^ Agreed. Raimi didn't want anything to do with Venom.
Also, IIRC, weren't the Stacys put in by Marvel's decree as well? There was a plot-line that could've been skipped for sure. The only purpose Gwen served (other than being a hottie) was for the scene where Peter tries to make MJ jealous, and they could've used the already established Betty Brant or the landlord's daughter for that.