Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Venom
Sony is already thinking about Venom 2 and they won't make the jump to an R-rating. After bringing Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony once again wanted to get a shared universe of their own. Tom Hardy was cast to lead Venom as Eddie Brock, and the early box office results - a record setting $80 million opening in October - indicate that this will hardly be the last Spidey-related property the studio makes. Next up is going to be Jared Leto's Morbius, but attention is turning towards what seems to be an inevitable sequel.
Based on the post-credits scene for Venom, it's quite clear where they want to take the character next. Eddie visits the prison cell of Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who ends the movie saying, "When I get out, and I will, there will be carnage." An appearance by Carnage was heavily rumored for Venom and, with the violent symbiote set to be the villain of a sequel, many fans wanted to see Venom and Carnage let loose with an R-rating, but that isn't happening.
Collider spoke to Venom producer Avi Arad about the chances for Venom 2 to move up the MPAA's rating scale. After all, the first Venom was reportedly envisioned as an R-rated movie, but was PG-13 when everything was all said and done. Despite Carnage joining the mix, Arad doesn't believe he can only be done right with an R-rating.
"When you hear Carnage, the only thing you can think of is R. But, if you know his story, if you really know the comic, there’s no R here. He’s a tortured soul. It’s not about what he does, because we never have to show the knife going from here to there, and the blood is pouring. What you have to show is, what is the motivation? Was he born like that, or [is he] someone we should feel for, because if you succeeding in making a villain someone you can feel for, jackpot."
As disappointed as some fans may be that Venom 2 won't jump to an R-rating, one can hardly blame Sony for sticking with a PG-13 vision. The first movie just broke box office records with a PG-13 rating even with largely negative reviews from critics. If a sequel is better executed and has more positive reactions, there's no reason to believe Venom 2 won't perform even better if Carnage is included. Sony found success with PG-13, so why would they switch to R and potentially shrink their audience?
Of course, this may still not sit well with many. But, Arad believes they'll be able to craft the right story around Carnage that won't mandate extreme violence or anything else that would warrant an R-rating. This will, obviously, put a ton of pressure on the writers of Venom 2 to do this, so that way they can make a complicated foe in Carnage, and then leave it up to director Ruben Fleischer (who will likely return for the sequel) to deliver on the action. Hopefully, Arad is proven to be true and Venom 2 does the story and characters justice in a PG-13 environment.