Even though the Venom movie hits theaters in October, there’s still a lot that fans don’t know about the upcoming Spider-Man spin-off. Specifically, it’s unclear how much of a spin-off it’s even going to be. Will we catch a glimpse of a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? The movie’s director, Ruben Fleischer, recently indicated that Spidey will be MIA — for now.

“This feels very much like Venom’s movie,” Fleischer said when Empire asked about a possible cameo appearance by Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, as seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “It’s the introduction of the character. As to where it will go in future movies, and who he’ll run across, I can’t say.” said when Empire asked about a possible cameo appearance by Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, as seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “It’s the introduction of the character. As to where it will go in future movies, and who he’ll run across, I can’t say.”

The confusion all stems from some licensing rights — and, if you think about it, it’s pretty wild that understanding superheroes in 2018 requires an understanding of major deals between massive corporations. See, Sony, which is making Venom, bought the film rights to Spider-Man back in the last ‘90s when Marvel was in bad shape. The company had filed for bankruptcy, and sold rights to their most popular characters, like Spidey and the X-Men (who went to Fox). Nobody at the time would’ve imagined that, two decades later, Disney-ownd Marvel Studios would be the biggest deal in Hollywood.

Meanwhile, Sony’s Spider-Man movies had hit a rut. The Amazing Spider-Man films, starring Andrew Garfield, weren’t as successful as the company wanted them to be. So, Sony and Marvel struck a deal: Spider-Man would join the MCU, and Marvel Studios would reap the bulk of the benefits when he appeared in an Avengers film while Sony made bank on solo flicks like Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Sony, though, still has the rights to all things Spider-Man, and they want to take advantage of that. That’s why we’re getting a Tom Hardy-led Venom movie, a seemingly standalone film about a Spider-Man villain that doesn’t appear to have any in-universe connections to Spider-Man. Maybe, as Fleischer said, Spider-Man and Venom will cross paths one day, but today is not that day.

Venom looks pretty good, based on the first two trailers. Elsewhere in the Empire interview, Fleischer praised Hardy’s acting praised Hardy’s acting and said his influences for the film included “John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, even An American Werewolf In London.” Sounds fun! Still gonna be kind of weird to shake the feeling that this movie about a Spider-Man character won’t have Spider-Man in it, but it’s increasingly looking like that is the correct take on Venom.

Venom opens on October 5, 2018.

Photos via Sony/Marvel