In the recent trailer for Venom, we got a horrifying look at Eddie Brock's (Tom Hardy) transformation into into a giant, toothy, long-tongued monster - courtesy of an alien symbiote he picks up while investigating the Life Foundation. Dr Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) has been trying to use the symbiote to create an enhanced version of humanity, but it seems that the process has so far been particularly hard on the hosts.
The nature of the symbiote is such that it's often hard to tell where the host ends and the alien entity begins. The symbiote merges with a host's body, hiding inside and then emerging and transforming its host in interesting and often horrifying ways. What we've seen of Eddie Brock's transformation into Venom in the trailers is similar to the portrayal in the comics, but also seems to draw upon other influences, like Venom's transitions in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
Venom is a character steeped in body horror, so the transformation scenes could make or break this movie - and also offer some great insight into the relationship between Eddie Brock and his new symbiote pal. Let's break down what we've seen so far.
- This Page: How Eddie Brock Transforms Into Venom
- Page 2: Venom's Shapeshifting Abilities, The Animated Venom, & Spider-Man 3
Eddie Brock Gets Infected With the Symbiote
In the comics, Eddie Brock first bonds with the symbiote when the two of them have aligned goals - namely, a hatred of Spider-Man - so the process is quite smooth, with Eddie and the symbiote working in tandem to take down the web-slinger, and Eddie glad to have the symbiote in board. In the movie, however it appears that Eddie won't even realize what has happened to him at first. We see him looking physically tormented by his new pal: sweating profusely, downing pills, and startled by the voice in his head. His journey to becoming Venom is portrayed as a kind of infection or demonic possession. Director Ruben Fleischer has compared it to a werewolf movie.
In many ways, this resembles moments from the classic '90s story Venom: The Madness (pictured above), in which Venom fell into a toxic chemical mix that infected him with demons from the Realm of Insanity. Instead of having just one voice in his head, Eddie had many voices - including Creep, Paranoia and Delusion - that stole away his usual measure of control and made him extremely dangerous and highly aggressive. Although Venom is mainly based on the Lethal Protector comic arc, the movie could well draw on inspiration from other stories in the early run of solo Venom adventures - The Madness among them.
The Venom Movie Transformation Reflects a Lack of Control
In the comics, the Venom's appearance varies depending on the emotional state of the host, and also reflects the balance of control between symbiote and host. During the symbiote's first appearance, when it attached itself to Peter Parker, it essentially looked the same as Peter's usual Spider-Man suit. When the symbiote latched on to Peter it dissolved the existing Spider-Suit underneath and replaced it, and Peter soon realized that he could control the suit with his thoughts (for example, creating a seam in it so he could conveniently store his wallet and keys). It was some time before Peter even became aware that his suit was actually a separate living being - at which point he rejected it.
The symbiote doesn't just use its hosts, but instead can form deep, emotional attachments to them, and therefore was deeply hurt by Peter's rejection. After crawling away, it discovered Eddie Brock, who held an obsessive hatred of Spider-Man due to the fact that Spider-Man caught and identified serial killer called the Sin-Eater about an hour and a half after Brock published an exposé on the wrong suspect. The symbiote latched onto Brock when he was seething with hatred and, as a result, the first appearance of Venom shows the symbiote not simply as a skintight suit, but as something that has physically transformed Eddie - giving him claws and a large mouth with sharp teeth. More recently, Flash Thompson's turn as Agent Venom demonstrated what a host can do when they are in total control of the symbiote; Flash uses it to create a simple tactical suit for himself, and also to regrow the lower half of his legs, which he lost in the Iraq War.
From what we've seen in the trailers, Hardy's Eddie Brock seems to have little to no control over the symbiote, which would explain why his physical transformation is so extreme. When the suit takes over his body he grows in height by several feet, and his face is enveloped by a monstrous mouth and teeth (and the long, slavering tongue that was introduced by artist Erik Larsen, and would go on to become a trademark of the character). Unlike the Eddie of the early comics, the movie's Eddie seems to be a nice enough guy who isn't consumed by rage or hatred, and describes himself as being "taken" by the symbiote - begging it not to hurt people, warning people not to aggravate it, and even apologizing when it attacks.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018