Venom isn't currently in the MCU, but it very easily could be retconned into the shared universe - if Marvel Studios wants it. While reviews remain mostly negative, Venom continues to see financial success, topping the box office two weeks running. Given how much was riding on this film’s success, these numbers signal good things for Sony Pictures and their long-term plans to create their own MCU-style franchise from the extended world of Peter Parker and his many nemeses. It also makes a Venom 2 more than likely.
Sony seems determined to establish their own comic book franchise independent of Peter’s friends in the Disney-run MCU, centered around Spider-Man villains. However, it’s hard to avoid the ways they worked to ensure that Venom could easily slide into the MCU should the occasion call for it. The film’s PG-13 rating remains notable since so much of the hype during production was centered on it being an R, but of course that immediately allows it to be a family-friendly movie that fits into Disney’s usual fare. Indeed, much of the film seems cut from the MCU cloth and primed for appearances by passing Avengers.
With the world of Spider-Man’s villains and anti-heroes set to include fan favorites like Morbius, Black Cat, Silver Sable and Silk, it’s become increasingly plausible to imagine the worlds of Sony and Marvel Studios converging. It wouldn’t be especially difficult to do so either.
- This Page: How Venom Already Fits Into The MCU
- Page 2: How Would Marvel Bring Venom Into The MCU?
Nothing In Venom Contradicts The MCU
Venom’s changes from the canon make for a curious origin story to Eddie Brock and the Symbiote that empowers him: there’s no Spider-Man, so Eddie doesn’t get tangled in a scandal at the Daily Globe which he blames the hero for; the Symbiote is never with Peter so we don’t see the black Spider-suit or any related story; and the action takes place in San Francisco rather than New York. The most notable change comes from leading with Eddie an anti-hero rather than a traditional villain, something the marketing heavily played up. These changes help to make Venom an origin story that can stand on its own two legs independent of both Spider-Man and the wider Marvel universe.
However, that doesn't mean that the film opposes the MCU or contradicts it in any way; there’s nothing in the narrative of Venom that would need to be dramatically changed to fit with the MCU. The main story is relatively low-key compared to the action that goes down in other Marvel movies – like the other San Francisco set superhero film Ant-Man – so it would be easy enough to explain why none of the Avengers felt the need to intervene in taking down Riot. Venom works well as its own one-off story or as the beginning of its own series but it’s not incompatible with joining a well-established epic.
The only area that could be seen to contradict is Eddie’s shock at discovering the existence of aliens, something that is extremely old news at this point in the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. This could still be dealt with if the film is willing to mess around with its timeline (and Venom has been both applauded and critiqued for its 1990s style storytelling). An aside reference to Superman could prove tricky but not so impossible to overcome, and such in-jokes seldom greatly impact the wider narratives.
Venom's Marvel Universe References Work For Sony & Disney
Venom is not bereft of Spider-Man universe references, even as it took great steps to move away from the established canon for its eponymous character. Eddie Brock is a journalist in San Francisco for a Vice-like news organization but his past at the Daily Globe, where he was apparently run out of New York, is mentioned. The MCU has yet to introduce the world of the Globe, nor rival the Daily Bugle and its infamous editor, J. Jonah Jameson. While Peter remains a high-schooler with no current plans to enter the workplace, the daily dealings of the Bugle will inevitably feature in the franchise in some form, and it’s Venom that offers the easiest route to that arc.
Venom also introduces John Jameson, one of the Life Foundation's astronauts and the only one who survived the crash that opens the film. John, the son of J. Jonah in the comics, was the Symbiote’s first host in the movie before jumping to another, and while his fate remains unclear, his presence alone offers another deep cut. John becomes the Man-Wolf in the Spider-Man comics after an expedition to the Moon leads him to discover a mystical Godstone with lycanthropic powers. As Man-Wolf, John frequently fought Morbius the Living Vampire, who will soon become part of Sony’s Spidey-verse with Jared Leto in the lead role. Later, John became Stargod, an interdimensional being with superhuman powers, and even briefly had a relationship with Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. She-Hulk.
Clearly, the world-building potential embedded in Venom runs deeper than its mere possibilities as its own franchise, with elements that beeline right into the MCU (if you go by the comics).