Sony's Venom movie introduced viewers to the threat of the symbiotes; but who are these monstrous beings? The symbiotes are an alien race originating from the planet Klyntar, who bond with host organisms for sustenance. True symbiosis appears to only be possible if the host ingests enough food to keep their body running during the first few hours after they bond. But sooner or later, the symbiotes' insatiable appetites lead to every world running out of potential foods, and they're forced to seek another planet.
The Venom movie loosely adapts the Lethal Protector comic arc, which saw Eddie Brock and Venom going up against the sinister Life Foundation and their hideous experimentations. The results of those experiments were the Five Symbiotes: Riot, Scream, Agony, Lasher and Phage. Developed from "seeds" collected from the parent Venom symbiote, each had their own distinct powers (weapon arms, attack hair, other very 90s affectations).
Naturally, Venom takes tremendous liberties with the concept - and it doesn't even include all five of the symbiotes. Here's your guide to all the symbiotes introduced in the movie.
Last updated: October 15, 2018
First up, there's the film big bad; Riot. Team leader of the symbiote scouts sent to Earth, Riot is the most powerful of all the symbiotes we've seen to date. He has a propensity for jumping from host to host in the movie, just like in the comics. Riot's goal is to establish a bridgehead for a fully-fledged symbiote invasion of Earth, and he doesn't care how many he kills in order to accomplish that goal; indeed, he rather seems to enjoy the bloodshed. The symbiote takes on a number of hosts in his deadly quest, most notably Donna Diego, an EMT in Asia. That name will be familiar to any comic book reader, given it's the real name of another symbiote host in the comics, Scream.
Although Riot escaped, a number of symbiote samples were still obtained by the Life Foundation. This yellow symbiote is probably Phage, who's traditionally presented as a yellow/orange. Phage doesn't survive the Life Foundation's experiments.
The other symbiote alongside Riot, Scream and Phage is a blue and gold one, which - as initially shown in the Venom trailer - was set loose on unwitting test subjects. Not only is this coloring distinct from the others in the film, it also doesn't match up with any of the Five Symbiotes from the comics (Riot has a blue-ish tint but, as established, here is more pure silver). It looks to be the Toxin symbiote, a better-known character than any of the Five - and, ironically, in the comics the only symbiote to become a trusted superhero ally of Spider-Man.
Of course, we have the Venom symbiote itself - the star of the film. It turns out that Venom is generally viewed as something of a "loser" among his own people, and frankly was quite delighted to get away from the rest of his fellow symbiotes. Where the rest of the symbiotes seek to dominate, Venom strives for true symbiosis, and truly values his hosts - to the extent that he betrays his people in order to save humanity. Venom's sense of morality, of course, is very different to our own; there's no sense that he really cares too much whether he bites the heads off good or bad people. Still, he's willing to accept Eddie Brock's restrictions, albeit with good-natured grumbling.
Carnage Isn't In Venom (But His Host Is)
Venom's post-credits scene introduces viewers to Cletus Kasady, the serial killer who's destined to bond with another symbiote and become Carnage. According to director Ruben Fleischer, "The intention or the ambition was to show that there are legs for the franchise in that a fan favorite let alone played by Woody Harrelson would be something we could look forward to in the future." Sony revealed Kasady's backstory in their display at New York Comic Con, and it's every bit as chilling as you'd expect for a grisly villain who takes an almost orgasmic pleasure in bloodshed. We can assume that Carnage is the villain of the inevitable Venom sequel.
The Venom movie only introduced us to a handful of symbiotes, but we know there's an entire comet full of them on its way to Earth. The advance scouts have been repelled, but the main invasion force is still coming - setting up a thrilling threat for Venom 2.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018