Sony’s Venom has always struck me as a rather a curious case of the little film that could. Personally I have a soft spot for any comic book film setting out to challenge Disney’s monopoly on the genre. Nonetheless, no matter how much fun I had with the film, I still acknowledge that by no means is it, in fact, a good film. Strangely enough, it resonated with audience members, enough for it to become the “Highest Grossing Superhero Origin Movie of All Time”.
This exercise in camp cheese and scene chewery by way of Hardy’s exceptional dedication to the role has made Sony’s burgeoning franchise a force to be reckoned with. Truthfully, Venom is a fluke. A one-time so-bad-it’s-great affair but what if I told you that while the first film was a very successful joke, what follows after could be something with genuine potential? Something massive enough to even rival the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
There’s more to the Venom-verse than meets the eye. If Sony does their homework and play their cards right, there is a very real possibility that this franchise could be the next big thing. Dare I say, even an MCU-killer. Let’s find out how.
A Host of Heroes and Villains
Contrary to what some folks might think, Venom isn’t merely a Spider-Man villain and occasional ally. Over the years, the character has grown rather independent of the wall-crawler. He’s developed a history and mythology of his own, and it certainly shows. In the post-credits scene of 2018’s Venom, we see Eddie meeting up with a homicidal maniac by the name Cletus Kasady who tells the reporter that when he gets out “there’s going to be carnage”. The final phrase is a not so subtle foreshadowing of Venom’s latest foe, Carnage. So at the very least, we can expect more symbiote-on-symbiote battles to come in the future.
In the comics, Kasady is bonded to one of the Venom symbiote’s offspring during their time in prison. Together the both of them took on the name Carnage. The Venom family tree doesn’t stop there though. There’s also a strong possibility that we may see another symbiote host rise at the end of Venom 2: Toxin. Just as the Carnage symbiote is an offspring of Venom, Toxin is an offspring of Cletus Kasady’s Carnage. The interesting twist to Toxin, however, is how different it is to its parent symbiote. Bonded to good cop Patrick Mulligan, Toxin and its host dedicate themselves to a life of justice, to protect the weak and innocent without any of its parent’s homicidal tendencies.
Speaking of heroes, there’s a strong chance we’ll see Venom running into everyone’s favourite neighbourhood hero, Spider-Man for a quick crossover adventure. And if the two were to team up as allies, it’s possible that we see some of Spidey’s villains become Venom’s as well. It wouldn’t be too far fetched seeing that both of them have a pension for doing good, though in their own unique ways.
We could see Venom fight against foes like Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Jack-O-Lantern, Rhino, Kingpin and of course Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin. Quick little side note, there was a recent storyline in which Osborn bonded with the Carnage symbiote to produce the Red Goblin! As a deadly amalgamation, it would be something else to see Spidey and Venom team up to take down both of their most deadly foes turned into one.
A fascinating aspect of the character of Venom is the fact that the symbiote has had more than a single host. Each time a new host is bonded to the symbiote, they bring something new to the table in terms of personality, skill sets and even powers. One of the greatest hosts to have ever been bonded has got to be Eugene “Flash” Thompson aka Agent Venom. In the past, Flash was a notorious bully in Peter Parker’s high school due to his own poor upbringing by an abusive father.
As time went on, he became a better man in an effort to emulate his personal hero, Spider-Man (who ironically was the very kid he used to pick on). He would later join the US military during the Iraq war, in which he had his legs blown off while saving a fellow soldier. An incident that would have spelt the end for any soldier’s military career but not Thompson’s. He was determined to follow his mandate and to become a hero. So when he was offered the chance to bond with the Venom symbiote to become Agent Venom he answered the call.
If the audience ever grows weary of Hardy’s Eddie Brock as Venom and are in desperate need of a new status quo, Flash Thompson would be the perfect candidate. A far cry from the jaded reporter, he is an idealistic war hero looking to make the world a better place. His influence would even rub off on Venom, making the symbiote more prone to mercy and compassion. Seriously, their friendship is nothing short of heartwarming. Together they would go on multiple missions to save the world before leaving Earth to find Venom’s true origins.
Symbiotes in Space
The MCU isn’t the only franchise with a cosmic landscape. In 2018’s Venom, the leader of the symbiote invasion, Riot mentioned bringing an army of his kin back to Earth from their homeworld. Throughout Marvel’s Agent Venom comic book run, we’ve come to learn even more about the symbiotes and their origins. For example, they are actually called “Klynthar” in their native tongue. Upon arriving on the world of Klyntar, it is revealed to Venom that the Klyntar are actually benevolent peace-loving creatures who sought out the noblest of heroes across the universe to bond with.
They were once a force of good in the universe but time and after time their brethren became damaged and destructive due to them boding to morally corrupt hosts. Some of them even went rogue and created their own Klyntar empire. The only way for a Klyntar to be purified of their negative desires is through their connection to the greater Klyntar collective, which is exactly what Flash and the Venom symbiote did. The two managed to find their equilibrium and became the versions of themselves, a perfect symbiotic relationship but it doesn’t stop there.
They would later join a team of intergalactic crusaders, individuals from multiple alien races who are also bonded to other benevolent and purified Klyntars. Together, they would form a team of intergalactic defenders, the Agents of the Cosmos. They would travel across the galaxy protecting those who can’t defend themselves, not unlike a certain group of guardians out there in the MCU. I don’t know about you guys but the idea of Venom joining of bunch space warriors travelling across the universe to fight evil sounds pretty rad to me.
While we know that Venom is most likely never going to meet with alien races like the Skrulls, Kree or Shi’ar seeing that they are Disney’s properties, we’re confident that Sony will have no problem crafting out their own cosmic landscape. We know that Sony is in possession of over 900 Marvel characters. It’s most likely that they have the rights to some of the many, many alien races out there in Marvel comics.
Perhaps the culmination of Venom’s space saga could be a symbiote war between the peaceful Klyntar collective and the rogue symbiote empire. Imagine that for a second, a war between an army of symbiote infused warriors fighting to redeem the soul of the Klyntar race from the legacy of hate and violence. For the longest time, the Klyntar have been known to be vile parasites that infect their hosts. Venom along with his Agents could rally the forces of the galaxy to aid them in their war.
That would be the perfect conclusion to Flash Thompson’s story, having him save the galaxy and his people. It could end with Flash sacrificing himself to show the world that beauty can come from the shadows, that the past doesn’t have to define one’s future. That even high school bullies can be heroes. What a powerful and poetic story of redemption and hope…too bad it’s all built on a lie.
God Is Coming
Oh yes, the truth behind the Klyntar’s past is one far darker than anyone could have ever imagined. In 2018, writer Donny Cates took over the character of Venom and has made massive additions to the lore of character and his race. Apparently, the Klyntar wasn’t always a benevolent alien race, they were once a living weapon created by a mad god! And I’m not talking about an old man with a beard in the sky. This guy is bad business. In the beginning, before the was anything, before there was light, before there was life, there was darkness. The endless winding abyss and within the abyss was Knull, an ancient Lovecraftian god of darkness.
Then suddenly gods began to manifest and with them came life and planets and a lot of stuff. Knull’s kingdom of the abyss began to shrink as new life and new worlds began taking form. Needless to say, Knull was pissed off and out of shadow, flame and fury, he crafted a weapon in the forge made out of the head of a dead god (which is pretty metal). It went by many names: All-Black, Necrosword, God-killer.
The first proto-symbiote. For aeons, he would go about the universe butchering gods left, right and centre before being incapacitated for a time. During his long hibernation, another being had stolen All-Black but that’s a story for another time. Upon finally waking from his slumber, he realized he had the ability to bond his “living abyss” to organisms around him and from that came the first living symbiotes. He became the God of the Symbiotes!
With his newfound army, he went on a black crusade across the universe, conquering planets and enslaving their inhabitants to his will. They infected every living thing they could get their tendrils on but little did Knull know that their hosts would infect his children as well. They began to fill their heads with ideas of nobility, peace and justice. To him, it was a disease, a corruption…a venom if you will.
They rose up against their lord and imprisoned him at the centre of their planet, made out of symbiotes. In fact, the word “Klyntar” means cage in their language. This whole time, they’ve buried this dark secret within their “cage” and within their soul but it shan’t be for long. For you see, Knull is beginning to stir from his sleep and he shall rise again to cover the universe in a second darkness. All over the universe, every symbiote shall hear a droning chant at their back of their head, “God is coming.”
Holy dogshit on a stick, this is a threat of mythical proportions! I mean alien conquerors and supervillains are one thing but a deicidal god of darkness?! That’s next level shit right there. As of now, we are witnessing one of Marvel’s biggest event of the year in Absolute Carnage with Knull using a resurrected Carnage to prepare for his arrival. An event that involves everyone from the X-Men to the Avengers to Spider-Man with Venom leading the charge.
Though Sony can’t exactly adapt the current storyline beat for beat, there’s a number of angles they could play to make this work. They could have Venom and Spider-Man go around recruiting all manner of heroes and villains to their cause, convincing them that Knull is a danger to all their interest. This could be the Endgame to the Venom-verse franchise. Beyond simply being a huge crossover event, Venom fighting Knull and Carnage has huge implications for character development. So much of Venom is tied to Knull from its struggle to break free from its darker desires to its fear of sound and fire originating from the god literally forging the symbiotes into existence. For Eddie, he can finally settle his score with Cletus Kasady. Only one of them is going to make it out of this one.
As I stated earlier, there’s so much more to the character of Venom than just a superpowered street vigilante. There’s history and heartache, fear and failure, rage and redemption. There are serial killers, superheroes, alien warriors and even a freaking god thrown in the mix but no matter how crazy it gets the story of Venom is ultimately about one thing: friendship. It’s the story of how two outcasts came together to become greater than the sum of their parts, to become a hero. We just hope the folks at Sony see the same potential in the character as we do.