The inevitable Venom 2 already faces a major challenge: Sony is going to have to make dramatic changes to Carnage's origin story. Sony has good reason to be delighted with Venom's performance. In its opening weekend, Venom grossed $80 million in the domestic box office and a total of $205 million worldwide, with an impressive second-week hold. Considering that the film had a budget of $100 million, it's already made a profit.
All this means Sony's Spider-Man villain universe has gotten off to a remarkably strong start, and a Venom sequel is inevitable. Star Tom Hardy has already revealed that he's signed up for three Venom movies, and he seems amenable to extending the contract too.
What makes Venom 2 so exciting is that its story has already been heavily teased. Going by Venom's post-credits scene, the tongue-slavering symbiote go head-to-head with one of his most popular foes, Carnage. However, fans who know the backstory of Cletus Kasady may have noticed Sony has a bit of a problem there...
- This Page: Sony's Carnage Problems In Venom 2
- Page 2: Sony's Options For Carnage In Venom 2
Carnage Is Venom 2's Villain
Venom's post-credits scene sees Eddie Brock pay a visit to San Quentin prison, the oldest and most infamous jail in California, to meet a convicted serial killer, Cletus Kasady, played by Woody Harrelson. Kasady has scrawled a message on the wall of his cell in his own blood, welcoming Eddie to San Quentin, and delivers an ominous warning that he's planning to escape - and that there will be "carnage." It's a fan-pleasing scene; in the comics, Kasady is ultimately exposed to the spawn of the Venom symbiote. The murderer's psychosis damages the symbiote, driving it equally insane, and he takes up the identity of "Carnage" - one of Marvel's most dangerous, bloodthirsty villains.
Sony put on an exhibit at New York Comic Con in support of Venom, and it included a notebook that reveals Carnage's cinematic backstory. It tells a chilling tale, of a bloodthirsty boy who seems to have been taken in by his grandmother after his parents passed away. The young Cletus killed her by pushing her down a flight of stairs, and was then placed in the care of St. Estes Home for Boys. Brock suspected the fire that burned the orphanage down was Kasady's revenge against a disciplinarian administrator. It looks as though Kasady's murderous impulses became more pronounced in his teenage years, and when one girl turned him down he shoved her in front of a bus. Kasady was incarcerated after going on what Brock called a "huge massacre" in New York City, but proved too dangerous to be held in Ryker's Penitentiary when he slaughtered 11 other people there. That's when he was moved to solitary confinement at San Quentin. It's unclear why Kasady has fixated on Brock, but that's an obsession Eddie should be deeply concerned about.
Venom director Ruben Fleischer has openly admitted Carnage was being saved for a sequel. The first film was about establishing Venom's world, with the post-credits scene demonstrating that there are legs for the franchise. At the same time, though, he's already set up the narrative to work in a slightly different way to the comics; in the comics, Eddie Brock was imprisoned at San Quentin in the cell next to Kasady, and when he broke out he unwittingly left the spawn of his symbiote behind. In the film, Brock (a good guy) merely visits Carnage's cell at San Quentin, and the post-credits scene doesn't hint that his symbiote spawned at all. Instead, it looks as though Kasady will break out and go hunting Brock down.
Venom's Riot Used Up Carnage's Powers
But that's not the only problem facing Sony. In the Venom films, it looks as though every symbiote has a slightly different powerset. The Venom symbiote is considered something of a "loser" by its own people, and has very basic powers. But higher-ranking symbiotes are far more formidable, as demonstrated by "team leader" Riot's abilities. The Riot symbiote was able to form strands of its symbiotes into fearsome weapons; spears, swords, or - its favorite - axes. It could even launch fragments of itself as razor-sharp projectiles, killing all around it.
But here's the catch; in the comics, none of these tricks are typical of the Riot symbiote. Instead, they're characteristic of Carnage. Venom appears to have made Riot more of a threat by granting him Carnage's powerset. Worse still, the film clearly demonstrates that Riot's personality is very similar to Carnage's. Riot killed indiscriminately for no other reason than it liked the feeling of shedding blood, revelling in violence and bloodshed just like the comic Carnage symbiote.
This causes a lot of problems for Sony; how do you make Carnage truly feel like a unique new threat in Venom 2, when you've already used his typical powerset and even a rough version of his character attributes?