Venom: New photo gets up close and personal with Tom Hardy's symbiote

If we are Venom, then we have a face full o' fangs, a short-if-not-entirely-non-existent neck, two elongated eyeballs, and a serious drooling problem. 

While studio Sony Pictures has been getting its proverbial ducks in a row to unleash some exciting info about Venom at next week's San Diego Comic-Con, Entertainment Weekly has given those who aren't attending the convention a sweet treat: two new photos from the film. 

The first snap gets right up in Venom's grill – it's an up-close shot of the symbiote Tom Hardy plays, dripping in some kind of unidentified goo and barring his many, many saliva-covered teeth for all to see. 

Things are less visceral but just as intense in the second photo, which sees Hardy in character as Eddie Brock, the disgraced journalist who transforms into Venom after an insidious alien symbiote enters his body and bonds with him. Hardy's Eddie sits restrained in what appears to be a hospital chair, two massive lights shining down behind him, while Riz Ahmed's sinister Dr. Carlton Drake stares him down. 

Given that, in the Marvel Comics lore, Dr. Drake performed experiments on Venom at the Life Foundation and extracted five extra entities (Agony, Lasher, Riot, Phage, and Scream) from the symbiote, it seems Eddie — both in human form and as Venom — will be Dr. Drake's little plaything in the upcoming movie.

These new photos — the one of Venom more so than the one of Eddie and Dr. Drake — serve as another point of discussion amongst those both eagerly awaiting Venom and those who would rather watch paint dry than shell out any cash to see the film. The buzz around Venom has been high and undeniable but divisive, with many throwing up their arms and expressing frustration at how Sony and director Ruben Fleischer appear to have handled the character and his story. Footage from the trailers, which Forbes' Dani Di Placido argues are "bracing for disappointment," has already spurred on the naysayers, and these photos may only add fuel to that fire. 

For our part, we know there are a ton of reasons why Venom could be one of this year's best movies and why Tom Hardy will blow us all away with his performance. And even more importantly, Hardy himself couldn't be happier about playing the symbiote. 

"As far as Marvel characters, I have to say for me, Venom looks the coolest," Hardy told EW. "That sounds a bit shallow! But I appreciate that he has a kind of brazen swagger and a zero foxtrot attitude … There's a tragic clown element, which I find funny and is harmonious with some of the work that I like to do. There's something funny about the circumstances of having a gift but it's a tragic gift. It's a superpower you don't really want, but at the same time, you love it. It makes you feel special."

Well said, Hardy. Well said.

Also starring Jenny Slate as Dora Skirth, Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, and Woody Harrelson possibly as Carnage, Venom is set for release on October 5.