Venom 2 Also Courting Bumblebee, Planet of the Apes Helmers to Direct

Earlier this afternoon, reports suggested Black Panther star Andy Serkis was in the running to direct Venom 2. Now, it appears Sony's shortlist of filmmakers has started to surface with the studio interested in a few other genre directors. According to a new report from Variety, both Bumblebee director Travis Knight and Rise of the Planet of the Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt have also been meeting with the studio about directing the Tom Hardy-starring sequel. The latest trade report suggests Sony has yet to name a frontrunner and any meetings are introductory.

By this point, it's all but confirmed Ruben Fleischer won't return to direct the follow-up despite Sony moving full steam ahead and turning it into a franchise of its own. Venom ended up grossing a monstrous $855 million worldwide, something former Sony exec Amy Pascal attributes to Hardy's take on Eddie Brock.

"It's a couple of things. One of them is that Sony did a great job creating that franchise and giving it a life and giving it its own world," Pascal said. "Then there's Tom Hardy. When you think of Venom, you'll never be able to think of anyone but Tom Hardy sitting in that bathtub of lobsters. And once you saw Tom Hardy do this character, that's all you needed to know."

Despite parting for a new overall deal with Universal, Pascal will continue to be involved with any Venom or Spider-Man-based properties for the foreseeable future.

Morbius, the vampire-based thriller starring Suicide Squad alum Jared Leto, is currently in production. The project has previously been teased as an entry into Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters. SUMC producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach previously teased ComicBook.com fans can expect "awesomeness" from's Leto's take on the character.

“Just a similar level of intensity and charisma and devotion to the character,” Tolmach said.

“And loving the character,” added Arad.

Directed by Daniel Espinosa (Life), Morbius is set to start Leto, Adria Arjona, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Lenora Crichlow, and Al Madrigal. Venom 2, on the other hand, will reportedly feature Woody Harrelson's Cletus Kasady/Carnage as the film's primary antagonist.

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Venom 2 has yet to receive a release date while Morbius is scheduled to bow July 31, 2020. Venom is available wherever movies are sold.

What surprises do you think are in store for the Venom sequel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt!