While Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage sees Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock take on Woody Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady, several Marvel movie characters have also been possessed by a Symbiote from the comics.
2018’s Venom saw the Spider-Man villain/anti-hero get his proper due after the controversial depiction in Spider-Man 3 from 2007. But the movie was just the beginning of the so-called Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, which will feature other Spider-Man characters in solo films. While Jared Leto will star as the titular hero in Morbius next year, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is getting another Marvel gig in Kraven the Hunter.
Before those characters get their big-screen debuts, Hardy reprises the Marvel anti-hero in Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage, which features the live-action introduction of Carnage, another Spider-verse Symbiote from the comics. After Harrelson’s Cletus got his brief debut in Venom’s post-credit scene, it served as a set-up for the sequel. While Venom and Carnage are Marvel’s most recognizable Symbiotes in the comics and the mainstream media, they still have several Symbiotes as part of the lore. As shown in Venom, Eddie’s Symbiote wasn’t alone as there is a whole race of them in the ever-expanding multiverse.
Since Marvel Comics evolved the Symbiote mythology throughout the years, it makes sense why Sony is utilizing more than just Venom in the new films. If a third Venom movie gets greenlit, it would make sense to see them go even further into the Symbiote-related comics.
In the comics, Eddie is normally the second host for the Venom Symbiote, after it was attached to Spider-Man. However, Hardy’s version of Eddie became the first host that the Symbiote bonded with after failing to connect with some of the Life Foundation’s test subjects. While initially fearing it, Eddie and the Symbiote eventually came to find an understanding, as they together became Marvel’s iconic lethal protector. That pattern is somewhat repeated in Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Leading up to the final confrontation with Carnage and Shriek (Naomie Harris), the opposing duo of Eddie and Venom once again find themselves in conflict – and even go through something of a break-up – before finding more of a balance in the end.
Towards the end of Venom, Eddie’s ex-girlfriend Anne Weying temporarily served as the host for his Symbiote when he got into trouble. As Eddie was about to be executed by Carlton Drake’s men, a Symbiote-possessed Anne showed up in time and stopped them. Even though it was a sudden moment for audience members who don’t read the comics, it actually tied back to Anne’s comic book counterpart. It was a nod to when Anne became She-Venom in the comics due to the Symbiote saving her from dying after getting shot by Sin-Eater. Though Venom 2 once again wasted She-Venom, Anne nonetheless gets a taste of the superhero life. After their aforementioned break-up, Eddie tasks Anne with finding Venom. Doing so, She-Venom saves Eddie from police custody before once again surrendering Venom to her former flame. In the process, she evidently hopes it won’t be her last Symbiote experience.
While a Symbiote never took over Marvel’s version of Carlton, Riz Ahmed’s character did have one that exists in the comics. Riot, the Symbiote that took over Carlton, debuted in the Venom: Lethal Protector storyline, which was one of the inspirations for the screenplay. However, as the comics iteration of Carlton never bonded with this specific Symbiote, Riot’s canonical hosts were Trevor Cole and Howard Ogden, with neither appearing in Venom.
While there have been two other live-action versions of Spider-Man since the Sam Raimi trilogy, only Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker has so far donned the Symbiote suit. Despite Spider-Man 3’s reception being a mixed bag, the threequel introduced the Symbiote into that universe, as it came to Earth and attached itself to Peter’s body. While it made Peter stronger, the Symbiote slowly began to corrupt his personality, turning him into a violent web-slinger. As Peter eventually realized what it was doing to him, he battled the Venom Symbiote to regain control of his mind and body.
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Years before Hardy signed on to play Eddie in Venom, Topher Grace was the first actor to ever bring the Spider-Man antagonist to life in Spider-Man 3. This take on the Venom Symbiote was similar to the comics where it bonded with Eddie after Peter severed his ties with it due to its negative effects on him. As Eddie had lost everything because of Peter, during his Symbiote phase, he became Venom and turned to Sandman to help him defeat Spider-Man. While Peter managed to free Eddie from the Venom Symbiote, he dies with it after Spider-Man used one of Harry Osborn’s goblin bombs to destroy it.
Even though Spider-Man has had to fight the Venom Symbiote in comics and media, the Carnage one is, without doubt, far worse, as its host is as twisted they are. With Cletus being a deranged sociopathic serial killer, Carnage choosing him as its host is why he is one of Spider-Man’s darkest super-villains of all time. Bringing him to life on the big screen, Woody Harrelson’s take on Cletus Kasady and Carnage remains twisted but substantially different. Still interpreted as an offspring of Venom, Carnage emerges within Cletus after the latter bites Eddie, rather than through a cut in the hand after already being spawned. Equally, rather than the symbiote sharing Cletus Kasady’s psychopathy, thus deepening their bond, Venom: Let There Be Carnage depicts them as separate entities with, occasionally, conflicting actions.
Played by Peggy Lu, Mrs. Chen first appears in Venom 2 Carnage Liberado Online Latino. As the owner of a store that Eddie frequents, he and Mrs. Chen share a friendly dynamic. Ultimately, Venom saves her from an armed robbery. That protection remains intact in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, with her providing Eddie and his Symbiote with chocolate in exchange. After they experience their brief separation, Venom works his way through a variety of unnamed hosts before landing with Mrs. Chen. It remains unclear how long the pair were bonded, or how Mrs. Chen made use of her new powers. Anne, her fiancé Dan (Reid Scott), and viewers are given a taste of their union, however, when Venom reveals his eyes and speaks through her.
Another character who joins Venom: Let There Be Carnage is Patrick Mulligan, played by Stephen Graham. In Venom Vs. Carnage #2, the devilish Symbiote created Toxin, another offspring who ended up bonding with Mulligan. So far, it is not clear whether Graham’s Venom 2 character will become Toxin, as he does in the comics, or take on an unrelated Symbiote name like Carlton Drake and Riot. Either way, the Venom sequel left the door open for him to return in super-powered form. After Mulligan survives an attempt on his life by Shriek, and Venom destroys Kasady and Carnage, a piece of the latter latches onto the fierce detective — prompting his eyes to glow as he mutters the word “monsters.”
Despite many having mixed thoughts on the lack of Spider-Man in the Venom franchise, it’s impressive to see how much they are able to rely on the comics without the web-crawler. For most non-comic readers, they get to see an extended side of the Symbiote mythology that normally doesn’t get a lot of exposure in media. In most Spider-Man adaptations, Venom is portrayed as one of Peter’s most prominent villains. In some instances, Venom aligns himself with Carnage to take down Spider-Man.
But the comics have come a long way with the Symbiotes, which Sony is taking advantage of for their franchise. If Venom 3 happens, it wouldn’t be shocking if characters like Scream, Phage, Agony, and many more Symbiotes get to be properly used in the next installment. As Venom: Let There Be Carnage continues to dominate the box office, it will be interesting to see what other Symbiotes may pop up in the sequel or in potential spin-offs.