Will An Old Villain Return In 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'?

Take this with a good degree of caution, but Ultimate Spider-Man trainspotters may enjoy the speculation, at least.

As director Marc Webb has been posting photos from the set of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, he has hinted at something unexpected. His last photo showed what could be a morgue locker, or some much more compact storage unit, along with a "happy birthday" tag. Each item seems pretty innocuous, but there is rampant speculation that taken together, and in context with the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series, they suggest that Venom is coming back to the big screen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

First up, here's Webb's tweet:

That locker, as ComingSoon points out, is very similar to the one in which Peter Parker discovers the experiment that leads to the Ultimate Spider-Man version of Venom. Same number, even.

But there's a bit more. That "happy birthday" tag adds to the question. ComingSoon also points out that this month can be construed as the 25th anniversary of Venom's original comics debut. Crave, meanwhile, offers up this theory:

That is not, however, the significance of the hashtag "#happybirthday." February 6 is the birthday of Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-star Dane DeHaan, who plays Harry Osborn in the sequel. Translation: "Happy Birthday, Dane DeHaan... Here's your Venom suit."

If we're right (again, if Marc Webb isn't just screwing with us), then Dane DeHaan would be the new Venom. And that makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? The son of the Green Goblin, friends with Peter Parker, who will eventually turn on the hero. With his roots in OsCorp and his best friend Spider-Man destined to turn against Harry's father, Dane DeHaan seems like the perfect candidate for the Venom suit in the new franchise, and then get his own solo movie, courtesy of DeHaan's old Chronicle director, Josh Trank.

Is that what's really going on? It's a fun theory, at least. Sony still wants the standalone Venom movie, and this could help launch it. Does this mean Venom would be an active character in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which already features Electro, the Rhino, and presumably Norman Osborne? Impossible to say from here. Norman Osborne might not be playing the part many have assumed, with Dane DeHaan becoming the third baddie. Which still seems like a lot. This could be setting up something for the third planned Spidey film, or it may all be total misdirection.

Just to keep things current, here's Webb's latest pic: