Venom in Space?
Exploring Marvel's plausible options requires a quick look at Marvel comic history. Starting off as Peter Parker's high school bully, Flash Thompson later became his college chum. Spider-Man inspires him to join the Army. During his tour of duty in the Iraq War (in Amazing Spider-Man #574), Flash is shot and loses the use of his legs. Eventually, he accepts a dangerous assignment, where he'll bond with the recently captured symbiote. Although his missions as Agent Venom will put him in constant jeopardy, he'll regain the use of his legs.
Now, let's step back into the MCU. Flash is now canon, as of Homecoming, but Venom remains the purvue of Sony. Technically, Venom doesn’t need to play a role in Avengers: Infinity War at all, though. All Marvel needs to do is allude to symbiotic life at some point. The Guardians could talk some smack about Klyntars, or Thanos could drop a casual reference. When the third or fourth Avengers arrives, the reference is out of the bag, and Flash partakes in the massive battle sequence. During which, he grows to love heroics but is also tragically paralyzed. Now, with the symbiote out of the bag and an injured Flash, Marvel is all set for an Agent Venom role in future entries.
Flash could even play a part in Marvel’s non-terrestrial adventures, heading to space as Venom: Space Knight. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn already teased a larger (and key) role for the cosmic side of Marvel after Phase 3. After his tour of duty ended, he and Venom signed up for a stint with the Guardians. Sending Flash to space is a surefire way to avoid any confusion between Sony and Marvel’s symbiotic character base. It would also allow Marvel to explore the roots of Klyntar, the planet of the symbiotes, something which could affect both cinematic realms.
Seeing as Sony appears to be altering Venom’s backstory to feature less Spider-Man, there’s no reason Marvel can’t retcon things to make sense for Flash and Agent Venom (or even another symbiote). Gunn also hinted big changes for the Guardians post-Avengers 4, including more Earth-based characters. Sure, he might be referring to Wendell Vaughn (Quasar) or Richard Rider (Nova), but Flash is from Earth, so he qualifies, at least via a loophole.
A New Role for Flash?
While injuring Flash could pave the way for an MCU symbiote, there are some disadvantages to the move. For one, Flash is likely slated to return in Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, which arrives after Phase 3 - set minutes after Avengers 4. If Marvel damages Flash, they'd essentially accelerate his story line by nearly a decade. Of course, with the world in chaos after Thanos' invasion, nothing in the MCU will ever be the same again.
Also, it's not like Homecoming hasn't already taken a few liberties with the traditional Spider-Man tale, including giving Aunt May attributes similar to her Ultimate counterpart, adjusting (or more so alluding to) Mary Jane-Peter relationship, and altering Flash’s traditional role to suit the polytechnic school crowd. A wounded Flash would also tie directly to the recent conflict, as well as upping the stakes. It would also set up an intriguing dramatic component for the Spider-Man sequel – especially considering Thompson's previous geek-bully role.
Assuming the Spider-verse runs well-enough for Kevin Feige to comfortably incorporate some of its elements, Marvel has a unique opportunity to align two shared realms in a significant way. Once more, everything depends on Sony's Venom movie. A strong showing from the Tom Hardy-led film could give Disney the incentive to relax the permeability between the MCU and Sony, creating a relationship with Sony similar to their Marvel's TV and streaming universes. Worst comes to worst, if the Spider-lite Spider-verse’s webbing doesn’t stick, Sony may give up their little corner of Marvel universe for good.
Without a doubt, Disney is already preparing a contingency one way or another. Flash actor Revolori also expressed interest in continuing his character's story arc, which is one less hurdle for Flash-Venom role in the MCU. If the House of Ideas plays their symbiotic cards right, though, Venom could wrap its sinewy tendrils around the MCU as well as the Spider-verse. And that's something any Spider-fan can get behind.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019