Topher Grace wouldn't necessarily reprise the role in the bad guy spinoff
Sony is reportedly developing a "Spider-Man" franchise spinoff based around the villainous Venom.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jacob Estes ("Mean Creak") wrote one draft of a "Venom" script, but the studio is contemplating moving in a different direction with a different writer.
Venom isn't so much a single character in the Marvel pantheon as the name given to a gooey alien symbiote that latches onto a human host, bonds with the form and takes on super-and-evil powers. Venom was first introduced back in 1984 and since then, it has merged with a variety of characters including men, women and Spider-Man himself.
In "Spider-Man 3," Topher Grace played the character in its early Eddie Brock incarnation, but due to Venom's amorphous nature, the studio would be able to easily recast without alienating fans of the blockbuster franchise.
In a summer of wildly successful comic book movies, the "Venom" property is attractive to Sony because, according to the HR, under the original licensing deal between the studio and Marvel, Sony has provisions allowing for spinoffs based around the Spider-Man universe characters.
Sony continues to develop a fourth "Spider-Man" film, with a targeted 2011 release date, but it remains unclear which members of the core franchise team -- including director Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst -- would return.