Everything We Know

Everything We Know About Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Who's returning (Hey, Mrs. Chen!), who's new, and what are the odds this will somehow cross over with Marvel's Spider-Man? We break it all down.

by | May 19, 2021 | Comments

While Marvel Studio pictures appear with a clockwork precision that only a worldwide pandemic could pause, Sony’s attempts to make use of the Spider-Man characters it controls have been less reliable. Amid multiple restarts, a long-in-the-works plan to make a Sinister Six movie, and a critical hack of Sony’s email system a few years back, it’s no wonder they chose to ally with Marvel Studios to bring Spidey to the MCU.

But Sony also continued to develop ideas independent of Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) trip to the larger Marvel world. Occasionally known as the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, the concept finally clicked with the one-two punch of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Venom. Both were commercial successes and proved Sony could mount a Spider-Man(-adjacent) film without Marvel’s help.

Provided, of course, they’re still interested in going it alone.

Now, after its own COVID delay, the first true installment of the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters begins with Venom: Let There Be Carnage. If the recently released trailer is any indication, it should succeed in similar ways to its predecessor despite a new creative at the helm (more on that in a moment), but will it truly set the, er, “SPUMC” reality apart from the MCU? Let’s take a look at what we know about Venom: Let There Be Carnage to see if we can discover where the film exists in the many Marvel Universes.

Familiar Faces

Poster for Venom

(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures)

It is fair to say one of the primary reasons for the first Venom’s success was the surprising double act of Eddie Brock and the symbiote on his back known as Venom, both played by Tom Hardy; happily, Hardy was the first element secured for the sequel. Of course, these days, studios sign actors up for multi-picture deals just in case, but with Venom, Hardy’s return for Let There Be Carnage and an eventual third film is essential.

Sure, Venom could find a new host. He has passed to others before, including Eddie’s ex-girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), who also returns for Let There Be Carnage. Reid Scott also returns as Anne’s incredibly likable current boyfriend, Dr. Dan Lewis. And as the recent trailer made clear, Peggy Lu is back as neighborhood convenience store proprietor, Mrs. Chen – as it happens, she, Eddie, and Venom have worked out some sort of protection deal so she doesn’t get held up as often. Although, the trailer suggests that deal is still tenuous, as Venom is always looking to make a meal of the nearest non-Eddie human.

And, oddly, that’s pretty much all the returning cast Sony could really import from the first film. Characters played by the likes of Riz Ahmed and Jenny Slate did not make it out of that story alive. That said, there is one character who made a brief appearance returning for the sequel in a big way. Woody Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady – seen for a moment in Venom’s mid-credit stinger – is the primary antagonist this time around. From the trailer, it appears his execution date is approaching. It also seems it will not go well, as it activates another alien symbiote called Carnage.

Woody Harrelson in Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Or, at least, that’s one interpretation. In the comics, Carnage was the disregarded offspring of Venom who found a kindred spirit in serial killer Kasady. Together they did plenty of damage and battled Venom, Spider-Man, and anyone else who got in their way. It will be interesting to see if this Carnage is also the offspring of movie Venom and whether or not his initial indifference to his child will be a point of contention between him and Eddie. That said, now that they share Eddie’s impossibly large San Francisco apartment, there still needs to be some conflict between them.

Behind the camera, the producing team of Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Amy Pascal – of The Amazing Spider-Man duology — return, as do Hardy and Kelly Marcel as executive producers.

The Fresh Hosts

Naomie Harris in Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Whether or not you consider Harrelson a new member of the cast, there are a handful of other freshmen to the Venom family. Naomie Harris joins up as Frances Barrison, a young woman whose encounter with the symbiote known as Shriek will lead her to Kasady before too long. Stephen Graham plays Mulligan, reportedly a detective looking to link Eddie to Kasady in the hopes of finding the location of victims the killer chose not to reveal — although, in the comics, Mulligan has his own symbiote issues to deal with. Sean Delaney and Larry Olubamiwo are also set to appear in smaller roles. Delaney even claimed his is a literal “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment.

But perhaps the biggest name to join the franchise is not a new actor, but the new director. Due to scheduling difficulties with his commitments to Zombieland: Double Tap, director Ruben Fleischer stepped away from Let There Be Carnage. Sony quickly launched a search for a new filmmaker and found Andy Serkis.

Yes, you read that right, the man who brought Gollum to life in The Lord of the Rings trilogy directed Venom 2. As it happens, Serkis began directing features with the 2017 biopic Breathe, starring former Spider-Man Andrew Garfield. The next year, Netflix released his second film, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle – which had the misfortune of arriving on the scene after Jon Favreau’s remake of the Disney animated version. Nevertheless, Sony and the film’s producers went with him because of his extensive knowledge of motion capture technology and performance.

Andy Serkis

(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)

Backing Serkis up on screenwriting duties is Marcel, who replaces Jeff Pinker. The Saving Mr. Banks co-writer wrote the script after hashing out a story with fellow EP Hardy. Hutch Parker, a veteran of Fox Marvel movies like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Logan, is also an executive producer on the film. Other crewmembers include Breathe and Once Upon a Time … In Hollywoods Robert Richardson as director of photography, production designer Oliver Scholl, and composer Marco Beltrami.

This new company of talents will tell a further tale of Eddie and Venom becoming besties – in fact, Tolmach, Hardy, and Fleischer (before he confirmed his departure) all emphasized the buddy movie feeling would be amplified this time around. Meanwhile, they will also have to face the threat of Carnage, Shriek, and whatever other symbiote terrors may yet emerge as part of the plot. Thanks to Venom’s popularity in the 1990s and today, there are plenty of his fellow goo-monsters out there waiting for their chance on the big screen.

Well, provided Venom doesn’t face Peter Parker first.

The Madness of the Marvel Multiverse

Stephen Graham in Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Eagle-eyed watchers of the Let There Be Carnage trailer took note of a partially obscured headline during a shot in which Graham’s detective character is reading the Daily Bugle: “ENGERS L IGHT M.” The potential meaning of the first word in that headline is clear — Marvel superheroes exist in Venom’s world. But are they same Av-“ENGERS” we’ve come to love thanks to films like Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy?

After a contentious renegotiation of the film rights to Spider-Man in 2019, it is unclear if Disney and Sony are chummy enough to share characters with more abandon. But at the same time, a 2020 trailer for the much-delayed SPUMC film Morbius (read more about that here) featured references to Spidey’s current problems in the MCU and an appearance by Michael Keaton as (presumably) Adrian Toomes from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Also, Serkis has said the characters in Venom are aware of Spider-Man, and more recently, Sony struck a deal to bring the Spider-Man films to Disney+, so the relationship may be warm enough for more cross-company cooperation.

J.K. Simmons in Spider-Man: Far From Home

(Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Oh, but then there’s the Bugle itself. Since the newspaper is part of the wider Spider-Man license, it did not appear in the MCU until the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, where it was the name of J. Jonah Jameson’s (J.K. Simmons) conspiracy theory website. The Bugle‘s usual print dimensions and trade dress in the the Carnage trailer suggests we are still dealing with two separate film universes.

To a certain extent, the Carnage and Morbius trailers are having a laugh with the asides to the MCU, but it is also possible a clearer narrative understanding will come to light once Spider-Man: No Way Home is released in December. Since that film will feature appearances by Sony Spider-Man characters like Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), and further references to the Multiverse, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Let There Be Carnage’s relative distance from the MCU will be explored in some way. At the moment, we’re inclined to believe Eddie and Venom’s adventure occur in a universe or two away from the prime MCU reality, but it could be the place Peter ends up calling home. That’s probably a good thing, as there are five other live-action Spider-Man related projects at Sony in need of a webslinger to tie the whole thing together.

As for now, Let There Be Carnage’s references to Spider-Men and the Avengers will probably remain joke fodder.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage releases on September 24, 2021.

Thumbnail image by Sony Pictures Entertainment

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

cancelled universal monsters popular Box Office zero dark thirty Rock olympics Avengers award winner sag awards biopic Anna Paquin free movies First Look 45 Bravo Summer suspense gangster Fargo parents Best Picture dark President singing competition vs. TCA Arrowverse OneApp Sneak Peek king kong Apple Ovation Amazon Studios fresh Logo Discovery Channel Spike stand-up comedy The Arrangement DC Comics series Reality Competition laika dexter toronto Superheroe Sony Pictures Certified Fresh political drama kong Year in Review kaiju movies rt archives crime thriller BAFTA Ghostbusters ID animated Best Actress Fall TV HFPA Hollywood Foreign Press Association basketball History best Binge Guide MSNBC Calendar finale comics USA Network new york VH1 Sundance Now revenge 4/20 heist movie Columbia Pictures tv talk richard e. Grant Mystery emmy awards dc Hallmark Video Games video on demand dogs witnail TNT GoT remakes spider-verse black comedy Hulu new zealand movie cartoon The Purge canceled adenture South by Southwest Film Festival 94th Oscars criterion Television Critics Association RT History 2021 adventure royal family reboot composers TV movies spanish Set visit Creative Arts Emmys Broadway Wes Anderson jamie lee curtis Oscar game show breaking bad rotten movies we love romantic comedy all-time CBS All Access New York Comic Con IFC Films Super Bowl National Geographic ViacomCBS Red Carpet Elton John joker talk show Television Academy Musicals facebook MCU cancelled television summer TV preview A&E Heroines screenings superhero TIFF USA godzilla Nickelodeon Martial Arts police drama Toys TCA Awards Dark Horse Comics Drama Pacific Islander sequels mcc james bond VICE Reality target SXSW werewolf spanish language saw based on movie what to watch book adaptation 21st Century Fox Family discovery theme song television Universal mockumentary Comic-Con@Home 2021 war Black Mirror lord of the rings Lifetime Christmas movies WarnerMedia Fox Searchlight DirecTV Food Network Showtime spain hispanic heritage month Emmys feel good indie Starz japan Apple TV Plus book Warner Bros. MGM Rocky cars period drama Mary Tyler Moore 2020 CW Seed doctor who 73rd Emmy Awards SDCC casting binge child's play high school Comic Book 007 Best Actor Shondaland blaxploitation trophy BBC America Sundance TV Trivia toy story crime drama hispanic screen actors guild jurassic park TCA 2017 A24 TruTV rt labs critics edition twilight Amazon Prime psychological thriller Rom-Com Endgame Writers Guild of America Horror Legendary Tumblr Infographic Apple TV+ CBS Schedule nfl SXSW 2022 Animation San Diego Comic-Con OWN Academy Awards HBO renewed TV shows E3 cinemax Pride Month streaming movies sequel comiccon FX ITV trailers blockbusters nbcuniversal Chernobyl 24 frames Acorn TV Tags: Comedy Fantasy Pop Universal Pictures live event italian FOX PlayStation action-comedy 2015 2018 crossover supernatural football films TCA Winter 2020 Lifetime 79th Golden Globes Awards TLC Brie Larson LGBT Mary Poppins Returns obi wan Rocketman chucky Comedy Central halloween asian-american comedies YouTube Red GLAAD satire hollywood Lionsgate Amazon American Society of Cinematographers TV ABC Signature Song of Ice and Fire franchise Biopics blockbuster Hallmark Christmas movies AMC indiana jones Pet Sematary BET live action Musical Spring TV french Thanksgiving posters australia space Exclusive Video Amazon Prime Video YouTube Premium cancelled TV shows Pixar Winners Star Trek DGA Polls and Games Netflix Christmas movies RT21 dramedy Walt Disney Pictures CNN dreamworks streaming christmas movies foreign Extras natural history know your critic japanese scary rom-coms wonder woman DC Universe robots Mudbound Trailer DC streaming service leaderboard Film Festival Tomatazos 1990s Marvel Television Pirates Disney streaming service game of thrones rotten Nominations critics Kids & Family Winter TV TV renewals spider-man Disney Plus 90s crime HBO Go HBO Max First Reviews Stephen King FXX TBS X-Men IFC documentary AMC Plus E! Travel Channel Women's History Month streamig Freeform Instagram Live children's TV 2019 mission: impossible die hard comic book movie Holiday BBC One archives mob stop motion Mindy Kaling Cartoon Network women Premiere Dates dragons ABC unscripted marvel cinematic universe Character Guide south america slashers MTV aliens teaser dceu PaleyFest marvel comics Classic Film Ellie Kemper Comics on TV Marathons new star wars movies quibi scary movies king arthur TV Land obituary golden globe awards YA Marvel Studios Country VOD Peacock The CW concert Christmas name the review telelvision Best and Worst psycho Sundance Marvel technology Disney Disney Channel docudrama Mary poppins festival GIFs Countdown Turner Classic Movies comic books Film anthology halloween tv boxoffice spinoff Paramount Plus The Walking Dead hist Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 93rd Oscars Photos justice league scene in color BBC Valentine's Day Cannes TV One BET Awards sitcom true crime zombies canceled TV shows zombie ratings cults spy thriller disaster debate Disney+ Disney Plus boxing Prime Video ABC Family Opinion Trophy Talk miniseries serial killer Turner summer preview Black History Month news independent transformers Netflix mutant classics NBA fast and furious Western worst Shudder Holidays sports See It Skip It social media Adult Swim The Academy Action hidden camera Funimation slasher versus Awards cooking Sci-Fi Watching Series Music Cosplay prank travel Image Comics 2017 sopranos summer TV 71st Emmy Awards festivals YouTube Alien international rt labs historical drama latino WGN science fiction Hear Us Out diversity elevated horror scorecard reviews NBC deadpool biography Paramount Pictures golden globes a nightmare on elm street thriller Neflix politics 99% green book Masterpiece Epix Teen Focus Features nature Tokyo Olympics ghosts critic resources Britbox cops harry potter Star Wars comic genre medical drama video Nat Geo Captain marvel Best Director Interview legend APB Oscars vampires Tarantino IMDb TV El Rey cats art house The Walt Disney Company adaptation broadcast 72 Emmy Awards LGBTQ aapi NYCC Comedy Podcast Vudu venice Emmy Nominations Awards Tour ESPN Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt superman strong female leads TCM CMT cancelled TV series The Witch docuseries Crackle anime Lucasfilm Baby Yoda Election FX on Hulu Paramount Spectrum Originals 2016 romance kids Paramount Network SundanceTV stoner 20th Century Fox Superheroes Esquire batman PBS Pop TV Grammys razzies Syfy Quiz black 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Tubi directors Crunchyroll monster movies worst movies Fox News comic book movies pirates of the caribbean young adult documentaries