Despite initial attempts to hitch it to the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe, Venom producer Matt Tolmach says the first entry in "Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters" is a standalone solely focused on its titular anti-hero played by Tom Hardy.
"The truth is we set out to make a standalone movie. It is a standalone Venom movie," Tolmach told LRM when asked if if the two series are connected.
"The opportunities are wide open in terms of storytelling, but we made a movie about Eddie Brock and Venom, and it lives in the world of Venom right now. It's a standalone. But we can do lots of things, and we'll see where the next story takes this."
While Sony owns the screen rights to Spider-Man, a pact with Disney's Marvel Studios allows the character to exist firmly in the MCU, where he's since been christened an Avenger and is played by Tom Holland.
The relationship has proved mutually beneficial, with Marvel Studios acting as creative producers on Spider-Man: Homecoming in exchange for the character's ability to operate in the shared universe home to Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Earth's mightiest heroes, most recently crossing over in mega-hit Avengers: Infinity War.
That universe, shepherded by Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, exists outside of Sony's Venom — but Tolmach is hopeful for future crossover potential.
"The obvious thing that we are all excited to do is have Venom face off against Spider-Man at some point. So that was something…we knew we couldn't use Spider-Man in this movie or didn't want to use him in this movie," he told LRM.
"But we were all really excited about the potential for Spider-Man and Venom at some point in the future meeting up. Without spoiling anything, there are other adversaries from the world of Venom that we're excited to meet up with in the future."
He added: "I felt like this movie is Venom's movie and I didn't want to distract from that. There is more than enough to explore with Eddie Brock and Venom in this film that we felt very satisfied with the story that we were telling."
Last June, Amy Pascal — a producer on both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Venom — muddied the waters when she told FilmStarts the movies "will now take place in the world that we are creating for Peter Parker."
"They'll be adjuncts to it, they may be different locations, but it will still all be in the same world," she reasoned. "And they will be connected to each other as well."
While Pascal tried to characterize — either intentionally or accidentally — the then-unnamed Sony Universe of Marvel Characters as an offshoot of Marvel Studios' 10-year-running shared universe, Feige told AlloCine there is "no plan" for Venom in the MCU, calling the Tom Hardy-led movie "a Sony project."
Pascal later clarified her comments when speaking to ComicBook.com during the Spider-Man: Homecoming press tour, telling us "all these characters are a part of the Marvel comic book universe."
"In that universe, they are all related to each other. Kevin makes characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe," she said. "These characters are separate, except for Spidey, who belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is why he's there."2comments
Asked if that rules out a future Spider-Man and Venom crossover, Feige said, "We never say never," with the addendum a merger isn't likely to happen "any time soon."
Venom opens October 5. Sony will then distribute the Marvel Studios-produced Spider-Man: Far From Home when it swings into theaters July 5, 2019.