Venom director Ruben Fleischer says he liked the challenge of creating a movie around the character without Spider-Man. In the comics, Venom is an alien symbiote which takes its powers from its hosts- the first one being Spider-Man. Peter Parker was able to separate himself from Venom, which then latched onto Eddie Brock who became a villain with some spider like abilities.
However, the film version cannot follow the same origin story because Marvel and Sony share the rights to Spider-Man. The character currently appears in the MCU where he is being played by Tom Holland. The Venom film does not take place in the MCU, but a seperate Sony Universe which is being filled out with a number of movies based around Spider-Man villains. This meant the team had to get creative when it came to developing Venom’s backstory.
Durning the press junket for Venom, Fleischer spoke with Screen Rant about how he overcame some of the struggles in creating a movie without a key component. After all, the question on most fans’ minds when the movie was announced was how Sony would create a movie about Venom without include Eddie Brock’s greatest foe and reason him having these powers in the first place. Fleischer said:
It was definitely challenging figuring out how to make a movie with a character that’s defined by Spider-Man without Spider-Man. It’s those creative challenges that allow you to really come up with something original and different. The thing that I’m most proud of about this movie is I think it feels different than other superhero movies.
The marketing for the Venom has reflected this idea that the movie is not your typical superhero story too. The film’s taglines are, “Embrace Your Inner Anti-Hero” and “The World Has Enough Superheroes”. This version will appear to show Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) as more than just a villian. Fleischer also noted that audiences have already seen a “very true to the comics version of Venom” in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. In that film, Topher Grace was the bad guy- just without much menace. Since the earliest trailers, it’s been apparent that Venom would show a much different version of the character. Without having any direct ties to Spider-Man, the film could create its own universe. Says Fleischer:
We kind of took the perspective of the more Ultimate universe version of this movie. We can re-imagine the origin that’s not tied to Spider-Man where the alien comes to our planet by whatever means we decide and however Eddie (Brock) and the alien meet up.
For producer Avi Arad, this ability to create a story without Spider-Man was “liberating”. Without Peter Parker the film becomes Eddie’s story. “Eddie Brock was there before what happened at the Daily Bugle. Eddie Brock was there as a kid. There’s a whole mythology about Eddie Brock”, Arad explains.
Despite their inability to use Spider-Man, the filmmakers seem confident in their vision for Venom. Hopefully fans will react as positively and embrace whatever changes had to be made to the character’s origin. It will be interesting to see a different backstory for the character, one perhaps that is a bit darker than ones previously seen. Plus, just because Spider-Man isn’t in this movie, doesn’t mean he won’t appear in the next one.