It's the third day of production on director Marc Webb's sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man and he just tweeted a new behind-the-scenes photo that shows off a metallic locker with the message Day 3. #happybirthday.
As revealed yesterday, the set appears to be somewhere in Oscorp labs and fans of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley's "Ultimate Spider-Man" are likely to draw an immediate association between that locker and the comics' Oscorp lockers in which Peter Parker and Eddie Brock discover the experiment that becomes Venom. Could Webb be revealing an unexpected story arc that will be featured in the May 2, 2014 release or is this just a bit of misdirection? Compare the photos below to decide for yourself.
The "Ultimate" version of Venom was, unlike the classic take on the character, of terrestrial origin. Designed as a cure for cancer by scientists Richard Parker and Eddie Brock, the experiment was never finished until years after both men had died and their children, Peter Parker and Eddie Brock, Jr., discovered the protoplasmic dip in an Oscorp locker.
Venom previously appeared in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace. It has been reported that Sony Pictures is looking at creating a separate Venom feature film that may have ties to Webb's cinematic universe.
What is known is that the film will see Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Martin Sheen reprising with Jamie Foxx joining as Electro, Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, Paul Giammatti as the Rhino and Felicity Jones in an unnamed role.
UPDATE: While there's still no proof one way or the other, we have a potential explanation for Webb's #happybirthday hashtag. As longtime Marvel readers might recall, the first full appearance of Venom was in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #299. Although the cover is dated April 1988, the book, like all Marvel comics, hit the stands two months earlier. That means that this month, February, 2013 is actually the 25th anniversary of the brain-eating symbiote.
That being said, it's just as likely that Webb is offering birthday wishes to someone on the crew or to a personal friend. Check back for updates as they become available.