Okay, so we all know it’s happening. Spider-Man’s most popular villain, Venom, is making his way back to the big screen. He’s going to be played by Tom Hardy, the movie will be directed by Ruben Fleischer, and the storyline will see Venom squaring off against… um…
…well, not Spider-Man. Despite the fact that Venom is predominantly known as a Spidey villain, and despite the smashing popularity of Marvel’s new release Spider-Man: Homecoming, it seems like this new version of Venom will not be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and thus will have nothing to do with Tom Holland’s Spidey. Or maybe the Venom movie is in the “same reality,” but “not in the MCU,” or something. It’s confusing. Either way, the point is that Spider-Man won’t be in the movie, and that means Venom’s going to need some kind of antagonist to chomp his trademark sharp teeth on.
Venom is a villain, not a hero. He might claim to be a hero, but he’s not. Considering how murderous Venom is, whoever he faces off against in his own film is going to need to be a thousand times worse in order to get Eddie Brock’s “lethal protector” instincts all riled up — or the “antagonist” will need to be an actual hero. But as it turns out, Venom’s sharp-toothed smile has actually made him quite a few enemies over the years, ranging from other symbiotes to tech-based supervillains to evil corporations. Let’s take a look at 15 Potential “Villains” For The Venom Movie.
Okay, so this one is obvious. Carnage is one of the most popular comic characters out there who hasn’t yet made it to film. Ever since the idea of a Venom movie has floated around, in any of its various forms, a huge part of fan speculation has always been regarding who would play Cletus Kasady (with some actors like Cameron Monaghan even expressing interest in the part), the mass murderer who scoops up Venom’s symbiotic spawn and goes on a killing spree through New York — a killing spree so sprawling, so catastrophic, that Venom and Spider-Man actually team up to stop him.
Seriously, the idea of introducing Carnage in a Venom movie is obvious. So obvious, in fact, that Carnage’s inclusion in the movie is already confirmed. How Carnage factors into the plot will remain to be seen. But in the meantime, just because Carnage will appear certainly doesn’t mean he’s going to be the only antagonist in the film, so let’s examine what other threats Venom might face.
Hey, listen. Venom and Carnage ain’t the only symbiotes running around on Earth. Just as the Carnage symbiote was spawned by Venom, Carnage spawned a new symbiote named Toxin, which is every bit as powerful — if not more so. But whereas the Venom symbiote attached to a hypocritical, vengeful man like Eddie Brock, and the Carnage symbiote attached to an unhinged lunatic, the Toxin symbiote was instead bonded to a decent man, a family man, a cop named Patrick Mulligan. Bonding to the Toxin symbiote, with its deadly homicidal impulses, basically ruins Mulligan’s life, since he’s forced to leave his wife and unborn child behind as he attempts to use his new powers for good.
If Toxin featured in the Venom movie, it could provide an interesting counterpoint to Brock, and a rather unique antagonist. Let’s say that the Toxin symbiote got out of control and insanely murderous, to the point where Brock (a not-so-good person) has to take down Mulligan (an actual good person) in order to save lives. That’s compelling stuff.
13. The Jury
There was this one time that Venom broke out of the Vault, a high-tech prison complex designed to keep in supervillains. While busting out, Venom casually murdered one of the security guards. Oops. Eddie Brock would come to regret this decision, as that guard — who was named Hugh Taylor — turns out to be the son of the powerful General Orwell Taylor.
Well, General Taylor, desiring vengeance for the death of his son, recruits a bunch of his son’s friends and coworkers. The General then gives them heavy artillery and Stark-based armors, and sends them to destroy Venom. While it’s unlikely that the Jury would feature as the main villains of a film, there’s certainly high potential for them to appear in a minor villain capacity, perhaps as a corporate-funded strike force designed to take out Venom.
Hey, whenever you see Carnage, Shriek usually isn’t too far behind. Frances Louise Barrison possesses the power of sound manipulation, hence her name, but her far more important and dangerous ability is that she’s able to reach into the darkest depths of people’s minds and release their most negative emotions — fear, anger, hatred — bringing these emotions to the surface, and causing chaos in her wake.
Shriek is mainly a Spider-Man villain, but her inclusion on this list is due to her longstanding romantic affiliation with Cletus Kasady. It’s certainly not a healthy relationship, and it isn’t consistent, but the two continually seem to find each other again. Shriek isn’t quite as murderous as Carnage, but she’s close, and the two are often seen side-by-side committing horrible actions. Her association with Carnage usually pits Venom against her.
11. The US Government
It’s hard to imagine that the government would be all too happy about a guy like Eddie Brock swinging around in a Venom symbiote and killing people, and the police force wouldn’t be much happier. However, while the police would simply want to take Venom down, the government would likely want its own little piece of that symbiote pie — and that’s where things might start getting really nasty.
It’s entirely possible that the Venom film might take a few cues from the recent Agent Venom comics, which saw the US Government coming into possession of the symbiote, and Eugene “Flash” Thompson using it as a field agent. In the movie, this storyline could be hinted at with Eddie Brock; perhaps the government bonds Brock to the symbiote, or maybe they’re trying to capture Brock and separate the symbiote from him for their own usage. Either way, the results are likely to get messy.
10. Some Documentary Filmmakers
The short fan film Truth in Journalism — produced by Adi Shankar, directed by Joe Lynch, and starring Ryan Kwanten as Eddie Brock — caused quite a stir when it premiered online a few years ago. As it stands today, Truth in Journalism is currently the best cinematic depiction of Venom to date. The storyline depicts a French documentary crew who come to New York City to document the story of reporter Eddie Brock, only to slowly unravel the dark conspiracy of Brock’s twisted alter ego.
Truth in Journalism was popular enough that Adi Shankar reportedly made it onto Sony’s short list of potential Venom directors, so the idea of a feature film adapting the story isn’t out of the question. For a full length movie, it would make sense to cast Brock as the “protagonist,” with the filmmakers as “antagonists” who are frustrated with his avoidance, creepiness, and strange habits. Perhaps as the film went on, the filmmakers could begin trying to snuff out Brock’s secret, at which point Venom snaps.
Before Eddie Brock got all crazily obsessed with killing Spider-Man, he actually had a wife, Anne Weying, a stable and successful lawyer who hightailed it once Brock started getting weird. Can’t say we blame her: it’d probably get pretty old hearing your husband rant about “that goddamn Spider-Man” every night at the dinner table. However, years later, Weying got shot up, and Eddie rushed to “save” her by bonding a piece of his Venom symbiote to her. The result was She-Venom, a wildly unstable villain who immediately (and savagely) murdered all of her aggressors.
If the Venom movie wants to have a highly personal conflict at its core, there’s a lot of potential to work with here. Not only would Brock still be in love with Anne, but the creation of the murderous She-Venom would be entirely his fault, leading to an emotionally charged final battle between the two of them.
8. An Invasion of the Symbiotes
Of course, there’s always the possibility that the Venom movie might just go all-out, and have New York City be subjected to an alien invasion of symbiotes. Or “Klyntar,” actually, since that’s their real name. Since we don’t know what the origin of the symbiote will be in the film, or how it will get to Earth, it’s really hard to say.
In this scenario, one would assume that the Venom (and maybe Carnage) symbiote would be sent to Earth first, perhaps to assess the situation and determine if the other Klyntar should follow. This wouldn’t really line up with the comics, where the Klyntar are actually supposed to be a peaceful race, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be the direction taken by the film.
7. Ultimate Ben Reilly
No, we’re not talking about that Ben Reilly, better known as the Scarlet Spider. This Ben Reilly is a character in Ultimate Spider-Man, a young lab assistant who worked with Doctor Curt Connors. In the Ultimate Universe, the Venom symbiote is not an alien, but rather an artificial life form designed as the cure for cancer.
After the whole Venom incident happens, Ben Reilly sneaks a sample of the suit. He and Connors then work together to create a new organism, one Ben is so proud of that he calls it “little Ben.” Unfortunately, this ends up being a vampiric beast that breaks out of the lab and becomes Carnage. Oops.
6. Jack O’Lantern
The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom doesn’t have a lot of connection to this guy. However, Jack O’Lantern was the archenemy of the Flash Thompson Agent Venom era, which means he has a halfway decent chance of making his way onto film.
Jack O’Lantern is a creepy Halloween-themed assassin, who utilizes high-tech weaponry and flies around on a rocket-propelled broomstick that would make even Harry Potter jealous. Jack O’Lantern has been disturbed since an early age; he was one of those kids that tortured animals, then went on to kill his own parents. Basically, he and Carnage have a lot in common, though Jack O’Lantern is a lot more focused and tactical in his approach to murder, and prefers to get money for killing people instead of just doing it indiscriminately.
5. The Life Foundation
What if the world ended? What would all those selfish corporate 1 percenters do? That’s the need that the Life Foundation tries to fulfill. The Life Foundation is a corrupt, rich, greedy company that serves corrupt, rich, greedy clients, using their money to create survivalist communities in which society’s rich and powerful can hole up in for survival just in case a nuclear apocalypse happens, which probably isn’t so unlikely in a weird world like the Marvel Universe.
What does this have to do with Venom? Well, in the comics, that moralizing symbiote crusader isn’t too happy about their little plan, and he starts interfering with their activities. In response, the Life Foundation extracts some of his symbiote, and uses it to grow five more symbiotes, which are then outfitted onto five ruthless mercenaries. These five symbiote soldiers — Scream, Agony, Phage, Lasher, and Riot — are generally known collectively as the Life Foundation symbiotes, and they take the fight back to Venom.
4. The Ararat Corporation
The Life Foundation might be bad, but the Ararat Corporation is worse. While the Life Foundation believes the end of the world is coming and wants to preserve all of humanity’s greediest members, the Ararat Corporation actively seeks the destruction of human society, and they want to do it using the Venom symbiote.
The Ararat Corporation isn’t actually a human organization at all. It’s run by a legion of tiny spider robots, with a leader named “Bob,” and the Corporation has spread its tendrils far and wide into humanity’s most powerful bodies, including the US government. To accomplish their goal, they create a clone of Venom’s symbiote — but sure enough, the cloned symbiote has a mind of its own, and it breaks free.
Clone or no clone, the Ararat Corporation’s past history with Venom means that there’s some potential for these guys to turn up in the movie, in some form or another — at least as an Easter Egg.
No, it’s not happening, but we’re still not over it. Venom without Spider-Man is like jelly without peanut butter, or mayo without eggs. Eddie Brock’s entire motivation as a character is based upon his fierce loathing for Peter Parker, and taking that away is going to require some serious storyline revisions. It’s a shame, because Tom Holland wants Spidey to trade punches with Venom, too.
Sony’s hope is probably that their Venom film will be successful enough that Marvel will incorporate it into the MCU, and maybe have the two characters meet, once both are already established. But the thing is, the very thing that makes the connection between Spider-Man and Venom so interesting is the fact that Peter wore the suit first, and then rejected it. If a later crossover occurred, the dynamic between the two foes would be totally altered.
Venom and Jessica Drew, AKA Spider-Woman, don’t actually have too much of a history in the comics. However, the lack of Spider-Man is going to leave a massive, gaping hole in Venom’s back story, so there has been some suggestion of altering the story such that Spider-Woman takes the role generally filled by Peter Parker. Hey, it might work.
If this approach were taken, Jessica Drew would be the hero who Venom positions himself against, blames for all of his problems, and so on. This could also pave the way for a Spider-Woman movie, which could have a lot of potential. If Jessica Drew’s rights are with Marvel rather than Sony, then there’s also the second Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter, whose black costume actually helped inspire the look of the symbiote one in the comics (long story).
1. The Symbiote Itself
Look, here’s the thing. Venom is a villain. Eddie Brock might make a lot of claims, but he’s really just a morally righteous hypocrite who blames others for his problems. The symbiote is a destructive, parasitic, jealous organism that hungers for violence, drives its hosts insane, and then jumps to the next person if the current host proves inhospitable. So really, if there’s going to be a true villain in the Venom movie, it should be Venom himself.
The relationship between Brock and his symbiote should be key to any Venom narrative. It has some passing similarities to the Hulk/Banner dynamic, but turned on its head: both Brock and the symbiote love each other, but both are terrible influences on one another. Another level of unease comes from the fact that the symbiote will never love Brock as much as it loved Peter Parker; there have been occasions where it’s actually left Brock in an effort to rebond with Peter, which in turn makes Brock hate him even more.
Whether there’s Peter or no Peter, the relationship between Brock and the symbiote is key to making this movie work. Venom is not a hero. That doesn’t mean he can’t be the protagonist of a film — but he’s definitely not a guy you’d want to share a beer with.
What other enemies could Venom fight in the film? Let us know in the comments!
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