In news that clearly came from the farthest depths of left field, Tom Hardy has been cast as the lead in Venom, Sony’s upcoming film about the famous Spider-Man villain. That’s not all: Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer will direct the movie, which is reportedly not a spinoff from Spider-Man: Homecoming, but a standalone project of sorts. Oh, and that’s still not all: Sony has shared an official announcement photo featuring Hardy in one of his classic Hardy-selfie poses, sporting a Venom t-shirt — in case you missed the point.

When major news like this breaks on a Friday afternoon, it tends to be something real wild, and this one does not disappoint. Sony has officially set Tom Hardy to play the title role in their new Venom movie, and they have the pic to prove it:

As the tweet notes, production begins this fall for an October 5, 2018 release. Per Deadline, Ruben Fleischer will direct Venom, which explores the story of the classic Spider-Man villain — though this film will not be related to Sony and Marvel’s highly-anticipated Spider-Man: Homecoming, which hits theaters this summer. It will, however, be the first film in Sony’s Marvel universe after their Spidey reboot, and if previous rumors are true, it’s an R-rated affair.

It’s unclear exactly what Sony’s approach is with Venom, a character whose traditional origin story sees Peter Parker’s rival Eddie Brock transformed into a demented super-villain when he merges with a deadly alien symbiote (not the alien monster from Life, by the way). Despite his early villainous role in the comics, Venom went on to become an anti-hero with his own stories, and even teamed up with the Sinister Six (Sony’s previous efforts to make a Sinister Six movie were seemingly abandoned).

Hardy is definitely an interesting choice for this strange project. And hey, maybe we’ll get to hear more of his Bane-voice — because what if that wasn’t “Bane-voice”? What if that’s just Tom Hardy’s “comic book movie villain-voice”? Can you even imagine how wacky and wonderful THAT would be? *Muffled Bane* “When my symbiote strangles you to death, then you have my permission to die.”

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