Spider-Man 3

Columbia Pictures/ZUMApress.com

Could Venom be the antidote to Spider-Man withdrawal?

Inspired by The Dark Knight's Joker-driven success and without another Spidey film on its slate until 2011, Sony is setting the ball rolling on a spinoff centered on the web-slinger's parasitic nemesis Venom, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Topher Grace played the unhinged shutterbug turned symbiotic monster in 2007's Spider-Man 3.

Not sure that the 30-year-old actor can carry his own franchise, however—like Hugh Jackman, who will be going it alone in next year's X-Men Origins: Wolverine—Sony is supposedly open to the idea of pinning Venom's sticky-tipped appendages on another leading man.

In the film, the photo-fixing Eddie Brock becomes Venom after the alien symbiote that turned Spider-Man's suit black finds an even more welcoming host in Eddie, who when the symbiote smushes its way into him happens to be in church praying for Peter Parker's death. Just deserts, indeed.

And there's oh-so-much-more backstory to Brock in the Marvel comic books, which theoretically would make for a more fulfilling ride for purists.

While neither Marvel nor Sony would comment, the Reporter was told Sony commissioned Joseph Estes to pen the first draft and is also looking to other writers to perhaps take the story in a different direction.

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