Following the introduction of the alien symbiote, that became the villainous Venom in the movie Spider-man 3 (2007), the character (or at least the symbiote) was set to get his own spin-off movie to be released before the next Spider-man sequel.
OH. SO WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
In the comics Venom became a fan-favourite during the 1990s after his alter-ego Eddie Brock continually sought to kill Spider-man, due to his intense hatred for the wall-crawler. Since then Venom has had a few different alter-egos, but when it came time to introduce the character into the second Spidey sequel, it was Brock who bonded with the symbiote to become Venom (as played by the actor Topher Grace).However with Brock being killed off during the conclusion of Spider-man 3, when a spin-off movie was announced by producer Avi Arad, it was never completely clear as to which version of Venom the film was set to focus on?!Logic suggested that it would have been one of the ‘other’ Venoms from the comics (Mac Gargan or Angelo Fortunato) as a piece of the symbiote had been left over from Spidey 3, but as Brock was the most notorious Venom, it would have seemed odd not to have him in the film.If producers had decided not to go down that route, then the spin-off could have even been an origin story that focused on where the symbiote came from, as it just appeared in Spider-man 3 without much explanation.Failing that, despite negative feedback from fans regarding the character’s treatment in Spidey 3, the film could have easily been a completely new take on Brock’s Venom, who still remained a popular character despite what happened to him in the film.Either way, Arad was very keen on hyping a Venom film whatever the finished product was to become.
BUT WHAT DID HAPPEN?
Whilst Spider-man 3 was gearing up for release, Sony commissioned Jacob Aaron Estes to write a draft script for Venom and at the time rumour had it that the film was to see Venom become an anti-hero following his appearance in the Spidey 3.As this was before the release of Spider-man 3 (so before it was revealed that Brock had been killed off), it was presumed that the film would have been a solo vehicle for Topher Grace’s version of Venom.Sony of course hadn’t confirmed it (due to not wanting to let the cat out of the bag regarding Brock’s death), so when Spidey 3 was released it quickly seemed unlikely that the film would feature Brock, unless it could sidestep the events of the Spidey sequel.It seemed that Brock and therefore actor Topher Grace were out of the running for Venom.This was practically confirmed in interviews following the film’s release where Grace was asked about reprising the role of Eddie Brock in a potential spin-off and he said he hadn’t been approached by anyone about it.Things were still up in the air anyway because in the following year Sony rejected Jacob Aaron Estes’ Venom script and hired Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese to produce a new script instead.Sony liked the new script so much it asked for a second draft, but as Venom hadn’t officially gone into production it meant that there was still no confirmed release date and so was looking increasingly unlikely to be released before the next proposed Spidey sequel.Meanwhile Sony pressed forward with Spider-man 4 which had an official release date locked in for 2011, but it all went a bit Pete Tong when director Sam Raimi left the project over ‘creative differences’.With Raimi out Sony decided that the best thing to do was reboot the franchise with a new director and a new cast not connected to the previous films.Shortly after this Sony announced the release date for the next Spider-man film and despite occasional talk regarding Venom, the movie remained in Development Hell.
WAS THIS A BAD THING?
With similar powers and abilities to Spider-man, Venom had always been a popular character and so talk of a solo movie was always going to get fan boys (and girls) stirred up in the back issues department.However the character’s appearance in Spider-man 3 was pretty awful and regardless of how a Venom film would have been spun from Spidey 3, the timing would have been stupid as it would have confused the general public as to who he was (and they probably didn’t much care for him anyway).Keeping Venom locked in Development Hell until at least after the Raimi films were done and dusted certainly wasn’t a bad thing, so be happy that it never came out when intended.
BUT WHAT IF?
If Venom had appeared straight after Spider-man 3 then the movie would have had to educate the audience on who Venom actually was, as well as remind them why the hell they were paying to watch a film about a character who wasn’t Spider-man?!? This would have caused much confusion amongst Joe Public, with the elderly in particular becoming very unsettled over the finer details of the situation.Eventually there would have been mass hysteria and ordinary folk would have started petitioning against the release of any spin-off movies that were produced just for the sake of trying to make a quick buck.This petition would have become the basis of a universal law that banned the production of spin-off movies, crap sequels and anything with comic-book characters in it, which would have seriously impacted on most of Hollywood’s output.The movie industry would have almost packed up and died over night.