The Venom sequel appears to be moving full-steam ahead, and it’s getting serious creative input from its star, according to the film’s director. Truly, Venom was one of the biggest box office surprises of 2018. The Sony Pictures Spider-Man spinoff looked, well, kinda silly, and surely fans were over their obsession with the Venom character right? Wrong. Despite negative reviews, Venom soared to a massive $856.1 million worldwide, and even those who didn’t love the film were at least fascinated by Tom Hardy’s go-for-broke lead performance.
Sony understandably got to work on Venom 2 rather quickly, and this summer things really started moving forward as the studio found a new director. For reasons unknown, Ruben Fleischer is not returning to the director’s chair. After meeting with a few different filmmakers, Sony selected Andy Serkis to take the helm earlier this week, and the news broke just in time for Serkis to make an appearance at the TCA’s to tout his upcoming role in FX’s A Christmas Carol adaptation.
While it’s clearly early days with regards to Serkis’ involvement, the Mowgli filmmaker revealed that he has very clear ideas of the direction he wants to take the franchise (via /Film):
“I’m right at the beginning stages. I’ve got some very clear ideas about the journey I’d like to see visually and how we can take the characters into another dimension.”
Perhaps even more interesting, Serkis revealed that Hardy is intimately involved in the writing of the script, working closely with screenwriter Kelly Marcel:
“Tom is very involved with the writing with Kelly Marcel of the new story, so it’s very much centered around their take.”
It’s certainly not out of the ordinary for a star of a franchise to be involved in the creation of the next installment—Tom Cruise is a close creative partner on the making of each Mission: Impossible movie, and Robert Downey Jr. essentially hand-selected Shane Black to write and direct Iron Man 3. But it’s interesting to note that Venom 2 doesn’t appear to be going the “lab creation” route with regards to its screenplay. Many studios nowadays assemble a writers room for franchises, hiring a bunch of different screenwriters to pitch different ideas for the movie before stitching together the best ones. According to Serkis, Venom 2 is being crafted from the ground up by Marcel (who co-wrote the first Venom) and Hardy.
The performance-capture pioneer added that he’s known Hardy for some time and the two have been eager to work together, so Venom 2 fulfills years of courtship:
“I’ve known Tom for many years and always admired him hugely as an actor and producer. We’ve always wanted to work together directly. I’m deeply excited to work with Tom Hardy and to work with all the great actors who are involved in it. It’s a fantastic franchise. I’m really honored to have been asked to direct it and it feels like it’s a very contemporary story. I think it’s going to be hopefully an extraordinary piece of cinema.”
As long as there are more lobster tanks for Hardy’s Eddie Brock to jump into, I think fans will be satisfied.
Venom 2 doesn’t yet have a confirmed release date, but Sony has penciled in October 2, 2020 for an “untitled Marvel sequel,” so that’s likely the aim. Whether they can make that date with only a year to go remains to be seen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the film’s release date turns out to be sometime in 2021.