Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. Then put your hand down, because you’re probably a liar.
Tom Hardy, the Oscar-nominated star of The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, is signing up to play the supervillain Venom in Sony’s first Spider-Man spin-off movie. Ruben Fleischer, the director of Zombieland, will direct the Venom movie, which is being fast-tracked for release on October 5, 2018.
Venom is one of Spider-Man’s most notorious foes, an alien symbiote that originally attached itself to the superhero, was rejected, and then merged a reporter named Eddie Brock, with one of Peter Parker’s enemies at work, to take revenge.
In the comics the alien symbiote would eventually merge with a variety of other characters, including Peter Parker’s high school bully Flash Thompson and the Spider-Man villain called Scorpion, but Hollywood Reporter confirms that Tom Hardy will be playing the Eddie Brock version of the character. Eddie Brock was previously played by Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3, and by Ryan Kwanten in the unofficial short film Truth in Journalism, directed by Joe Lynch (Everly).
Sony Pictures had big plans for Spider-Man spin-offs before the release of Amazing Spider-Man 2, including a film devoted entirely to the hero’s arch-nemeses The Sinister Six. But when Marc Webb’s second Spider-Man feature failed to meet box office expectations those plans were scrapped, leading to the landmark deal that allowed Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starting with Captain America: Civil War, and leading directly into this summer’s release of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Sony Pictures does retain control over the Spider-Man character, and has plans to release more films set in the so-called Spider-verse. The popular Marvel character Miles Morales, who donned Spider-Man’s costume after the character’s death in the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books, will finally make his big screen debut in an as-yet-untitled animated movie, set for release in 2018. Sony Pictures is also currently working on a movie that would co-star Silver Sable and Black Cat, two of the Spider-verse’s most morally flexible characters.
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Top Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images & Marvel Comics
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.