While many have been skeptical of Sony’s attempts to create their own Marvel Cinematic Universe out of Spider-Man villains without using Spider-Man in any way (although some comments by producers indicate otherwise, suggesting the film is in the MCU after all), the box office success of Venom seems to have blown any doubts that this could succeed out of the water.
[Ed. note: This article contains spoilers for Venom, as well as mild spoilers for various Venom comics.]
Now, among the many other projected live-action Spider-verse films coming our way, there will obviously be a sequel (possibly sequels) to Venom. But what could they be? We have some ideas — and the big hint from Venom’s post-credit tease is just the beginning.
Let’s start with the most obvious candidate, though one that might need some heavy massaging to work. The post-credits scene of Venom finds Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) back in the journalism game, interviewing jailed serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). In 1991, writer David Michelinie (Venom’s co-creator) and artist Erik Larsen introduced Kasady as the cellmate of an superpower-less Brock, who wound up bonding with the returning symbiote’s discarded offspring to become the villain Carnage.
With the symbiote amplifying his existent sociopathy, Carnage broke out of jail and went on to wreak terror throughout New York City. Its campaign culminated in 1994’s Maximum Carnage event, which saw him recruit several other supervillains — including his lover, the psychic, psychotic Shriek — to fight Venom, Spidey, Captain America and other heroes.
Obviously, a movie version of this from Sony would have to cut out a good deal of the heroes, although some, like Black Cat and Morbius, can stay since we know they’re already in Sony’s Spider-Verse. But the basic conceit of a villainous rampage that ramps up when Shriek psychically induces the civilians of NYC into a murderous psychosis is a great set up for the kind of superheroic horror Venom pulled off.
Venom: The Enemy Within
Speaking of Morbius, in the wake of Venom’s runaway success, producers have said a solo film with Jared Leto as The Living Vampire is forthcoming. Given the box-office appeal both men have, a team up between Leto and Hardy as their characters would be a big draw.
Luckily, The Enemy Within, a 1994 miniseries (part of a string of successive minis published from 1993-1997) from writer Bruce Jones and artist Bob McLeod, could provide the basis for that. It’s a fun little story, involving the two teaming up to save San Francisco from an army of tiny killer goblins, which seems to fit the horror vibe Sony wants to establish. An adaptation could also, if played for weird comedy, reach for a Gremlins vibe. The comic also features the villain Demogoblin (who’s basically the Hobgoblin if he was possessed by a demon) in a prominent role which could add a fun element to things.
Venom’s plot hinges on the symbiote escaping from a Life Foundation ship containing several of its kind, with Riot (Riz Ahmed), their leader, serving as the film’s villain. That, the inclusion of Carnage (mentioned above) and the potential for other symbiotes out there paves the way for this ’90s miniseries by Howard Mackie and Ron Randell to serve as inspiration. Spinning out of a ’90s Spider-Man arc, this mini (which you might remember from being turned into a side-scroller beat-em-up game) sees Venom and Eddie separated — and in federal custody. That is, until five other symbiotes spring Eddie out.
The symbiotes are, like Carnage, Venom’s offspring, who were forcibly extracted from the symbiote and bonded with employees of the Life Foundation (the bad guys from the film) in the Lethal Protector miniseries that was the partial basis for Venom. Riot, Phage, Lasher, Agony, and Scream (who you might be familiar with from this theme park ride) tell Eddie that they want to learn how to communicate with their symbiotes like he did. But Venom, hopping cross country from host to host to reunite with Eddie, might have something to say about that.
The She-Venom Saga
The seeds for this film are already there in Venom with Michelle Williams’ character, Anne Weying. In the comics, she’s not just Eddie’s ex-girlfriend but his ex-wife. In the course of the Sinner Takes All miniseries, she’s shot by the villain Sin-Eater and the symbiote bonds with her to save her life, transforming her into the murderous She-Venom.
While the novelty of seeing Williams, one of our greatest actresses, going full James Spader in Age of Ultron and fully leaning into supervillain pomposity is fun enough, this would be a logical extension for Eddie, Ann, and Venom’s relationship to play out in a sequel.
Venom: Nights of Vengeance
This is going to take a little explaining. First: remember Ghost Rider? Drives around on a flaming motorcycle with a flaming skull for a head? Calls himself the Spirit of Vengeance? Played by Nicolas Cage twice?
Well, Vengeance is basically that but if he also looked like the love child of Ghost Rider and Death’s Head. Introduced as a Ghost Rider villain in 1992, the character — like Ghost Rider, a heaven-sent Spirit of Vengeance who prefers gruesomely murdering bad guys after bonding with a human cop — became an antihero in the grim and gritty ’90s.
This 1994 miniseries Venom: Nights of Vengeance saw Vengeance team up with Venom to protect Sean Knight, a homeless man on the run who turned out to be an undercover ATF agent that infiltrated a gang of gunrunners turned into killer cyborgs by alien techno-organisms. Yeah.
The morphed smugglers kidnap Venom’s two love interests at the time, crusading journalist Beck and doctor Elizabeth, and he and Vengeance spring into action to stop the monsters from hunting down humanity. So yeah, it’s basically “Venom vs. Predator, but if there were four Predators and they were robots.” I mean, hey, I’ve heard worse sequel ideas.
Tom Speelman is the former manga/anime critic for the Eisner Award-winning Comics Alliance. He’s proofread and edited several books for Seven Seas Entertainment and other clients and can be found on Twitter @tomtificate, where he’s usually yelling about comics.