Over the last three decades, Venom hasn't just emerged as one of the premier Spider-Man villains, he is also one of Marvel’s staples. Once, he was a vengeful failed journalist, Eddie Brock merged with an equally vengeful alien symbiote that felt jilted when Spider-Man got rid of it. The combination led to a deadly and dangerous foe who knew all of Spidey’s weaknesses and even how to subvert Ol’ Webhead’s Spider-sense. Oh, he also had a penchant for eating brains.
Created by writer Todd McFarlane and artist David Michelinie, and debuting in Amazing Spider-Man #300, the alien symbiote has taken several hosts over the years; the Scorpion, Mac Gargan, and Spidey’s old high school bully Flash Thompson to name a few. It has produced several offspring, including bonding to Cletus Kassidy to become Carnage. In the comics, S.H.I.E.L.D. has listed it as one of the most dangerous and imminent threats to humanity. Now once again bonded to Eddie, the comic books are getting ready for this hopefully amazing movie.
15 LETHAL PROTECTOR
In the comic books, as Venom gained popularity, it was time to make him an anti-hero. So, Eddie Brock and Spider-Man found some common ground and called a truce, provided Brock stayed on the straight and narrow. He heads to San Francisco, lives with fabled mole people, and is hurt by the son of one of Brock’s victims and a slew of mercenaries.
When Spidey heads to the Golden State to check everything out, he winds up working with Venom to take on a group of new symbiotes. It's Venom’s first miniseries, called "Lethal Protector," and it's one of the stories that is the basis of the Venom movie. Probably no Spidey, but we’ll still see San Francisco, and at least one other symbiote.
14 PLANET OF THE SYMBIOTES
The other big storyline that is being used as the inspiration for Venom, is Planet Of The Symbiotes which was a series from 1995 that featured Eddie contemplating the Venom symbiote and his relationship to it, now that there are several other symbiotes running around and their hosts are all kind of going looney.
After successfully separating himself from the symbiote, the jilted alien lets out a primal telepathic scream to any and all other symbiotes that will hear it and they come to earth to invade it. What aspects of both this story and Lethal Protector will be used remain to be seen, but it sure does seem like we're going to be getting several symbiotes running around.
13 SONY'S MCU
Ever since the MCU kicked off in 2008, movie studios everywhere have been clamoring to try and copy the formula, especially Fox and Sony -- the other two studios who own Marvel intellectual properties. While neither has been all that successful merging all of their franchises, they have kept trying. Now that Sony/Marvel let Disney/Marvel use Spider-Man, they are again going to gear up and try to launch their own MCU.
While it hasn't been confirmed, Venom could wind up being the first film of the SMCU, most likely based on any post-credit scenes and/or box office receipts.
Michelle Williams joins the comic book film community by portraying Anne Weying. In the comics, Weying is Eddie’s ex-wife and a lawyer. She became She-Venom when shot by the Sin-Eater and the symbiote bonded with her to save her life. While she had been saved by the symbiote and unleashed her own reign of terror, she would eventually leave Eddie, realizing how addicted he is to the symbiote before succumbing to her own trauma.
In the film, she will be a DA and Eddie’s girlfriend. If she’s even a fraction as good in the role as her late boyfriend, Heath Ledger was as the Joker, then Anne Weying and the movie are in phenomenal hands.
11 SAN FRANCISCO SETTING
It's too bad the film won't be connected to the MCU. Considering the film takes place in San Francisco, there's a whole heap of Marvel-ous connections the creative team could have added to the MCU. In any event, rather than set the action in New York, like so many Marvel movies, the filmmakers took another cue from Lethal Protector and set the film to take place in San Francisco.
As already seen in some of the film’s trailers, the Golden Gate City’s epic hills make for some crazy motorcycle jumps, and no doubt a lot of web-slinging from the symbiote. The film joins a long line of great movies that have taken place in the 415. Hopefully, it will be able to hold a candle to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and Bullitt.
It's been years since there have been any comic books based on villains or anti-heroes. So it's actually a little refreshing to have Venom come out amidst all of these innocent heroes in the Marvel movies. Even Deadpool does the right thing! Eddie Brock's going insane from being bonded with the symbiote and has to convince the thing to work with him to be a modicum of a decent human being.
There's nothing saccharine here, just a tortured soul in the wrong place at the wrong time and now he's trying to keep the madness from coming over anyone else.
9 WOODY HARRELSON
Woody Harrelson’s acting style, no matter the role, makes you believe he's a man on the edge. Some roles he goes over the edge, most famously in Natural Born Killers, but also staying well within the lines like in The Hunger Games films. Those talents have are about to join forces with the Marvel Universe, since Harrelson has been cast in Venom.
Who he's playing is the big question though. That hasn't been announced as of this article posting. Which has led to a lot of speculation that he could be playing Cletus Kasady. In the books, Kasady is a deranged man who served time with Eddie. When the symbiote broke Eddie out, it left behind a piece of itself and it bonded to Kasady to become Carnage. While that origin story isn't going to be happening, if Harrelson is playing Kasady, there would be little doubt that Carnage couldn't be far behind.
8 HIS LOVE FOR HUMANS
When Venom debuted, he had a constant hunger and craving for brains. There were even toys that featured him stating as much. And yes, in the comic books Venom has been pretty graphic about that as well. Apparently, the Klyntar (the symbiote’s race) need to feed on certain chemicals to keep themselves going. Humans have plenty of those chemicals.
In both of Venom’s trailers, we've seen this character trait and it's even played up for comedy in the second trailer. It remains to be seen if Venom will actually be snacking during the film’s proceedings.
7 THE LIFE FOUNDATION
Here's a quick primer on the main antagonist corporation of Venom. The Life Foundation was created for the Spider-Man comics by the same creators of Venom, McFarlane, and Michelinie. They're generally portrayed as a survivalist group that builds doomsday ready communities.
In the film, the Life Foundation will be fronted up by Dr. Carlton Drake, played by Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). They're going to be responsible for bringing the symbiotes into existence and performing unlawful experiments on human beings. When Eddie Brock investigates the competition, all hell breaks loose.
As far as the film is concerned, and as far as we know, Riot is the lead villain, the symbiote that bonds with Drake. Superhero movies seem to enjoy shining a dark mirror on our heroes. Iron Man battles Iron Monger, Superman battles evil Kryptonians, and Venom will be fighting evil symbiotes from the Life Foundation.
The biggest and worst of these symbiotes is Riot. Originally not having a name, the toy companies were the ones who actually put a name on him. The twisted, hulking symbiote will supposedly be leaping from host to host throughout the film, finally bonding with Carlton Drake himself.
5 DIRECTED BY RUBEN FLEISCHER
Obviously, Venom is not your typical superhero, or even an anti-hero for that matter. It's a dark tale that has some dark humor. There's also plenty of violent mayhem and mischief. You need a director who can marry these two traits. They also probably needed someone who was not as pricey as a more established director, as was the M.O. of the early MCU.
At the helm of this symbiote ship is Ruben Fleischer. Among various TV shows, Fleischer has directed 30 Minutes Or Less, Gangster Squad, and most famously Zombieland. Those three films are all a little dark and twisted, which is exactly who Venom is and what Venom should (hopefully) be.
4 NOT TIED TO THE MCU
The deal between Sony and Marvel to share Spider-Man is, so far, based upon a finite timeline. Disney is planning on using Spider-Man over five films, three of which we've already seen. The other two are en route to theaters in 2019. Then, it's up to Sony to decide whether or not they want to keep sharing their toy.
But the deal also pretty much seals the fate on not seeing Tom Holland, or any other Spider-Man making a cameo in this movie. Basically, Sony is currently trying to build a connected universe of characters like Venom, Black Cat, and Silver Sable. All three are big time Spidey characters. Hopefully, Sony can sustain a shared universe without its biggest connecting thread. Or they need to just bite the bullet and allow Disney the rights to borrow the whole web-covered toy chest.
3 NOTHING TO DO WITH TOPHER GRACE
When dorky Eric from That '70s Show was cast as Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3, it was a head-scratcher. Whether it was his choice or Sam Raimi’s, the guy didn't even bother with a separate, distinct voice for Venom. So watching him just seemed like watching Eric Foreman in a Spider-Man suit.
Thankfully Grace and the film’s producers didn't even talk about this new iteration of the character. While Grace is a pretty capable actor (see his work in Traffic), his Venom wasn't well received. Seeing as that was a major letdown for fans everywhere, the new movie can't possibly do any worse, especially with someone like Tom Hardy playing the lead.
2 A NEW ORIGIN STORY
With no friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to be tied to, the whole saga of the black symbiote from the planet Klyntar and Eddie Brock will be original. There will be no shared hatred of Peter Parker for both characters to deal with on their way to becoming an eventual anti-hero.
From what has been seen from the trailers, Eddie Brock is a journalist who is being followed by a whistle-blowing employee of the Life Foundation. Eddie investigates, runs afoul of the Life Foundation, but escapes. He realizes that something else escaped too and has bonded with him. When the Foundation comes after his property, the symbiote protects Brock.
1 WE ARE VENOM
According to the trailers, Tom Hardy has a mousy little Eddie Brock voice that he's based on Woody Allen. Then, he develops his Venom attitude, using a brazen swagger. Instead of just being a guy in a suit, like Topher Grace was, he is actually putting thought into his character. We'll get to see the Venom and Eddie Brock dynamic that we've seen in the comics for years.
During the obligatory “What are you?” sequence, we get the answer that comic book fans needed - “We are Venom.” The filmmakers and Hardy are running with this aspect of the character- two entities sharing a hive mind.