For years, Sony has been trying and failing to get a solo Venom movie off the ground, either through introducing the character in previous Spider-Man Cinematic Universes, or simply developing solo films with no buildup. Thanks to the shared custody deal with Marvel Studios, the company is now on its to a third try, and it looks like it'll finally be the charm -- the film for everyone's favorite Symbiote character is actually a thing that'll be arriving late next year, with Tom Hardy in the lead role.
A big question that's been hovering over this film from the first announcement is how you make a story about Eddie Brock work without Spider-Man. Now, it seems that we've got our answer as recent set photos indicate that the movie will involve components of the character's recent Marvel Comics incarnation: Agent Venom.
Eddie Brock may be the longest running character to be called Venom, but he isn't the only one. Many have held the mantle, from the Scorpion to the son of a crime lord. (Neither of these ended well for either Symbiote wearer.) The most important, though, is Flash Thompson, aka Agent Venom. Despite the similar names, Agent Venom isn't a man who hates both Spider-Man and Peter Parker; he's the high school bully, and later good friend of Peter, and is the Marvel Universe's #1 Spidey fan.
Inspired by the heroic actions of the wall-crawler, Flash enlisted in the military, which eventually led to an injury that resulted in his legs being amputated below the knees. Later on, the military gets him the Venom Symbiote, allowing him to walk again and take on the moniker of Agent Venom while performing missions in the name of honor and duty. Flash and the Symbiote wound up having a rather eventful tenure together as Venom, becoming both an Avenger and Guardian of the Galaxy, a Space Knight, and managing to "heal" the Symbiote so it could regain its true, non-villainous nature. (Look, it's comics, just go with it.) It wasn't until last year that Flash lost the Symbiote, who then found its way back to Eddie, and thus, Venom became whole again.
Tom Hardy playing Eddie Brock and decked out in military gear is a heavy tease that elements of Flash's backstory will be transferred to the actor's character. That, in all honesty, isn't exactly abnormal in superhero media these days -- in fact, it's part of how legacy characters are updated for a modern time. Spider-Man Homecoming, for example, borrowed elements of Miles Morales' backstory to give to its young Peter Parker, right down to his best friend Ned (long theorized to be a version of Mile's friend Gangke), while Young Justice's Dick Grayson took his bo staff and technological genius from Tim Drake's Robin. Likewise, longtime Flash fans have noticed that Barry Allen has been borrowing Wally West's mannerisms and general shtick for quite some time.