Warning: SPOILERS for Venom
The launch of Venom may not officially be adding another branch onto Marvel's Cinematic Universe, but it does man another batch of Easter eggs and less than obvious franchise connections. Just don't tell Marvel any of the ways that Sony's first Spider-Man Universe movie after Homecoming hints at the comic book source material.
You don't make a movie based on Eddie Brock, ak. Venom, without letting your love of the antihero take over, and even before Venom's post-credits tease, the movie is filled with extended universe nods, cameos, shared Marvel connections and comic book references. Naturally, this list is packed full of spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want to be spoiled, don't continue.
Director Ruben Fleischer made no secret of the Easter Eggs that he was hiding in Venom, even letting a few spill before the movie's release. However, now that the film is out, we've done our best to collect some of the subtlest, coolest, and most exciting Venom Easter eggs, secret backstories, references, and tiny details that most fans might miss.
With one final SPOILER warning, let's get started.
Here are the 20 Things You Completely Missed In Venom.
20 J. Jonah Jameson's Astronaut Son
It's hard to believe that Sony was the first to pay some kind of tribute to J. Jonah Jameson, the famed editor of New York's Daily Bugle. As the Marvel side of the Spider-Man universe has yet to follow up J. K. Simmons' portrayal since Peter is still years away from his photojournalist job, Venom does drop the name every fan is waiting for - just... not where you expect. When the emergency vehicles arrive on the scene of the Life Foundation's crashed ship, only one member of the shuttle's screw actually survives the landing.
Eventually it's revealed that the Riot symbiote has kept him alive, but at first, all we know is his name: Jameson.
He is John Jameson, the adult, astronaut son of J. Jonah, reliving his brush with space born symbiotes that fans witnessed in Spider-Man cartoon series.
19 Carnage's Venom/Eddie Separation
The brutality with which Riot fights can't be understated, even with Venom warning Eddie that the "team leader" has tricks unlike anything they've faced before. Still, Venom holds its own for a while, until Riot determines that the traitorous symbiote has found himself a strong host - and starts trying to forcibly rip the symbiote away from, then off of Eddie's body. It climaxes in a storm of liquid symbiote tendrils, Eddie and Carlton Drake duking it out along with their symbiotes.
However, it starts with Riot tearing the top half of Venom's head and jaw off of Eddie's skull, forcing both to let out a scream in pain. The director promised that they had tried to recreate comic covers and panels directly, and the homage to the famous cover art for Venom: Carnage Unleashed #3 is impossible to miss - even if it's Riot doing the separating, instead of Carnage.
18 "So Many Snacks... So Little Time."
The scene in which Venom makes his full-body debut is a bit different than the version of it glimpsed in the trailers (there's no instance of the antihero's iconic "We... Are Venom" line until the final scene). However, Venom does make the longer form of his threat, embracing his carnivorous urges and his delight in tormenting "bad guys," eyeing up one goon and considering aloud, "Eyes, lungs, pancreas. So many snacks... so little time." It's a line that got made fun of in early marketing by skeptics since it's not your typical superhero dialogue, but it too is another homage to the comics.
This exact line of dialogue is first delivered in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #374. Even better is that Venom is delivering it directly to Spider-Man in the comic version. Unfortunately, another goon intercedes before Venom can really get to selecting an organs as a human delicacy, but it doesn't mean that he's kept himself from consuming human bodies. Of course, it's actually biting off heads that turns out to be Venom's greatest pleasure - and with very good reason, should fans do research into the comic book source material...
17 Why Venom Craves Brains... Or Just Chocolate
When the trailers for Venom seemed to depict the symbiote opening its jaw unnaturally wide and swallowing its prey whole, most comic book movie fans probably assumed it was for effect, and didn't actually imply that Eddie was going to eat bad guys. However, that's exactly what he was after. Believe it or not, he does have a reason for doing it. It's the same one as the comics, and the final scene of the movie makes a clever, winking joke of it to the audience members in the know.
After Eddie tells his new symbiote that they must establish ground rules for coexisting - the most important of which is to almost never eat people - Venom seems to agree.
Instead of a brain, Venom requests "Tater Tots... And chocolate." As the comics eventually explained, the eating of heads isn't wanton violence, but the symbiote's best way of attaining phenethylamine, a chemical that stimulates the brain in humans. This is required by symbiotes of Venom's species. However, it can also be found in another substance: chocolate. The good news is that Venom gets to enjoy both sources of phenethylamine in the movie's last scene.
16 Finally, The Venom Dog
For all of the variations of symbiotes, there is sure to be none more appreciated than the combination of symbiote... and a Papillion puppy. The dog, named Gemini (which is a clever bit of foreshadowing) is accompanying its owner in the hospital where Anne's new boyfriend is employed. While said boyfriend, Dan, says that the dog can't be kept in the hospital, even if the owner is staying next to her husband in a hospital room, she ignores him - and that's all the difference for Eddie Brock's story. When the symbiote is separated, it sneaks through an air vent until encountering the next stable life form available: Gemini.
Sadly, only the dog's determined walk and a brief glimpse of the black and white of the symbiote sliding across Gemini' s eyes is offered up for fans. However, it's still a fantastic homage to the grand tradition of symbiote dogs, which are seen in the comics. However, whether it's the War Dog Lasher in a modern Carnage epic or the dog Venom adheres to in order to escape the arctic colds, neither has been so brilliant as to combine this insatiable monster and one of the most objectively dainty and adorable breeds.
15 The Birth of She-Venom
The moment of understanding that flashes between the symbiote puppy and Anne, Eddie's ex-fiancee is one of the movies weirdest, but their partnership soon saves Eddie's life. As much as our hearts soared, hoping that the lashing limbs taking out Eddie's kidnappers would be revealed as the work of a symbiote dog, the reveal is even better. With one final attack on Treece, Carlton Drake's head of security, and a sensual, somewhat sinister "Hi, Eddie," the first case of a female Venom is revealed. Anne has teamed up with the symbiote, making yet another comic book character part of the movie's canon: She-Venom.
The movie version of Anne may differ from the comics, where Eddie and Anne were married and divorced, but the design for her time in the symbiote suit is virtually identical (minus the spider suit, of course). Also in the comics, Anne dealt out shockingly lethal levels of violence, which made the experience a painful one in later issues, not the simple power rush of the movie. However, the comics drove Anne into enough guilt to take her own life, so we'll accept this change.
14 The Venom Kiss
What will probably be pointed to as one of the weirder moments of the movie is the way that Anne and the symbiote reunite. Seeing Eddie passionately kissing the face of Venom isn't what any fans expected - even if the actual time spent kissing the symbiote is mere seconds, before it pulls away to reveal the kiss is happening between Anne and Eddie (less weird). However, when Eddie asks Anne about the kiss in the final scenes, she slightly stammers, before claiming that it was the symbiote's idea.
This may just be a cover for Anne revealing her feelings, but if she's right, then the Symbiote's urge can be taken two different ways.
It may be have sensed Anne's feelings, and decided a kiss between former loves was the best way to move from one host to another (which makes us really happy we didn't see Venom combining with that dog). Or the symbiote may have desired the kiss itself, reflecting the fairly straightforward love between them in the comics. Heck, Eddie and Venom just had a kid together in the comics, although this kiss isn't quite as memorable as Thanos kissing a Venom-ized Death. However, it's close.
13 Stan Lee Cameo
It wouldn't be a Marvel or Marvel-related movie without a cameo from comic book icon Stan Lee, now downright expected by even casual fans. The tone of Venom might make many fans assume that Lee passed this one up, but once the dark breaks, Eddie recovers, and establishes some kind of peace with the symbiote, the cameo arrives. As Eddie leaves Anne behind, trying his best to hide the fact that he retained the symbiote, he walks right past Stan Lee - who offers words of encouragement, saying that he really will win Anne back… that both of them will.
It's a new level of meta for a Stan Lee cameo, as he's apparently able to see both Eddie and Venom. Perhaps it's a sign that Lee's role as a Watcher informant is becoming less of a secret. The real twist is Venom replying by asking who the old man - credited as Dapper Dog Walker - even is. It's an extra joke for comic fans, since Lee had nothing to do with the creation of the black symbiote suit or the superhero it became.
12 Carnage Post-Credits Scene
Stan Lee's cameo is good for some laughs, but it won't be the one fans leave the theater talking about. That distinction goes to Woody Harrelson's post credits cameo as Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage, still locked up in San Quentin. Having requested a meeting with Eddie Brock, the interview is brief, to say the least. The scene is meant as a true tease of Carnage, the red-hued, psychotic symbiote, but it also shows what changes will likely be made to the story.
For starters, the first time Eddie and Cletus met in the comics was when they were assigned to the same prison cell. Venom came to rescue Eddie, and left a spawn behind to enter Kasady's blood, creating Carnage. Should fans assume that this take on Cletus recognizes the symbiote in Eddie, perhaps after having a run in with a symbiote that helped him commit crimes, perhaps? We'll just have to wait and see.
11 Eddie's Apartment Building is No Coincidence
Fans or comic historians may already know the strange origin of Venom -- back when he was introduced as nothing but a black suit Spider-Man picked up in space. The idea was actually offered to Marvel years earlier, when a fan sent a letter to Marvel's editors recommending Peter Parker get a new suit, colored black, and made from the same recarice material as the Fantastic Four. The fan soon got a letter and an offer of $220 in return, since Marvel wanted the idea. The fan agreed, and Spidey's black suit eventually followed.
It was only within the last decade that the fan in question publicly revealed himself as Randy Schueller, not seeking ownership, just wishing that he had been given recognition somewhere along the line.
Thankfully, he gets it in Venom, when the goons chasing Eddie reveal that he lives in The Schueller Building, of all places.
10 Michelinie & McFarlane Law Firm
It wouldn't be right to only pay credit to one of the people responsible for the creation of Venom proper, and the movie makes sure to include them all. In fact, since it's Eddie's snooping into Anne's work emails and her being fired for it that sets his mission in motion, you could say the creators are just as integral to the movie. The law firm at which Anne works also represents The Life Foundation - the firms of Michelinie and McFarlane, as in Mike and Todd, the creators of Venom, respectively.
Plenty of other comic writers and artists have handled the character and its related symbiotes since, but Eddie's early struggles with his Other, and the visual design of Venom belongs to Michelinie and McFarlane.
9 The Closest We Get To Venom's Chest Symbol
For as much of the core Venom look as the movie gets rights, for many fans, Venom just isn't Venom without his famous insignia: the white spider emblazoned on his chest, with white lines extended outward under the arms. This design is missing from the movie version, but for good reason. Since these images were based on the symbiote's time with Spider-Man - an aspect of his comic book origin that is skipped over in the movie - there's no logical explanation for it to be there at all. However, there is a nod to it.
When Eddie is impaled through the chest by one of Riots spears, he seems to be passing away until the symbiote returns to him. When it covers him, joins with him, and heals him, the symbiote pulls the spear back out of their chest. When it does, the void is filled by bright white symbiote material. It only lasts a second, but kudos to the filmmakers for nodding to his comic insignia at all, let alone in such a pivotal scene.
8 The Famous Wilhelm Scream
It just might be the oldest Easter egg in existence, relying on being heard and not seen to lay hidden in too many movies to count.
Known as “The Wilhelm Scream,” the over dramatic wail of a wounded, falling, or far-flung man is impossible to miss.
It's so much of a known quantity for movie fans that some viewers of Venom are likely to see other audience members react to it when the audio sample makes its way into Venom's second act battle scene (when Swat surrounded Eddie in the lobby of his former employer).When the fight gets going, and one man is grabbed by a symbiote tendril and yanked off his perch, you hear the sound, and know beneath the body armor and mask… we have our Wilhelm.
7 Eddie's Connection to San Francisco's Homeless
Its no secret that the movies uses the comic book arc titles “Lethal Protector” for its foundation, but in truth, it only uses it as a basic premise. The comic took Eddie Brock and his symbiote to San Francisco, sure, but that was already after he merged with the symbiote in New York and ran afoul of Spider-Man. Upon arriving in San Francisco and starting fresh, Eddie finds himself embroiled in a wild story of homeless people developing sunken buildings from an earthquake into a secret community.
The movie never gets as silly as that, but it's nice to see the bond between Eddie Brock and those living on Dan Francisco streets honored. In fact, it's Eddie's friendship with one homeless woman who makes him Venom to begin with.
6 Eddie's Old Editor, Barney Bushkin
There are several allusions to Eddie's past work as a reporter in New York, which is also where his comic book story begins - and where it ends in embarrassment, after his investigation into a criminal called The Sin-Eater is foiled by Spider-Man catching the real guy. The movie doesn't go into details, but it does call out the Daily Globe by name - the rival newspaper to the famous Daily Bugle - as Eddie previous place of employment. However, things didn't go too bad when Eddie left, judging by his text messages.
During a short montage of Eddie looking for work, he's shown texting someone for a possible lead on a job. That someone is listed as Barney Bushkin, editor of the Daily Globe, and fierce enemy of J. Jonah Jameson.
5 The Original Goal Was To "Cure Cancer"
The villain of the movie graduates to totally evil pretty quickly, making it hard to believe that he was ever trying to actually do good. However, a single line of dialogue hints at what The Life Foundation's mission actually started as (or the team assigned to the symbiotes, at least). Originally, the doctors were trying to cure cancer.
This is often used as a throwaway excuse for doing good, but in the case of the symbiote, it's also a nod to the comics.
It's a nod to the Ultimate Spider-Man version of Venom, to be specific. In this alternate universe, the symbiote suit was the creation of both Eddie Brock and Peter Parker's father, built as a suit that could diagnose and cure the body by tapping into the wearer's brain. It's nice to see it connected to in the movie, even if the rest is sticking to the original Eddie origin.
4 Venom Was an Outsider on His Planet, Too
For those who don't pick up on Eddie's repressed urges to help his fellow man and defend those most vulnerable in the world, the symbiotes decision to ditch its plans and be a hero may seem to come out of nowhere. However, it does offer a single excuse for its change of heart, admitting that Eddie Brock is a loser... but so was it, on its home planet. This actually alludes to some major Venom storylines from the more modern expansions on the symbiote mythology - the biggest being the introduction of a whole planet of symbiotes, designed to be good, and virtuous symbiotes to other species.
Sadly, Venom made the mistake of selecting a host who was anything but virtuous, leading it to be traumatized and unstable. This made Venom a runt of the symbiote litter, so as much as older Venom fans might be thrown by this line of dialogue, readers of the modern Venom get the reference.
3 Meet Riot, The Symbiote Team Leader
While early rumors claimed that the movie would be following the comic book arc revolving around The Five Symbiotes, the assumption is incredibly misleading. Not only are there not five symbiotes in play, but the comic book arrived at those five symbiotes by removing them from Venom, and attaching the Spawn to hosts. In the movie, the symbiotes are on a mission to apparently take over Earth - led by the massive, vicious symbiote named Riot.
Riot is referred to as the "team leader" by Venom, which helps clarify how the filmmakers are combining two different symbiote groups. The "team" actually sounds like the group of soldiers loyal to the Symbiote Imperium of the comics, where Venom found himself due to not fitting in with the virtuous symbiotes of his homeworld. In the end, it was Venom's inherent goodness that made his teammates hate him, just like in the movie.
2 Another Venom Artist Gets a Namedrop
While McFarlane and Michelinie get shout-outs on screen for creating Venom, they're not the only talent due some credit. After all, it was the "Lethal Protector" series that formed Venom and Eddie into the heroic duo being formed in the final scene - and this series relied on artist Ron Lim to show Venom could be his own headlining hero (who succeeded in the task beautifully).
Ron Lim would remain a major artist for many Venom fans in the years after, so it's only right that he should get some love from the movie.
Keep your eyes peeled on the background San Francisco businesses, and you'll spot Ron Kim's name used for an herbal shop.
1 Into The Spider-Verse Credits Scene
Finally, fans will want to stay all the way through the credits for what could be a disappointing preview, or an incredibly refreshing one. Not for a sequel movie starring Tom Hardy, but for the next Spider-Man movie: Into The Spiderverse. Marvel has stuck post-credits scenes onto the end of their movies that undercut the conclusion, while advertising a completely different hero's film.
Because of this, fans will have to decide if it's a good or bad surprise to find an extended preview of the new Spidey movie, without a glimpse of Venom. A resurrected and unconscious Peter Parker being dragged behind a train by Miles Morales, though? Sign us up.
These are all of the Venom Easter eggs, subtle secrets, cameos, and Marvel references that we could spot. Did you notice any others? Let us know in the comment section!