Could Venom actually be part of the wider MCU? So far, it's difficult to say. Marvel and Sony have issued a slew of contradictory comments, and the trailer doesn't even hint at an MCU context. It's without any reference to Tony Stark, to the Chitauri or to Spider-Man. It doesn't even have more subtle nods, say to Roxxon or WHiH Newsfront.
But that doesn't mean Venom couldn't still be part of the MCU, as loosely connected as some of Marvel Television's shows. Take the example of Runaways, the teen drama series in which a group of youths learned their parents were supervillains. Although it's viewed as part of the MCU, Runaways contained only one specific nod to the shared universe in its entire first season. Venom could take a similar approach, existing in its own separate corner of the MCU, avoiding overt references.
But if the film remains silent as to whether or not its part of the MCU, what are viewers to make of it? Will it be possible to essentially retcon the film into the MCU at all?
What We Know About Venom's Relationship To The MCU
It actually seems as though Marvel and Sony aren't sure whether or not Venom should be considered part of the wider MCU themselves. Although initial reports indicated that these spinoffs wouldn't be, Sony's Amy Pascal took a different approach. She described the spider-villain films as "adjuncts" to the MCU, seeming to imply the same kind of loose relationship enjoyed by Marvel Television. This sees the TV shows exist in the same universe, affected by big-screen events, but able to drop the PG-13 format in favor of a more experimental approach. Because events on the small screen never have any notable impact on the films, Marvel Television is essentially able to do its own thing. Pascal's comment seemed to imply a similar relationship between the spider-villain spinoffs and the MCU.
Both Marvel's Kevin Feige and Pascal herself then spent the next few weeks trying to "clarify" the issue. Instead, the result was that they muddied the waters, leaving audiences utterly confused. Pascal finally closed the issue by describing the spinoffs as "in the same reality," and Feige declared she'd given "the perfect answer."
Looking at what we know of the film itself, it's hard to say whether or not the narrative will reference the MCU at all. There are rumors that Tom Holland may make a cameo, most likely as Peter Parker rather than Spider-Man. Amusingly enough, when Venom producer Matthew Tolmach was asked about this rumor, he gave the classic politician's answer; "We are making a Venom movie," he insisted, "and I think you'll be very pleased." The non-answer raised more than a few eyebrows.
Looking to the wider spinoffs, there are rumors that Sony is planning to use both Norman Osborn and the Scorpion in Silver & Black. With Osborn, Sony are reportedly playing it safe, hiring a voice-only actor so the character can be recast by Marvel at a later date. With the Scorpion, it's unclear whether or not the studio will hire Michael Mando for the part; he played Scorpion in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It's actually possible Scorpion could serve as a bridge between the MCU and the spider-villain films.
The Venom Trailers Have No MCU Connections - But Nothing To Refute It
All that's just speculation, of course. Looking at the trailers, there's no evidence to support the idea that Venom is part of the MCU. The aesthetic is different and no effort has been made to highlight any parallels or even wider universe awareness.
But that doesn't mean much. Tune in to a trailer for one of the Marvel Netflix shows, and you'll see no evidence that those series are set in the wider MCU either. In fact, going by their trailers, only two Marvel Television series have been clearly set in the MCU; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. trailers usually include a glimpse of Agent Coulson, and the trailers for Cloak & Dagger have featured a sign for the Roxxon Corporation.
The Venom trailers are effectively silent as to whether or not the film is part of the MCU. But that may not actually be significant at all.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018
- Silver and Black (2019) release date: Feb 08, 2019