Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Venom
Ruben Fleischer's Marvel Comics adaptation Venom boasts not only a mid-credits scene, but a post-credits scene as well - and they're very different. The mid-credits scene introduces Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, a serial killer who will become bonded to the deadly symbiote Carnage, while the post-credits scene is simply a clip from upcoming animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Post-credits scenes were popularized by Marvel Studios, and became a means of using the end of one Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to begin promoting the next one. True to that goal, Venom's mid- and post-credits scenes not only lay the groundwork for Venom 2, but also invite audiences to check out Sony Pictures' next Marvel-based movie (even though it's not set in the same universe).
Both of Venom's after-credits scenes are a lot of fun and well worth sitting through the credits for, but in case you skipped them (or in case Venom's reviews have deterred you from seeing the movie, but you're still curious), here's what happens in each of the scenes, and what it means for the future.
- This Page: Venom's Mid-Credits Scene: Woody Harrelson Is Carnage
- Page 2: Venom's Post-Credits Scene: Into The Spider-Verse
Venom's Mid-Credits Scene: Woody Harrelson As Cletus Kasady
Venom's mid-credits scene reveals the big interview that Eddie had been boasting to Annie about landing shortly before the credits rolled. The interview subject is none other than notorious serial killer Cletus Kasady, who is being kept in a maximum security cell in San Quentin Prison - all alone in a big cage, and wrapped in a straitjacket (Harrelson is also wearing an extremely unconvincing wig of red hair). True to the comics, Cletus has a habit of scrawling on the walls in his own blood, which is what he's doing when Eddie arrives. However, he then contradicts this image by suggesting that they forego the usual serial killer clichés, and Eddie agrees to play along. The mid-credits scene ends with Cletus promising that when he gets out of prison there's going to be (you guessed it) "Carnage!"
Cletus Kasady Is Carnage
In the comics, Cletus Kasady was Eddie Brock's cellmate during his first stint in prison. The two prisoners weren't especially close, with Cletus preferring to listen to heavy metal while Eddie went off to work on his muscles. However, shortly before Eddie and Venom escaped from prison, Venom gave birth to a new symbiote and didn't bother to tell Eddie about it, since reproduction is asexual on Venom's home planet and the symbiotes don't have any concept of family. Venom's offspring, Carnage, was altered in certain ways due to being born on an alien planet, and when it attached itself to the nearest potential host - Cletus, a psychopathic serial killer - it became twisted and evil. Carnage broke out of prison and went on a killing rampage, attracting the attention of Spider-Man. Reluctantly, Spider-Man recruited Venom to help hunt down Carnage, and Venom (who, despite being pretty wicked in his own right, is vehemently opposed to harming innocents) agreed to an uneasy alliance.
Carnage is crazier than Venom, and more powerful, boasting many of the abilities that Riot is seen using in Venom - turning his arms into weapons, and detaching parts of himself to launch spikes and other deadly objects at enemies. It ultimately takes the combined efforts of Spider-Man and Venom to finally neutralize Carnage, and even then it's a pretty close thing. Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock doesn't have a Spider-Man to fight by his side, which means that he's going to have a serious fight on his hands in the sequel.
Carnage Is The Villain Of Venom 2
Venom's mid-credits scene is very clearly designed to set up a sequel with Carnage as the main villain, and even offers a easy way to explain how Carnage becomes attached to Cletus. In the movie there are only four symbiotes brought back from the Life Foundation, and by the end of the movie Venom is the only symbiote left alive, so Carnage must come from Venom - just like in the comics. Since Eddie goes to San Quentin Prison to interview Cletus with his buddy in tow, it wouldn't be at all surprising if Venom casually gave birth to Carnage during the interview and left him behind once it was over. Eddie even explicitly tells Venom to be quiet during the interview, which would explain why Venom doesn't pipe up after producing a new symbiote.
Even if Venom's mid-credits scene didn't obviously set up Carnage as the antagonist for Venom 2, Harrelson himself has said as much. Back when his role was still a (poorly kept) secret, Harrelson explained, "I’m in a little fraction of this movie, but I’ll be in the next one, you know?" Venom hasn't had a sequel officially green lit just yet, but with box office predictions pointing to a $175 million worldwide opening weekend, it should more than turn a profit on its $100 million budget.