VENOM’s tagline, “the world has enough superheroes,” may tell us a lot about Sony’s upcoming movies featuring villains and peripheral Spider-Man characters. Where the MCU is focused on superheroes, Sony is going to focus on darker characters.
With Tom Hardy and his toothy, long-tongued alter ego as stars, Venom was a smash after it opened on October 5. It’s a standalone movie, but thanks to its cadre of alien parasites and a guest appearance from Woody Harrelson, VENOM set up some great concepts, and many questions about the future.
Here are five of the biggest questions we have about Sony’s Spider-Man offshoot universe. Note: Minor spoilers for VENOM are below.
Will J. Jonah Jameson Appear?
The Daily Bugle publisher and vocal Spider-Man critic J. Jonah Jameson has been absent from the big screen since 2007’s Spider-Man 3. Now VENOM seems to open the door for his return with a subtle name-drop. The film begins with a Life Foundation rocket crash-landing on Earth. The ship’s sole survivor is revealed to be John Jameson. In the comics, he’s J. Jonah Jameson’s son, alluding to the seasoned editor’s existence in this universe.
Even though Jonah is a major character in Spider-Man’s mythology, the MCU is currently focused on Peter Parker’s teenage years. With no indication that Peter will pursue a career in journalism anytime soon, it seems like Jameson won’t come into play in the MCU any time soon. Since Eddie Brock is pursuing journalism in Venom, perhaps JJJ will turn up soon. (His son John also becomes a key character in Marvel Comics, so there might be a place for him, too.)
How Will Cletus Become Carnage?
(Minor spoilers ahead!) VENOM also lays the groundwork for the introduction of Eddie Brock’s greatest enemy, Carnage. In a mid-credits sequence, Brock interviews serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) in prison. Pretty quickly, Kasady vows to bring carnage to the outside world, teasing his transformation into the murderous Carnage.
So how will the imprisoned Kasady come into contact with his own alien organism? Speaking with IGN, director Ruben Fleischer explained how Carnage’s comic book origin is a hint to Kasady’s transformation in the movie universe:
In the comics, he’s a spawn of Venom’s and basically he and Eddie in the comics are cell mates and so that’s why we put him in a jail cell […] [We Wanted] to have them in jail cell proximity and so we left the door open for how Venom can spawn Carnage and how Cletus might someday become that character. Carnage could be the main villain in a Venom sequel, so it shouldn’t be too long until we learn how Kasady comes across his alien companion.
How Will Other Characters Fit In?
VENOM is the beginning of a loose cinematic saga Sony plans to expand with solo projects for characters like Michael Morbius, Kraven, and Silk. Each is a very distinct character. Morbius brings a sense of horror, while characters like Black Cat and Silver Sable bring more action and thriller sensibilities to the table.
Having a bunch of high-profile characters who don’t interact with one another seems unlikely. Their paths pretty much have to cross at some point — we just don’t know how. And we don’t know how this group of crimefighters and antiheroes fit into a long-term plot. Considering Venom is the only film in the franchise, Sony probably doesn’t either.
Will Venom Be The Main Character?
Sony needs its own Iron Man to serve as the face of the franchise and carry it forward. Venom seems like a prime candidate. Aside from his obvious similarities to Spider-Man in terms of abilities, his potentially central place in the series is also an important factor.
VENOM tells us that symbiotes are constantly searching for planets to conquer and Earth was their latest target. Without speculating too much, Riot’s defeat opens the possibility of more symbiotes coming to Earth to finish his mission. A threat like that would put Venom right at the center of the action.
Having Eddie Brock as the face of this series is an exciting possibility. That said, with so many other antiheroes and crimefighters coming into play in the near future, the franchise needs to develop in order for us to have a better idea of who will lead it.
What About Into The Spider-Verse?
Sony’s animated Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse focuses on Miles Morales, who gets his own spider powers. Soon, he joins a group of Spider-Men and -Women from different dimensions to stop a reality-threatening problem. So far, the film seems to be separate from Sony’s other films. But could the animated and live-action worlds connect at some point?
VENOM‘s final post-credits scene is actually a scene from Into The Spider-Verse, offering a sneak peek at the colorful movie. The Into the Spider-Verse sequence shows Miles Morales escaping from the police while carrying an unconscious Peter Parker on his back. When seen after VENOM, this scene is prefaced by text saying, “meanwhile, in another universe.” That suggests Miles Morales isn’t from the same dimension as Venom. Maybe the rest of Sony’s Spidey movies are also in other dimensions? If these places can connect to the one housing Miles Morales then VENOM’s could, too.