Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

A Spider-Man movie without Spider-Man? It's happening.

Sony have announced plans for a Spider-Man spin-off movie that won't actually star Spider-Man at all.

Instead the film will focus on Venom, one of Spidey's greatest and most popular villains from the comic book.

Variety reports that if Sony can keep both Spider-Man and his meek alter-ego Peter Parker out of the picture then Venom will get around the strict restrictions of their 'co-custody' clause with Marvel comics.

But this could be tricky.

First films are usually origin stories and Venom's origin is particularly intertwined with Spider-Man.

The short version is that he's an alien who previously attached or bonded himself to Spider-Man to get an imprint, take his form and clone his powers.

Which will be difficult to explain without having your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man swinging about.

That, however, is a problem for scriptwriters Scott Rosenberg (Jumanji) and Jeff Pinkner (The Dark Tower) to figure out. But they don't have much time. The film is due to hit cinemas next year on October 5.

Sony released no other details other than that they hope Venom will prove popular enough to become an ongoing franchise.

However fans of Spidey don't have to wait long to see the webslinger on the big screen.

Sony's latest reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, swings into cinemas in a couple of months on July 6.

- NZ Herald

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