how fans began to suspect that the entire script of Life was simply an extended supervillain origin story, detailing exactly how Venom's symbiote reaches Earth. It would be a bold move, one that would hit fans in the gut just like M. Night Shymalan did a few months before with the surprise reveal in Split. But is Life really a Venom prequel?
So Is Life The Official Prequel To Venom?
"Yes, the answer is yes!"
These were the words screenwriter Wernick uttered when Comicbook.com interviewed him on the two films' possible connection. But his tone was reportedly on the jokey side of things.
However, after he and Reese explained how the rumors started, neither writer outright denied any connection between the two films, even discussing how such a link would work:
"That's the symbiote! Eddie Brock's on Earth. The symbiote's on Earth, finds Eddie Brock.
"He realizes he can hide on the inside of a human."
Director Espinosa also refused to deny links between his latest film and the classic Spider-Man villain while talking to Collider.
Cynics could argue that Sony never intended to make Life a prequel to Venom, but once they realized that the connection was there, the filmmakers may have been instructed to neither confirm or deny this intention, drumming up extra publicity prior to the film's release.
From a business perspective, this would be a sound strategy, but Sony potentially has far more to gain in the long run if it's eventually revealed that Venom is in fact a sequel to Life.
Could Venom Secretly Be A Sequel To Life — Still?
At the end of Life, we see poor David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) trapped in a web-like substance created by Calvin, moments before two fishermen open his pod and release the alien upon the world. Whether the creature was beginning to bond with Jordan, symbiote style, or whether it was simply taking its sweet time devouring his body, it's not difficult to envision a Venom movie opening where this disheartening scene left off. Just imagine if the solo Venom film continued with one of these fishermen entering a crowded area, masking Calvin inside his body, before eventually coming across Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock.
While it seems unlikely that an initial connection was planned, Sony could now retroactively link the two movies together in one story. After all, #Venom is still in the early stages of production, so it wouldn't be difficult to find a way to link Hardy's film with Life, even if it's just a small reference for the fans. But remember: At first 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn't part of the Cloverfield universe either, yet once director Dan Trachtenberg took over, the film was retrofitted to merge seamlessly with the work of J.J. Abrams.
Whether Sony decides to retcon Venom into a #Life sequel now or further down the track, this would be the perfect way to kickstart Sony's Spider-Verse, generating interest without the need for Spider-Man himself. Sure, Life didn't blow the competition out of the water upon its release, but even the screenwriters admitted to Yahoo! Movies that their latest film "could reasonably be considered a prequel" to Venom, which would undoubtedly generate renewed interest in the story.
These days, every Hollywood film released wants to be as successful as the latest comic book movie, but some may now be taking things a step further, secretly starring superheroes without us cinemagoers even realizing it. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, though. Life finds a way, after all.