Sony's "Venom" Taps Writer for New Film, Potential Franchise

"Venom" is swinging back to Sony. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has hired Dante Harper to write the script for the "Spider-Man" spin-off, which is intended to develop into its own franchise.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, who brought Sony's "Spider-Man" properties to life at the turn of the century, will produce and oversee the project.

The film and ensuing franchise are expected to be separate from the upcoming "Spider-Man" film starring Tom Holland, who will debut as the character in Marvel Studio's "Captain America: Civil War" thanks to an inter-studio deal.

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In the comics, Venom was originally a Spider-Man villain, an alien symbiote which brought out the worst in our friendly neighborhood Peter Parker. He has become more than that in recent years, after the creature was bonded to Flash Thompson, a bully-turned-government-agent. It is unknown at this time which version of the character will appear in the film, though it seems more likely it will be the Flash incarnation.

This won't be Venom's first live-action appearance. In 2007's "Spider-Man 3," the character was played by Topher Grace and went head-to-head with Spidey in the final act. The spin-off has been in development at the studio for years, with creative talent like Gary Ross, Josh Trank, Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci rumored to be attached.

In Feburary 2015, Sony and Marvel Studios struck a deal to share big-screen control of Spider-Man. After debuting in "Captain America: Civil War,", Spider-Man will appear in a co-produced "Spider-Man" solo film on July 7, 2017. Sony will still finance, distribute and own the Spidey solo films, along with retaining final creative control.

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