Venom not having a white spider logo on his chest in the upcoming Tom Hardy-led film is not a legal decision as much as it is a creative choice regarding the film's narrative.
On the pages of Marvel Comics, Spider-Man plays a role in Eddie Brock and Venom's origin story. In Sony's upcoming film, the origin story is altered in an effort to keep the film isolated from other Marvel heroes and stand on its own. As a result, the white spider logo seen on Venom's chest in Marvel comics was removed.
"The most challenging thing, obviously, was to figure out what to put on his chest to replace the spider since we couldn't use the spider in our film," Venom director Ruben Fleischer told ComicBook.com. "We went through a million iterations before we landed on the sort of pattern of veins that he has in the movie."
While the logo's absence is a deviation from the source material, Fleischer's approach was always driven by the books. "For me I was always just driven by the comics, just wanted to be as true as possible," Fleischer said. "In arriving at the design of him I worked closely with a 3D modeler, and we had tons of references from the comics that I pulled panels to get his posture, his scale, his size, his mass, and then obviously the iconic mouth, and eyes, and tongue. That was super important."
Of course, the question of whether Sony was allowed to use the spider logo while dealing Spider-Man out to Marvel Studios did come up. "There was a lot of legal considerations, but the most important thing was more creative which was if Spider-Man's not gonna be in the movie, and his origin is not from Spider-Man, then logically it doesn't make any sense that he would have a spider," Fleischer explained. "So, as soon as we knew that Venom didn't originate from Spider-Man in our version of the movie, then we had to figure out something else to put in the spider's place."
Still, a comic book fan at heart, Fleischer hopes to see Spider-Man and Venom come face-to-face on the big screen, eventually. "I will say I think Tom Holland is a fantastic Spider-Man," Fleischer said. "I really loved [Spider-Man: Homecoming], I'm really excited for the next one. I'm friends with Jon Watts and I've met Tom Holland and I know that he and Hardy are excited to go toe to toe so that would be a version I personally would be very excited about."
Venom hits theaters on October 5, 2018.