Thanks to the recent deal between Sony and Marvel, beloved Spider-Man related Marvel comic characters are finally going to be entering into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and crossing paths with some of our favorite franchises. Aside from seeing Peter Parker debut in Captain America: Civil War this May, Sony has announced that one of their next projects will be a solo Venom movie.
Last year, Sony had been trying to revive their Spider-Man Universe by announcing spin-off projects like a Sinister Six movie as well as a Venom solo film; however, after poor planning and what felt like a rushed revival attempt, both movies were cancelled and soon after the deal with Marvel came. Now, we are receiving a solo Spider-Man film in 2017 and sometime in the near future a solo Venom film, that is currently planned to be independent, but will hopefully be announced as a part of the MCU.
Venom is a character that has a really interesting background which includes different depictions and iterations of the character throughout the years. The Venom Symbiote is an alien that began as a villain who initially found Peter Parker and used him as its first host. This gave us the notorious black suit Spider-Man that fans love the look of.
The symbiote added all of these new cool powers to Spider-Man and was a nice temporary change of pace until Peter discovered it was actually trying to permanently bond with his body. Once Peter rid himself of the Venom symbiote, it went on to become one of the most famous comic book villains after finding its next host; Eddie Brock.
A Tale of Two Venoms
Eddie Brock was originally a journalist for The Daily Globe who thought he caught his big break with an article that exposed the identity of a serial killer. Unfortunately, he accused the wrong man and Spider-Man was the one to catch the real killer, causing the downfall of Brock’s career. As a result, Eddie Brock dealt with depression, anger issues and a new hatred for Spider-Man, who he blamed for ending his career. In a case of wrong place, wrong time, or depending on who you ask, right place right time, Brock happened to be at the location where Peter was able to ditch the symbiote. The alien was able to sense Brock’s nearby hatred for Spidey and chose him as the next host. Eddie Brock is easily the most famous character who becomes Venom and is the villain that Spider-Man struggles to face off against in many great battles over the years. Brock-Venom has been featured in a lot of great Spider-Man moments, working both against and with the character, offering a unique and grand story that is a classic staple of Spider-Man’s.
The second biggest character associated with Venom is the current host, Flash Thompson. In 2010, Marvel Comics decided to go a new, very interesting, direction with Venom with a new series that featured the character in a black ops way as a government agent. Flash Thompson’s origin started out as being nothing more than the bully Peter Parker dealt with in high school. The character always picked on Peter, but admired Spider-Man and was a huge fan of the hero in a very ironic fashion. His story gets more interesting after high school, where the character served in the United States Army and ended up losing both of his legs during combat in the Iraq War. This story added a lot of depth to Flash’s character and humanized him much more than before. The government, now in possession of the symbiote, chose Flash to be the subject for their new Agent Venom program, which would allow him to use the suit for a 48 hour period (to avoid permanent bonding) and carry out black ops missions.
This was a unique way to take the character into a new direction and so far it has worked out amazingly. Flash as Agent Venom had his own comic series that started in 2011 and ran 42 issues into October of 2013. In 2012, a new Thunderbolts series was announced as a part of the Marvel Now! that included Flash’s Agent Venom as a part of the team. This series carried on into October of 2014 with 32 total issues and after the team disbanded and their story completed, Flash found himself joining the ongoing Guardians of the Galaxy series, which is where the character has currently stayed. While Eddie Brock made Venom a famous villain, Flash has had the most interesting time as the character and taken him into a new, fun direction that has done and accomplished more in a much shorter time.
Venom In Other Media
Over the years, Eddie Brock, Flash Thompson and Venom have popped up in almost all Spider-Man related content. Most animated Spider-Man shows and video game content find a way to incorporate the character because of how important the character is to Marvel. Although these depictions normally only include the character in his traditional villain form, everyone recognizes that it is necessary to include Venom and how many great stories can come from him. Venom made his first movie appearance in 2007’s Spider-Man 3 where Eddie Brock was played by Topher Grace. This version of Venom followed Brock’s traditional origin story but had him be a freelance photographer who developed a hatred for Peter Parker when Peter exposes him for using fake photographs.
Flash Thompson was also featured in the original installment of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, where he was nothing more than the high school bully, played by Joe Manganiello. When the series was rebooted in 2012, Flash was once again nothing more than a bully, this time portrayed by Chris Zylka. Flash was originally brought back during The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for a scene that showed him and Peter had now become friends, but the scene was cut from the final film and only released on the Blu-ray bonus features. Zylka had, at the time, publicly mentioned his interest in reprising his role for a Venom spin-off film that had been rumored, but nothing ever came of it.
Who Fits Best?
Venom is a great character who has a wealth of story and background that would be a lovely addition to the MCU. I’m thrilled that they want to move forward with a solo film for the character, but am curious to see which version they will focus on. While I completely respect Eddie Brock’s villain Venom, I’m hoping to see them go with the fresher, Flash Thompson Agent Venom. Eddie Brock’s Venom would be tougher to craft a story around, because he has so much history as a villain, and his anti-hero moments only come when he temporarily works with Spider-Man. Eddie Brock’s biggest Venom story probably relates more to his wife temporarily being She-Venom in his attempt to save her from harm, but during that time he isn’t in the suit a whole lot. Also, Spider-Man has plenty of other villains to showcase in these new Marvel movies to the point where Venom wouldn’t be missed as a villain who pops up here and there over the course of a new trilogy. Flash Thompson’s Agent Venom offers a lot of diversity for the character, and his backstory of joining the military and dealing with what he has witnessed during war is extremely more interesting and would be a much better character to show and write. Agent Venom has a better base for movies and much more room for expansion assuming he sees multiple motion pictures.
You can develop great stories for Flash that have him carry out missions and face villains on his own (maybe even Venom V. Carnage!). Using Agent Venom and having him be used as a hero even leaves open the ability to use him in a Thunderbolts movies, as well as a way to incorporate him into a future Avengers film, or even have him join the Guardians of the Galaxy at some point like the comics have done. It would also make more sense to use Flash from a marketing standpoint for Marvel comics. Marvel has recently been matching their comics up to the character’s movie counterparts more and more which is an easy form of cross-promotional marketing. Flash Thompson has been Agent Venom for around five years now, and the character doesn’t seem like he will disappear anytime soon, which would mean Marvel would benefit more by using the character on screen.
Despite not knowing which version of Venom will pop up on screen, I have some thoughts on actors who could play Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson. For Eddie Brock, I’d love to see someone who can pull off the jealous crazy type of villain. While he is featured on many fan lists for plenty of different villainous characters, I could easily see Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton) doing a great job. Another choice that I could see working out well is Josh Hutcherson, who showed how crazy he can be during the final Hunger Games movie. I think both of these actors could deliver solid range for a you aspiring photographer who just lost his job and wants some revenge.
As for Flash Thompson, my top three choices would be Alexander Ludwig, Ansel Elgort and Colton Haynes. All three are good young actors who I think can bring lots of emotion into the backstory of Flash being a war veteran who lost his legs but also have plenty of hero qualities and would look and be great on-screen heroes. Haynes is already comfortable donning a suit thanks to his work on Arrow as Roy Harper, while Ludwig has been consistently expanding his roles in projects like The Hunger Games, Lone Survivor, and Vikings. As for Elgort, he broke out with The Fault in Our Stars and has had a role in all of The Divergent Series movies. I’d love to see him move on to something a little different that he can still have fun with.
Regardless of who gets cast as Venom, this is a character who has deserved his own movie for a long time. Over the years, Venom has been used in tons of different ways by Marvel and is one of their major character who flies under the radar next to the major heroes we are used to loving. With the recent success of another anti-hero, Deadpool, I think now is the right time to make Venom happen. I am really excited to monitor this project through development and think it will be awesome when it finally hits theaters. While I would like to see Agent Venom in more of a hero role, I’m just glad we are going to see any type of Venom at all, because Spider-Man 3 did not do the character justice, and that needs to be fixed. The recent deal between Sony and Marvel only adds to the hype and I have no doubts that the Venom movie will be done right this time.
Who do you think should be the character to become Venom in the upcoming solo film? Eddie Brock or Flash Thompson? Let us know in the comments below! Also, check out this Venom short film “Truth In Journalism by producer Adi Shenkar that we highly recommend to you.