Venom producer Avi Arad, who first brought the famed Marvel Comics villain to the big screen in 2007’s Spider-Man 3, accepts the blame for forcing the character on director Sam Raimi.
“I think we learned that Venom is not a sideshow,” Arad told Screen Rant.
“In all fairness, I’ll take the guilt because of what Sam Raimi used to say in all of these interviews feeling guilty that I forced him into it. And you know what I learned? Don't force anybody into anything. Therefore, [Sam] wasn’t interested in the inside to make how is Venom like us? How do we deal with the Venom, and Marvel is all metaphors.”
Raimi, a lifelong fan of classic Spider-Man, admitted the character was shoe-horned into the plot by Arad, who pushed for the inclusion of the fan-favorite villain and sometimes anti-hero.
“I had worked on the story with my brother Ivan, and primarily it was a story that featured the Sandman. It was really about Peter, Mary Jane, Harry, and that new character,” Raimi told Empire Magazine in 2009.
“But when we were done, Avi Arad, my partner and the former president of Marvel at the time, said to me, Sam, you’re so, you’re not paying attention to the fans enough. You need to think about them. You’ve made two movies now with your favorite villains, and now you’re about to make another one with your favorite villains. The fans love Venom, he is the fan favorite.”
Raimi said he had a “tremendous amount of control” on 2002’s Spider-Man and its 2004 sequel Spider-Man 2, but in making the third film, “different opinions” took away much of that control.
The filmmaker later admitted to Nerdist in 2015 the movie “just didn’t work very well.”
“I tried to make it work, but I didn’t really believe in all the characters, so that couldn’t be hidden from people who loved Spider-Man. If the director doesn’t love something, it’s wrong of them to make it when so many other people love it,” Raimi said.
“I think [raising the stakes after Spider-Man 2] was the thinking going into it, and I think that’s what doomed us. I should’ve just stuck with the characters and the relationships and progressed them to the next step and not tried to top the bar.”
In that same interview, Raimi said Spider-Man 3 was “bad” before doubling down and calling it “awful.”
Long before in 2006, when showing off a sneak peek look at the movie at San Diego Comic-Con, Raimi said he had been objecting to “the lack of humanity” in Venom, but “in studying him I gained an appreciation for him” (via IGN).
“Venom has always been a character that the fans love,” Raimi said. “That’s why he’s in here.”
Venom swings into theaters October 5.