You can’t keep a good character down in Hollywood — even when that character has spent most of its existence as one of Marvel Comics’ most notorious villains — and a Venom movie based on the popular Spider-Man spinoff character is scheduled to hit theaters on October 5. After getting our first good look at Venom in action via the film’s second trailer, we now have a little more information about a high-profile cast member’s role.
Set to be directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Venom will feature Mad Max: Fury Road and The Dark Knight Rises star Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock in the film’s lead role. The movie’s supporting cast members include Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, and Woody Harrelson.
Here’s everything we know about the movie so far.
The film’s high-profile cast got substantially bigger with the addition of two-time Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson (True Detective, Natural Born Killers) late in 2017.
The initial report of Harrelson’s attachment to Venom didn’t identify the role the veteran actor would play in the film. Variety simply indicated that he would play “a henchman of sorts,” but now the actor himself has offered some clarification.
Speaking to Collider, Harrelson revealed that his role in Venom will be a small one — but will likely increase significantly in the sequel.
“[It’s a] roll of the dice, because I’m just … I’m in a little fraction of this movie, but I’ll be in the next one, you know?” he said. “So I haven’t read that script, but anyways, just rolled the dice.”
It’s unlikely that Harrelson would play the traditional, lower-tier henchman role in any film these days, and rumors have suggested that he might play Cletus Kasady, a serial killer that became the villain Carnage in Marvel Comics lore. His description of the role as a small one and indication that he’d be in a sequel suggests that his character could be introduced in Venom before becoming the primary villain of the second film.
First introduced in a 1992 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, Carnage is an offspring of the Venom symbiote that bonded with Kasady and lacks any moral foundation whatsoever. One of Spider-Man and Venom’s most dangerous, unpredictable foes, Carnage is a superpowered psychopath who wields all of the same powers as Venom and embraces — rather than fights to control — the bloodlust brought on by the alien symbiote.
Whatever role Harrelson plays in the film, it will be a reunion for him and Fleischer, who directed Harrelson in Zombieland.
It’s not officially sanctioned by the studio, but a video making the rounds online offers a decidedly different spin on the second trailer for Venom.
YouTube user Darth Blender posted a remix of the trailer that replaces the live-action footage with clips from the popular 1990s television show Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The result is a surprisingly well-synchronized version of the trailer that should evoke some serious nostalgia for fans of the early incarnations of Spider-Man’s famous foe (and occasional ally).
We are Venom, indeed.
At long last … Venom!
After the first, Venom-less trailer for Venom received a less-than-stellar reception, Sony Pictures made up for past mistakes with a second trailer (see above) that went all-in on the fiendish black symbiote.
The trailer debuted after the studio’s presentation at CinemaCon in April, and it reveals quite a bit of the story that will connect Hardy’s journalist character, Eddie Brock, with the sentient creature that turns him into the powerful antihero known as Venom. Most importantly, however, is that the trailer offers the first good look at Venom in toothy, tongue-curling action.
The trailer was accompanied by a new poster for the film that depicts Eddie Brock in mid-transformation to Venom.
From Wakanda to symbiote city
Sony Pictures has reportedly recruited a prominent composer to provide the musical component to Venom’s solo feature. According to Deadline, Black Panther composer Ludwig Goransson will score the Venom movie.
The arrangement will be a reunion of sorts, as Goransson previously scored Fleischer’s 2011 comedy 30 Minutes or Less. Goransson is best known for his recent work on Black Panther and his frequent collaborations with that film’s director, Ryan Coogler, having scored both Creed and Fruitvale Station. He is also a frequent collaborator with actor-musician Donald Glover on his Childish Gambino music albums.
After promising that something big would debut February 8, the studio followed through with the very first teaser trailer for Venom, offering audiences a sneak peek at the tone of Tom Hardy’s spin on the popular character.
The teaser (see above) features Eddie Brock (Hardy) prominently, but doesn’t reveal much of his lethal alter ego. There’s a scene depicting the squirming, black symbiote that — in Marvel Comics lore — bonds with Eddie and gives him his powerful abilities, but that’s about it as far as any look at the film’s namesake.
First poster, and trailer coming … soon?
The first, official poster for Venom was released February 7, and the image — which features the character’s iconic white eyes against a black background — was accompanied by a tease that something big will debut “tomorrow” (meaning February 8).
— Venom Movie (@VenomMovie) February 7, 2018
That’s a wrap
In late January, Hardy posted a photo on Instagram to announced the conclusion of filming — for him, at least — on Venom.
Production continued on the film despite Hardy’s departure, but the conclusion of filming for the lead actor suggests that things are moving along well with the movie.
A big cameo?
This is big news if true — Screenrant is reporting that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man — the star of Homecoming and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s youngest star — might show up in Venom. Apparently, Jon Schnepp, host of Collider’s Collider Heroes web series, said as much during a yet-unaired episode of the superhero-focused talk show. Screenrant’s only source, though, is a tweet by Collider video head Kristian Harloff (viewable below).
— Kristian Harloff (@KristianHarloff) January 16, 2018
There’s no way to know if Holland’s potential appearance would constitute a short cameo or something more substantial. We have no way to confirm this news, so be wary; Marvel is typically very hush-hush about MCU-related plans, so we’d be surprised if this rumor ever received confirmation.
The first official photo from Venom was released by Sony Pictures in January 2018, offering an early look at Hardy as Eddie Brock, complete with his reporter notebook.
Posted on IGN, the photo was accompanied by a video from the Venom panel that was held during the Brazil Comic Con Experience in December. The video features a look at the set of the film with some commentary from the film’s director and cast.
Hardy has been posting a few additional, behind-the-scenes photos from the set of the film in recent weeks on Instagram, often showing the film’s comics-inspired promotional art on his clothing or members of the film’s creative team.
Posters, we presume?
Some of the first promotional material for Venom appeared to have finally gone public in early December 2017, with Collider and Argentinian fan site MarvelFlix both posting photos from the Brazilian convention Comic Con Experience (CCXP) of promotional images for Venom posted at the Sony Pictures booth there.
— MarvelFlix (@MarvelFlix) December 7, 2017
There is no official confirmation from Sony that these images are officially tied to the film, but the “in theaters soon” line certainly gives them some legitimacy.
Given how long it’s taken for the Venom movie to make any forward progress, it’s understandable if some people won’t believe it’s actually going to arrive in theaters until they see some photographic evidence of production.
Well, that’s exactly what the film’s Twitter account provided on October 23.
— Venom Movie (@VenomMovie) October 24, 2017
Captioned “Day 1. #Venom,” the photo features Hardy looking on as production begins on the film. Appropriately enough, it’s also the first post on the movie’s Twitter account.
— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) May 19, 2017
Along with teasing Hardy’s attachment to the film, the photo also revealed which incarnation of Venom the actor will bring to the screen: Eddie Brock.
In Marvel Comics lore, Eddie Brock was a photographer who became the host of the alien entity known as Venom — which imbues its host with powerful abilities but also increases its host’s bloodlust and violent tendencies. Its previous host, Spider-Man, realized the danger it presented and managed to separate himself from it after a struggle both psychological and physical. Over the years, the character has spent time outside the traditional villain role and even went through a period in which he acted as a vicious, criminal-chasing vigilante while bonded with Brock.
Venom’s first big-screen appearance featured Topher Grace in the role of Brock, who bonded with the alien in director Sam Raimi’s 2007 film.
Along with Hardy in the lead role, the cast of Venom also includes four-time Academy Award nominee Williams, who is expected to portray the film’s female lead.
According to a September 2017 report from Variety, Williams will likely play a district attorney and possibly the love interest of Hardy’s character. Also attached to the film in supporting roles are Slate and Veep actor Reid Scott, with Mully actor Scott Haze also rumored for an unidentified role. Slate is rumored to be playing a scientist in the film.
Also attached to the film is Rogue One actor Riz Ahmed, who is rumored to be playing another notorious host of the alien symbiote.
The identity of Ahmed’s character in the film remains unconfirmed at this point, though, so we need to wait for official word from the studio to know whether Venom will be a tale of two (or more) symbiotes.
Dark and distinct
Although Spider-Man: Homecoming was firmly set within Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe, Venom will reportedly be set in its own, separate Sony Pictures universe, despite the character’s ties to Spider-Man. The script for the film was penned by Scott Rosenberg (Pain & Gain), Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), and Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey).
The notion of distancing Venom from Spider-Man and the Marvel Studios universe came as a surprise to fans when it was first rumored in March 2017, and continues to be the subject of much debate among comics fans and movie industry pundits. Given the critical and commercial success of Spider-Man: Homecoming and the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe up to this point, there is plenty of incentive to tie Venom to those films, but all signs point to Sony positioning Venom as the first film in a new cinematic universe based on Spider-Man spinoff properties.
The same report that initially indicated Venom would exist in its own universe also suggested that the film would come with an R rating — which could be one of the reasons for distancing it from Spider-Man and the MCU. As a character, Venom has always been associated with darker, more violent adventures, particularly when Carnage is involved (as rumors suggest he might be), so the decision to follow in the footsteps of recent R-rated features Deadpool and Logan could play into his position outside the MCU.
Updated on May 29: Added more information about Woody Harrelson’s role in the film.