Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is swinging ever closer - and with it comes confirmation of something that fans have long-suspected. During yesterday's Summer Game Fest, Insomniac creative director Brian Intihar confirmed that Eddie Brock will not be Venom's host in the upcoming video game.
Intihar said, "It is not Eddie Brock, our goal was to tell an original story something you haven't seen in the comics and the movies yet...All those things you love about the character are going to be there, but how the story plays out, who is Venom, you'll have to play the game to see."
Intihar's words make a lot of sense. Brock, as a character, comes with decades-worth of lore and associations from the comics and the movies. It would be hard for Insomniac's game to tell a new narrative about Eddie without drawing immediate comparisons to what has come before.
Let's go back to the beginning... Eddie Brock was created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane, first appearing (albeit briefly) in 1986's Web of Spider-Man #18, before properly debuting a couple of years later in 1988's The Amazing Spider-Man #300.
A bullish reporter at the Daily Globe, Brock falsely identified a serial killer, only to be disgraced when Spider-Man revealed the true culprit. Consumed with a hatred of Spidey, he makes the ideal host for the alien Venom symbiote, recently rejected by Peter Parker.
But Brock is no simple bad guy. Following those early adventures, he has been alternately a terrifying supervillain and a surprising hero. At various times he's rejected Venom entirely, sought to make amends for his crimes, bonded with a number of alternative symbiotes, including the deadly Toxin and the mindless Anti-Venom, had a son (more on him shortly...), died, been resurrected, studied time travel with Kang, and all that comics good stuff.
Currently he's acting as the King in Black - the cosmic god of the symbiotes - but he still finds himself pulled between his best and worst instincts.
At the movies
It's the complex, neither all-good or all-bad, version of Brock and Venom that we see in the two Tom Hardy-starring films (let's just skip over Sam Raimi's whiffy Spider-Man 3, which paints Topher Grace's Eddie as a fairly two-dimensional villain).
Now, these are not amongst the greatest superhero movies ever made, but the casting of Hardy was a stroke of brilliance. His performance is perfectly in tune with the goofy tone of the material, and his Brock is empathetic and funny, while still convincing as an action hero. While many will have fond memories of the 90's Spider-Man animated series, which featured the character in several episodes, there's little doubt that, for the majority of the audience, Tom Hardy is the only Eddie Brock.
Bonding Venom to someone else in the video game neatly sidesteps these associations. It enables Insomniac to tell a story where we don't already know the ending - and sets up a nice little bit of pre-release mystery in the process.
Ready, Eddie? No
So who is the new Venom? The safe money is on Harry Osborn - something that was hinted at in both the first game and the Miles Morales spinoff sequel.
Then again, perhaps Insomniac are planning a twist of some kind. Could it be that we see Peter Parker's former-bully, Flash Thompson, arrive and bond with the symbiote to become Agent Venom? That seems unlikely - Flash hasn't been established in the games yet, and the comics depiction of Agent Venom is quite different to the footage we've seen from the game so far.
Or could it be Dylan Brock - Eddie's son? He's the current comics Venom and that would certainly allow Insomniac to tell a new story. Still, you can't help but think that would be an unsatisfying reveal. You can already imagine the baffled shrugs and cries of, "Who?"
For the moment, then, we're gonna hedge our bets and assume that Venom in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 really is Harry - someone with a strong personal connection to Peter Parker and who, remarkably, has never really been associated with Venom in the comics - though the Ultimate Spider-Man animated show certainly went there.
There's plenty of dramatic mileage in having Peter having to fight his former best friend (as the comics and films have tapped into many times) and Insomniac have certainly foreshadowed this development. In putting Eddie Brock on the shelf for now, and focusing instead on a character who truly means something to Peter Parker, Insomniac are staying true to the series' character-based roots.
Discover our regularly updated guide to everything we know about Marvel's Spider-Man 2.