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

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