Sony unveiled the first teaser trailer for Venom Thursday morning, and while fans didn't get a money shot of Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock covered in the alien symbiote, there are enough clues to begin speculating on how the film will revise the anti-hero's origin story. Specifically, whether Spider-Man plays a factor in the character's conception, which is a big question fans have had considering how closely the characters are tied to one another in the comics.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, Spider-Man joins with the alien symbiote while he's in space, participating in the events of 1984's Secret Wars. Upon returning to Earth, Spider-Man brings the symbiote along with him, and continues wearing it until he realizes its negative effects on his persona and health. Eventually, Eddie Brock -- who has a personal grudge against the wall-crawler -- comes into contact with the symbiote, and their shared hatred for "the Spider" leads to the creation of Venom.
After watching the Venom trailer, it's a safe bet to assume that these events will not unfold on the big screen. For starters, it would be too convoluted to explain how the symbiote originated from a cosmic game being played by superpowered individuals, especially when Sony doesn't hold the rights to the majority of the characters. There's also the question of whether Spider-Man will even show up in Venom. A report in January listed Tom Holland's Spider-Man as making an appearance in the Sony film, followed by another report that had Holland spotted on the actual set, but officially, Sony has denied he'll play any role at all in this film.
Whether this is all true or not, the trailer gives the impression that Spider-Man doesn't factor into the symbiote arriving on Earth. Around the 38 second mark, we see what looks like a crash site, as first responders arrive to investigate. There is a good chance this wreckage is carrying the symbiote, which leads to another question: Is Eddie among the men and women surveying the scene?
The shot immediately following the crash site shows Eddie unconscious, in a hospital gown, with others images displaying Eddie undergoing an MRI exam. It's possible Sony is borrowing an item from the comics, a story arc that saw Eddie suffering from cancer, and what we're witnessing is the character undergoing his regular checkup. For whatever reason, the people that collect the symbiote from the space wreckage appear to be storing it in the same building that Eddie is visiting, leading to the two becoming one.
What makes this scenario plausible is the fact that the only thing that kept Eddie alive in the comics was the symbiote. Another piece of evidence is in the trailer's final moments, where Eddie is writhing in pain on the medical bed. If you look very closely, you can see pieces of the black symbiote begin to slither up his neck from under his gown.
Spider-Man and Venom are so closely connected in the comics, it's hard to fathom a Venom movie taking place without the hero being a part of it. However, for Sony to truly build its own superhero cinematic universe of Marvel characters, it will have to do it with the knowledge that Spider-Man can't appear in each one. If the studio can alter Venom's origin enough where Spider-Man doesn't have to be involved, then it has the luxury of always bringing him in at a later date, building fan anticipation (and potential box office receipts) for that eventual battle.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg, Venom stars Tom Hardy, Jenny Slate, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed. The film arrives Oct. 5, 2018.