Theory: Riot Becomes Carnage
Could Sony have played something of a bait-and-switch, with their version of Riot destined to become Carnage? Certainly, almost all of the changes Sony has made to Riot make the creature much more like the Carnage symbiote: the deep red veins upon its surface are obviously more like Carnage than its comic-book counterpart: Riot's ax-like weapons are atypical of the comic version but standard for Carnage (or Riot's "brother" symbiote in the comics, Phage); and, importantly, the symbiote is clearly reveling in the destruction it causes, another character-trait typically associated with Carnage.
All of this leads to the suggestion that Venom's Riot is really the proto-Carnage symbiote, ready to become the sequel's villain once it connects with a truly ruthless host. It's definitely not difficult to envision a situation for the symbiote to get from Dr. Carlton Drake to serial killer Cletus Kasady; if Venom defeats Riot (all but guaranteed to be the case) and Drake survives, the bad doctor is sure to wind up in prison, putting him and any surviving symbiote fragment in close proximity of Kasady. That's exactly the sort of cameo that Harrelson has teased.
Crucially, there's some key comic book precedent for multiple aspects of this theory. It's Kasady's bloodlust that makes Carnage so dangerous, meaning Riot would evolve somewhat by its new host into a new form. And the Carnage symbiote has bonded to other hosts before, including villains like the Wizard, Karl Malus, and Carla Unger. In one What If? story, it even wound up possessing the Silver Surfer. Why not Carlton Drake?
How This Theory Makes Venom 2 Even Better
This revelation would instantly transform Venom. Rather than just being an origin story for the titular tongue-slavering antihero, it would also become an origin story for Carnage. There'd actually be something of a character arc for the symbiote; viewers would see its already-terrifying bloodlust demonstrated in Venom, only to watch as the symbiote bonded to a serial killer. When Riot returned as Carnage, the insanity of Cletus Kasady would have infected the symbiote itself; all trace of the logic that drives Riot in Venom would be gone, replaced by nothing more than a desire to kill and maim.
The Carnage of the Venom movies would become a true "mirror image" villain. The two symbiotes would be "brothers," both arriving on Earth in the same crashed spaceship, both victims of the Life Foundation, and both dealing with the same bloodlust. After all, as the Venom trailer demonstrates, Venom himself has no qualms about threatened to chow down on humans - he just chooses to keep that dark part of himself under control, sating it by attacking criminals. In contrast, Carnage is what you get when the bloodlust is unrestrained and all-consuming, overriding all other motives and desires. Carnage would be the personification of everything Eddie Brock fears he could become. And their shared origin would make that all the more terrifying to Venom.
You can get that with Carnage in general, of course, but transforming the Riot symbiote into Carnage would provide a clear narrative throughline from Venom to the next film - whether Venom 2 or a Maximum Carnage event. Venom would truly lay the foundations for what is to come and the apparent absence of Carnage would be transformed from a disappointment to comic book fans to a promising declaration that great things are in store.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018