Marvel VENOM Is Back In Development At Sony And Needs Flash Thompson written by Sean Gerber March 4, 2016 Ready or not, want it or not, Venom is headed back into development at Sony Pictures, per The Hollywood Reporter. The project was last in play when Sony was hoping to build a shared universe around its Amazing Spider-Man series starring Andrew Garfield, but it quietly went away after The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s shortcomings led to the studio abandoning that plan in favor of a new partnership and new Spider-Man continuity with Marvel Studios. Now, Venom is apparently back on with Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach producing. Two longtime Spider-Man franchise veterans, Arad and Tolmach will oversee the project, which will be getting a script from Dante Harper (Sleepless Night). While the character of Venom was born from Spider-Man comics, the movie is currently separate from the Tom Holland starring Spidey restart that Marvel Studios is producing for Sony. Venom is a standalone picture that Sony hopes will become its own lucrative franchise. If you’re looking for motivation behind this revival, look no further than Deadpool. It’s probably not a coincidence that Sony is kicking the tires on Venom again so soon after Deadpool set box office records. While Venom predates Deadpool by a handful of years in comics, they are roughly in the same generation of new characters that became massively popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It would not shock me at all if Sony is aiming for an R rating with Venom, nor would I be surprised if the pitch meeting for the latest incarnation of this project happened the same day I wrote this: Fox won’t be the only studio reviewing options this week. Everyone except Marvel Studios will be going over their comic book properties to find the next Deadpool. Marvel Studios already has Netflix as the preferred outlet for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s more mature content, but Warner Bros., Sony, and Fox are probably all going to have meetings about R-rated superhero movies. Warner Bros. will be looking at properties like Lobo while Sony could think about reviving the Venom spinoff film as an R-rated feature. Fox will have to wonder what other mutant characters would be well served by the same “not for kids” treatment with which Deadpool has excelled. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see various X-characters pushed into the R-rated space. As comic book characters go, Venom actually has one unique quality that not even the Merc with a Mouth can match. Venom is not a person, but an alien Symbiote that attaches itself to a human host. This makes the character impervious to recasting, as the Symbiote can take over a completely new character played by a new actor once the current actor’s contract is expired. Of course, the franchise would have to make it through one actor’s presumed three-move deal first and that’s easier said than done. On the surface, Venom sounds like the next Deadpool because they’re based on popular characters created around the same time with a generation of fans who grew up in the 1990s believing that those characters were “theirs,” unlike the classic heroes and villains that had been around since their parents and grandparents were buying comics. Whether or not those similarities can extend beyond those limited, superficial layers will depend on which host Sony chooses for its Symbiote. Admittedly, I’m a Venom fan who couldn’t wait to get to Level 6 of the Maximum Carnage video game to play as Spider-Man’s new archenemy/occasional ally. That version of Venom, Eddie Brock, was previously seen in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 in 2003, as played by Topher Grace. It didn’t work very well and it’s doubtful Eddie Brock can work any better if there’s no Peter Parker for him to play off of. If Sony wants something closer to Deadpool, then the only Symbiote host to start with is Flash Thompson. Thompson, so far known in movies only as Peter Parker’s tormentor at Midtown High, has been Agent Venom for the last several years in Marvel Comics. His origin story is actually sympathetic like Wade Wilson’s and would work very well cinematically. Having lost his legs while serving his country in Iraq, Thompson was recruited for a new Project Rebirth (the old one gave the Marvel Universe Captain America). Thompson was bonded with the Symbiote, which gave him legs and the same Spidey-esque powers for which Venom has always been known so that Thompson could go on missions for the United States government. The catch, besides working for the government, is that the Symbiote is always trying to take over the consciousness of its host. Thompson can only be bonded with the Symbiote for 48 hours at a time for fear of losing complete control. Every hero or antihero needs a weakness to help make the story compelling and Thompson’s ticking clock could add genuine suspense to a film. Marvel Animation has already been using the Flash Thompson Venom on Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man series. There’s some exposure there, but it would go out the window with an R rating. Thompson, while not nearly as irreverent or hilarious as Wade Wilson, does have a sense of humor that would pair nicely with his sympathetic backstory to add mainstream appeal. The problem that remains, however, is using a supporting Spider-Man character without Spider-Man. Thompson’s bullying days are an important part of the character’s history since it shows how susceptible he is to the darkness of the Symbiote. It helps if the audience actually cares about the person he bullied and they care about Peter Parker. It’s certainly possible to make it all work by having Thompson bully someone else or bully a Parker that isn’t Tom Holland, but in the current superhero movie climate, it’s only going to get harder for a franchise to succeed on an island. Even Deadpool, an R-rated raunch comedy, enjoyed a connection to Fox’s other X-Men films. He even got to team up with a couple of mutants. The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and everyone in between get to share territory in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC Films will have all of its heroes under one massive roof in just three weeks with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s not that there’s no place for standalone superhero properties, but it is a more difficult proposition, especially with so many fans already opposed to the very idea of Venom. Venom can work. It really can, but it would work better as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe where it can enjoy a full connection to the Spider-Man mythos from which it came. Sony should take its time with this and allow its new Spider-Man to find his MCU footing before fast-tracking any spinoff franchises that can’t actually be spun-off from the current Spider-Man franchise. Get Spidey going, then work with Marvel to expand that universe and get characters like Venom in play. VENOM Is Back In Development At Sony And Needs Flash Thompson was last modified: March 4th, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related Venom 2 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post ZOOTOPIA Is The Best Of Disney Animation’s New Renaissance next post Meet Team Cap In Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Character Posters You may also like Marvel: Groot To Get His Own Comic! 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Spidey is really their lone fiscally dependable property they have so on some level it makes since they’re milking it for all its worth since it’s the only thing milkable they truly have. They’re not like Warners and Fox that have the myriad of upcoming DC universe films, X-franchise movies under their belt and especially not like Disney that have arguably the two biggest brands on earth: Star Wars and Marvel under their purview. Every studio is about churning profit(that’s they’re lifeblood)and that’s understanble but I only implore them to be more creative, not exploitive. oliver_chang I usually don’t say this but Sony doesn’t know what they are doing. 21 Jump St team up with MIB and now a standalone Venom film separate from the MCU Spidey? That’s like Legendary announcing a Catwoman movie separate from DCEU and made by the team that brought you Batman and Robin. Even your article end up suggesting Sony’s Venom needs MCU.