Precious little is known about Sony’s Venom. Distantly-connected to the Marvel universe, Venom will star Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a disgraced journalist who becomes the host for an alien parasite that turns him into the Spider-Man villain and anti-hero Venom. Shooting has only just begun, but already there’s a hint towards something big in Venom’s history: Agent Venom.

Last Friday, a mirror selfie of Tom Hardy in his trailer was shared in a tweet by the official Venom Twitter account. There’s not a single item in the photo that reveals anything explicit about the movie, but there is a jacket with a black and white American flag patch, a common sight on many soldiers and veterans of the U.S. military. It is not, however, common on New York journalists.

So, is Venom changing the backstory of Eddie Brock to that of Flash Thompson, who in the comics joins the army and becomes the government-sanctioned superhero Agent Venom? Maybe not.

The most likely explanation for the patch is that it simply belongs to Tom Hardy. Aside from having played many soldiers and veterans throughout his career, the English actor is also shooting a war drama for Netflix, with Alien director Ridley Scott, in which Hardy will star as an American Navy Seal. So perhaps Hardy obtained the jacket (or is it a hat? It’s hard to tell) through means outside of Venom. But with details regarding Venom kept so heavily under wraps, a little speculation is harmless.

Spider-Man Venom Agent
Left: Tom Hardy's mirror selfie, shared on the official 'Venom' Twitter page. There's a piece of clothing with  black and white American flag patch. Right: A soldier with a similar black and white flag patch.

Originally created in 1988 by David Michelinie, Mike Zeck, and Image Comics founder Todd McFarlane, Venom first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (though he made a cameo in issue #299). Riding on the popularity of anti-heroes in the ‘90s, Venom quickly became a fan-favorite villain of Spider-Man and eventually starred in his own mini-series comics, such as Venom: Lethal Protector and Venom: The Madness.

The first and most prominent possessor of the Venom symbiote, aside from Peter Parker/Spider-Man, is Eddie Brock, a reporter at the Daily Bugle and Peter Parker’s biggest professional rival. When Eddie wrongly accuses someone of being a serial killer, Spider-Man finds the real killer, which damages Eddie Brock’s career. Attracted by Eddie’s anger, the symbiote latches onto Eddie, and together the two become Venom.

Venom Marvel
Cover of 'Venom' #4, from when Flash Thompson was Agent Venom.

In 2011, the symbiote was used for good when it latched onto Flash Thompson, one of Peter Parker’s old high school bullies who reformed and joined the military, where he was severely wounded in battle. That’s when the symbiote finds and fuses with Flash, and the two end up becoming Agent Venom, who works on behalf of the U.S. government and even joins the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Later this year in 2017, alien symbiotes will invade the Marvel Universe and turn many other Marvel heroes into “Venom” versions of themselves, in an event series called Venomverse.

Venom will hit theaters October 2018.

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