“Venom” has finally hit theaters, introducing the world to Sony’s new take on the inky alien symbiote (and Spider-Man nemesis) who finds his most compatible host in Eddie Brock, a disgraced and unemployed reporter.
Viewers first meet Brock (Tom Hardy) as an overzealous reporter who’s fine with disobeying his editor and taking advantage of loved ones in his pursuit of the truth. It’s no wonder that he’s a perfect match for Venom, an alien parasite who gives him superpowers and also wants to eat people.
[Spoilers for “Venom” below. Proceed with caution.]
Brock and Venom’s comic book origins are closely tied to Spider-Man, a.k.a. Peter Parker, but there’s no trace of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s web-slinger (played by Tom Holland) in this movie. But no worries, “Venom” is still packed with characters familiar to comic book fans.
Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) and his Life Foundation, and even the lesser-known symbiote Riot all have comic book counterparts.
But the movie saves its biggest surprise until after the credits start to roll.
After surviving the big battle against Riot in order to save the world, Brock, who has come to accept his coexistence with Venom, is trying to get his life back on track. This includes getting back into journalism and landing a big, exclusive interview.
In a mid-credits scene, it is shown that Brock’s unnamed interview subject is an inmate at San Quentin Prison. The red-headed character, played by Woody Harrelson, has scrawled a welcome message for Brock on the walls and seems all too eager to talk about “carnage.”
These hints all suggest that Harrelson’s character is the serial killer Cletus Kasady.
In the comics, Kasady is known for being the host of the symbiote Carnage, a Spider-Man villain and Venom’s archenemy.
Carnage was created to be a darker version of Venom. Unlike Venom, who has a skewed moral compass, Carnage has no morality at all, so it makes sense that his best-known host is the serial killer Kasady.
Kasady, co-created by writer David Michelinie and artist Erik Larsen, was introduced in an 1991 issue of “The Amazing Spider-Man.” It wasn’t until 1992 that Kasady became host of the Carnage symbiote, designed by artist Mark Bagley. (According to Michelinie, he was the one who “originated” those characters.)
In the comics, Kasady was a serial killer who shared a cell with Brock. When the Venom symbiote arrives to break Brock out of prison, he leaves behind his progeny: Carnage.
Carnage’s signature red color is due to the fact that he bonded with Kasady through a cut.
The mid-credits scene sets up that any potantial “Venom” sequel will see Brock and his symbiote duke it out against Kasady’s Carnage. (And given the film’s larger than expected opening weekend box office, a sequel seems very likely.)
But it looks like not all of the Spider-Verse will be going that dark. “Venom” also includes an additional scene after the credits.
This post-credits scene is a sneak peek at the upcoming animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” offering a glimpse into Miles Morales’ story.
In the comics, Miles is inspired to take on the mantle of Spider-Man after the death of Peter Parker in the Ultimate Marvel Universe (which is separate, parallel universe of the mainstream Marvel comics continuity). It looks like this may also be true for the Miles in “Into the Spider-Verse.”
The scene does hit a note of sadness, but things turn around to be more funny once the Peter Parker from another universe shows up.
We’ll find out more soon enough, as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 14.