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Sony sets release date for a Spidey-free Venom movie

Adding yet another complication to the ever-winding web of interrelated character rights and film franchises derived from Marvel Comics’ various licensing deals, Sony has announced that it’s moving forward with a standalone superhero movie based on Spider-Man villain Venom—except without any hint of Peter Parker or his web-swinging alter-ego being involved. Variety reports that the studio hopes that this long-in-the-works Venom movie can swing out on its own, instead, operating independently of the deal that gives the company co-custody of Spider-Man with Marvel Studios.

Venom is currently scheduled for October 5, 2018 (knocking aside Fede Alvarez’s coincidentally titled The Girl In The Spider’s Web). It’s not clear how Sony will free the cannibalistic vigilante’s origins—which literally involve being symbiotically attached to Peter Parker’s body—from the Spider-Man mythos, but the company is apparently hoping that the movie can kick off an independent superhero franchise of its own, free of its own Spider-Man: Homecoming or Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. (It had previous hopes for a standalone Sinister Six at one point, but the tepid reception to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 put that idea on hold.)

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