To be clear, this is not a spin-off of Spider-Man: Homecoming, which starred Tom Holland. Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad, Zombieland), Venom’s story about the popular anti-hero from the Spider-Man comics is its own thing.
The first photo of Hardy in character was released Thursday (after initially premiering on IGN), along with footage from a panel the film was featured in last month at Brazil Comic-Con. “We wanna be as true as possible to the comics with our film, but our story is primarily based on the Lethal Protector and The Planet of the Symbiotes books,” Fleischer told the crowd in a video statement direct from the film’s San Francisco set.
Here’s your quickie comic book history lesson for the day…
Venom: Lethal Protector was a limited series in 1993 from writer David Michelinie and artist Mark Bagley. Eddie moves from New York to San Francisco where he’s reinvented as more of anti-hero as opposed to a Spider-Man villain. Planet of the Symbiotes, meanwhile, was a 1995 story that focused on Eddie Brock fighting an army of invading symbiotes — a symbiote being the living alien substance that takes over Eddie’s body and transforms him into the vicious wall-crawler.
The photo alone, however, offers more clues.
Hardy appears here as Eddie, who’s working as a reporter. In the comics, Eddie was a notable columnist for The Daily Globe paper before a series of events transformed him into the web-slinger’s enemy. The actor is seen holding a notebook with a series of questions written on the page: “So how exactly does the Life Foundation go about testing its pharmaceuticals?” “What about the allegations your empire is built on?”
The Life Foundation appeared in the comics as an organization believing that the Cold War would culminate in a nuclear holocaust. So, to protect their wealthy clients, its leaders constructed a bunker for them to wait it out. They also used to the symbiote to create multiple other Venom-esque creatures.
“I can promise you badass action, Venom’s dark humor, and I can also promise you an absolutely stunning performance by Tom Hardy,” Fleischer hyped up the crowd before Hardy himself appeared on the screen.
After Topher Grace appeared as Venom in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, Hardy now says, “I just wanted to say that I give you my word of honor that I’m going to everything I can to deliver the best Venom that I possibly can muster.”