In an interview posted today by MTV News, two stars of next month's Sony Pictures release Venom, Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed, answered a lightning round of questions their host referred to as "speed-dating." Fun "date-esque" facts were revealed (both Hardy and Ahmed really seem to like olives on their pizza), but the meatiest answer came when Hardy drifted into his own hopes for the duo of characters he plays in the film, which debuts October 5.
In the film, which centers on a Marvel comics Spider-Man villain, Hardy plays the titular role of Venom, an alien "symbiote" that lives by taking over host bodies. And he also plays Eddie Brock, a career journalist whose unbridled ambition leaves him hosting said extraterrestrial, instead of, say, a TV talk show or news hour. Ahmed for his part plays Carlton Drake, a billionaire whose company, Life Industries, is experimenting on the symbiotes (with grave results).
In discussing his hopes for the silver screen future of Venom, Hardy told MTV, "I'd love to go through all the Avengers as well with it, but that's above my pay grade." He then asked his co-star Ahmed, "Perhaps you could have a word?" Ahmed then clarified that Hardy was basically asking him to ask the Avengers if he could have a fight with them.
So, could he? Well, strictly speaking, as things stand now he could have a fight with the Avengers, if by Avengers we mean just one Avenger: Tom Holland's Spider-Man. I'd like to make the case that Venom could theoretically fight Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, as well, but that's highly debatable.
The film rights to Venom and all Spider-Man characters are owned by Sony, and Venom the film is the first movie to be released in the new Sony Marvel Universe, an interconnected world of films which all present legal agreements between Sony and Marvel detail as existing adjunct to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So what does adjunct mean? Well, it means the two share Tom Holland's Spider-Man, for one. When Sony agreed to let Spider-Man loose into the MCU for Captain America: Civil War and continued the crossovers with last year's Sony-Marvel collab Spider-Man Homecoming and etc., it still retained Spidey for its own films, and is building its own Marvel universe of interconnected Sony Marvel properties (it has 900 character rights to choose from). So if/when Sony finalizes its Silver Sable and Black Cat films (formerly the in-development Silver & Black for both, but now supposedly two separate films), Venom and Spidey and anyone from Morbius to Nightwatch could show up in them. They could be featured in standalone films, or could intersect. The whole Spider-Man universe is theirs, so of course, though he's absent from next month's film, Venom could theoretically fight one Avenger, Spider-Man, at any time.
Now, is it possible to make the case that since the Sony films exist in the same universe as Spider-Man Homecoming, and Tony Stark appears in Spider-Man Homecoming, theoretically Venom could also fight Tony Stark? It's possible, and as the Spider-Man deal itself shows, Marvel Studios and Sony could always cut another deal down the line.
Though of course, between Hardy and Ahmed, it is Ahmed's character, Carlton Drake, who is the more natural fit for a fight with Tony (just two billionaires duking it out!), and Ahmed, for one, is not worried about how Drake would do in such a battle. "I think my character would think [of Tony Stark], it's great all the toys he's making, but I'm actually trying to save the world." Sounds like a comic book billionaire fight match made in heaven.