So this week, seemingly out of nowhere, Sony announced its plans for a solo Venom movie. Though there were reports about the project back in 2016, so little of the film was heard of that it didn’t even seem real. It’s legit, though, and it’s slated to come out soon, in 2018. Intended to stay separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony is pursuing its own franchise of Venom and Symbiote characters that will, somehow, not include the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Sony has reportedly enlisted Dante Harper, the screenwriter of Alien: Covenant, to pen the feature film. There’s no director publicly attached at the moment, so based on that alone it seems as if the studio is willing to pursue a science-fiction horror film as opposed to the usual superhero origin story. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible to tell a “superhero” film with Venom. Besides the fact that he’s one of the notorious members of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, when he’s on his own, Venom is usually somewhere in space. Or San Francisco.

Venom as a character first appeared in a 1988 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man from David Michelinie, Mike Zeck, and Todd McFarlane. But, the source of Venom’s powers was actually introduced several years earlier when Peter Parker encountered an alien parasite on Battleworld, during the events of Secret Wars. The parasite enhanced Spider-Man’s abilities and covered him in his now iconic black suit. When Peter Parker returned home, the Symbiote followed him and attached itself to Eddie Brock, a rival journalist who has a grudge against Peter, creating the first true version of the now-infamous villain.

In 1993, several years after Venom’s debut, David Michelinie wrote the character’s first solo comic, Venom: Lethal Protector, which follows Eddie Brock as he moves to San Francisco to get out of Spidey’s purview. While Venom doesn’t turn over a whole new leaf entirely, he does become the city’s “lethal protector” as he fights a horde of evil symbiotes that are let loose. The story continues in Venom: The Enemy Within as Venom fights some of Spider-Man’s enemies like the Punisher and Demogoblin.

In 2011, X-Force writer Rick Remender overhauled the very idea of Venom. Changing the host from Eddie Brock to Peter’s former high school bully Flash Thompson, Venom is turned into Agent Venom, a gun-toting spec-ops agent for the U.S. government. As Agent Venom — who is limited from bonding with the Symbiote for too long and is implanted with a “kill switch” in case he goe rogue — Flash takes on a slew of enemies until he joins the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s pretty much impossible for Sony’s Venom to even try to adapt this storyline, but a weaponized Venom for the government? Remender proved it’s hardly the half-baked idea it sounds.

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Then, there’s Carnage. The blood-red villain is a sociopathic serial killer who bonded with another Symbiote parasite. Essentially, he’s a more extreme version of the already extreme baddie, and he’s battled Venom on more than one occasion. Their most famous showdown took place in Peter Milligan’s Spider-Man: Venom vs. Carnage.

Currently, Venom is back to its old ways, having infected a new host, Lee Price, who has been using the Symbiote for his own ends. Like Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, it’d be wise if Sony pursued an alien, urban horror movie than a superhero adventure.

With Dante Harper writing the script, it’s exciting to rethink Venom as a creature/parasite horror movie in the vein of Alien or the upcoming sci-fi movie Life, which Marvel fans just so happen to think could be a Venom movie. It’s difficult to think of Venom’s comics as providing any basis for the movies, though. Not when he’s been so entangled with Spider-Man for so long.

Sony’s Venom is slated to release October 5, 2018.

Photos via Marvel Comics