If you are a fan of the Spider-Man movie series then you are likely to be aware that the character, Venom made his big screen debut in the 2007 live-action adventure film, Spider-Man 3, where he was played by actor Topher Grace. Venom was one of the three main villains in the movie, alongside the Sandman and Harry Osborn/New Goblin.
The next time Venom made an onscreen appearance was via the 2018 live-action body horror film, Venom. Here he was played by actor Tom Hardy, only this time he was an anti-hero rather than a villain.
Are the two Venoms connected? In this post I will provide an answer.
Are Spider-Man 3 and Venom connected?
In Spider-Man 3, Venom is introduced as the alter-ego of Edward ‘Eddie’ Brock Jr – a freelance photographer and rival to Peter Parker. During the course of the movie, Brock comes into contact with an alien symbiote and is transformed into Venom – an evil, black-suited villain who looks like Spider-Man.
In the 2018 movie, Venom, Eddie Brock is a journalist and Peter Parker is nowhere in sight. Brock comes into contact with an alien symbiote and is transformed into Venom, only this time he is a hulking, black-clad anti-hero who does not look like Spider-Man.
The reason that Brock does not look like Spider-Man in Venom is because neither Peter Parker or Spider-Man feature in the movie. Parker/Spider-Man do not feature because the movie exists as a standalone tale which was designed to introduce the character of Venom, without having to rely on his connection to Spider-Man.
Venom is an origin story and this origin story differs to the one depicted in Spider-Man 3. The reason for this? The two films are not connected. Venom is not a sequel to Spider-Man 3.
Why is Venom not a sequel to Spider-Man 3?
Spider-Man 3 was the third and final chapter in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. The character of Venom was introduced into the film as a villain, with his origin explained in that movie.
At the time of the Spider-Man 3’s release there was a lot of talk about giving Venom his own spinoff movie, which could focus purely on who he was as a character, but it never happened. Those who have watched Spider-Man 3 will also be aware that Venom/Eddie Brock was killed during the finale of the film, making a spinoff a little difficult to achieve.
But Venom is a popular villain and Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures were keen on reintroducing the character, despite his demise. The plan post-Spider-Man 3 was to bring Venom back – it just didn’t have to be the same version of the character.
And that’s what the movie Venom is all about. Venom is a different take on the same character that appeared in Spider-Man 3.
Venom exists in a completely different universe, which is not directly linked to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. The film restarts Brock’s story from the beginning, ignoring everything which has come before.
This Brock is still a photographer, but his links to Peter Parker, the Daily Bugle and anything else established in Spider-Man 3 are non-existent. Venom instead introduces new characters – Anne Weying, Carlton Drake, Cletus Kasady – to establish the world in which he exists.
Why is Spider-Man absent from Venom?
Venom was produced in 2018 – a period in time when actor Tom Holland had firmly established himself as a new version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The character was introduced into the MCU due to an arrangement between Sony Pictures (the studio behind the Spider-Man films) and Marvel Studios (the studio behind the MCU).
The arrangement was to share the character across a series of movies, beginning with the Marvel Studios production, Captain America: Civil War (2016). His next appearance was in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – a co-production between Sony and Marvel.
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would then appear in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) (both Marvel Studios movies) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – a Marvel/Sony co-production. The arrangement allowed Spider-Man to appear in either Marvel Studios movies or Marvel/Sony co-productions.
Venom was not part of this arrangement and was instead a Sony production, with no official involvement from Marvel Studios. As such, Venom was not connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and therefore not directly connected to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
Sony did toy with the idea of including Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Venom despite this, as they had the freedom to do so, but Marvel Studios convinced the studio to leave Spidey out of the film. It was decided that it was best to keep Spider-Man separate from Venom, in order to allow the film to stand on its own.
Due to the absence of Spider-Man, Venom does not make any reference to the character’s existence. Venom is completely Spidey-free and it is not even made clear that Spider-Man exists in this world.
If you came to this post looking for an answer to the Spider-Man 3/Venom connection, I hope this has answered your question. I appreciate that with so many characters appearing and reappearing in different comic book movies it can become confusing as to which films are directly linked and which are not.
Ultimately, Venom was conceived as a standalone tale. While there were discussions about linking the film to Spider-Man, the director, writers and producers felt it was best to keep the movie as a solo project.