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Sony’s Venom movie might serve as R-rated start to new Marvel cinematic universe

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Like your superheroes on the edgy side? After the success of Deadpool and Logan, Sony is planning its own R-rated comic-book universe.

Earlier this month, Sony Pictures made a surprise announcement regarding an upcoming movie based on the Marvel Comics character Venom that it plans to release in 2018. More details regarding the film are now beginning to circulate, and they paint a very interesting picture of the studio’s plans for its comic book properties.

In a series of unconfirmed — and therefore, entirely unofficial — reports regarding the Venom movie, the studio is said to be framing the film as the “R”-rated first installment of a new cinematic universe.

According to Collider, the Venom movie set to hit theaters in October 2018 will launch a new universe based on Marvel Comics properties tied to the world of Spider-Man, but not actually featuring the webslinger. The first film will be an “R”-rated sci-fi horror project introducing the alien symbiote known as Venom, with subsequent films focusing on other characters associated with Spider-Man that Sony owns the cinematic rights to.

Scripted by Dante Harper (Alien: Covenant), the Venom movie is expected to follow the lead of recent “R”-rated superhero films like Deadpool and Logan.

Introduced as a stand-alone character in a 1988 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, Venom started off as a telepathically controlled alien costume worn by Spider-Man that he acquired during an adventure on another planet several story arcs earlier. The costume eventually revealed itself as a sentient being with sinister intentions, forcing Spider-Man to get rid of it. The symbiote would go on to bond with various other characters over the years, turning some of them into powerful villains, while others were able to put the alien’s abilities toward heroic ends.

Venom has always been one of the darker, more violent characters in the Marvel Comics universe — particularly in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. Often portrayed as more monster than man, Venom has starred in his own series at various points as both an edgy antihero and a vicious, destructive antagonist.

While it’s uncertain what form the character will take in the movie, some reports suggest that the film could take inspiration from the 18-issue Venom miniseries first published in 2003 that followed a version of the symbiote as it carved a bloody trail through a remote Alaskan military base all the way to Manhattan. The series echoed many of the themes and settings of John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic The Thing.

Still, with several decades of comic-book story material, there’s ample narrative resources for the film to mine. In many stories featuring Venom, the creature finds its way to hosts who have an overwhelming desire for revenge, imbuing them with the superhuman abilities to have vengeance on those who wronged them, while simultaneously pushing them to the brink of their own sanity.

Given the short turnaround time for the film, we’re likely to hear more about the Venom movie in the near future. It’s currently scheduled to hit theaters October 5, 2018.