i got us

Everything We Learned About Symbiotes in Venom

Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

Venom is a Ratatouille sequel. In the 2018 superhero movie, a little critter who’s an outcast in his own society forms a hidden bond with a human loser (Tom Hardy), yanking him around like a puppet to get him to achieve goals that neither could reach without the other. At first they don’t get along, then they have to keep their relationship a secret, until finally they can come out as the dream team they are. Venom is Eddie Brock’s little chef.

This delightful romp got a dismal 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes at its time of release, despite its myriad charms (tell me you didn’t tear up when Venom tells Eddie, “I got us”). Let’s not make the same mistake with Venom: Let There Be Carnage, when Hardy will reprise the roles of Eddie Brock and his bossy dom daddy Venom. But what is Venom, anyway? What’s the deal with these symbiotes? We compiled everything the first movie taught us about these li’l alien dudes:

Millions can ride on a comet

They got to Earth by hopping from a comet onto one of Elon Musk stand-in Carlton Drake’s (Riz Ahmed) rocket ships in the hopes of snatching bodies and feasting on Earth food.

They look like squid-ink pasta


They must “bond with a respiratory host” to survive in an oxygen-rich environment like Earth

We learn this from Jenny Slate’s lab-scientist character, the late Dr. Dora Skirth. Symbiotes need to infiltrate the body of an oxygen-breathing creature to thrive in our atmosphere.

But not every host is a match

“It’s similar to an organ transplant,” says Dr. Dora Skirth. When a symbiote finds a particularly good match, they’ll want to hold on to it for a while, as is the case with Eddie and Venom. Otherwise, they’ll jump to a new host, entering their skin via physical contact. Symbiotes are lethal to some people, however. In Dr. Drake’s evil lab, human hosts were dropping dead left, right, and center.

If you’re a main character, you’re an amazing host, though

Eddie, Drake, and Anne Weying (Venom) can take a symbiote, no problem. Super convenient!

If you’re a good match, carrying a symbiote gives you superpowers

Super strength, super healing, bulletproof goo, powerful goo projections that can take the form of shields and weapons. Plus, the ability to “climb a really, really, really tall tree, but super, super fast.”

But their weakness is high-frequency sounds

If Ariana Grande sings anywhere near a symbiote she will destabilize it.

The degree to which they control their hosts is … inconsistent

When the evil symbiote Riot attaches itself to an EMT worker and then an old lady and then a little girl, it appears to completely take them over, turning their bodies into dead-eyed, shambling Invasion of the Body Snatchers–style vehicles. You might think, “That’s just because Riot is super powerful.” But when he attaches himself to Carlton Drake’s body, the two have a more conversational Venom-and-Eddie–style psychic bond. Venom and Eddie, meanwhile, are kind of like a fusion in Steven Universe: two different types of alien who love each other’s company so much that they share one body and experience the world together. When Venom’s in the “passenger” seat, he’s a voice in Eddie’s head, and vice versa.

Symbiote society is hierarchical

Venom says Riot is a “team leader,” whatever that means.

They’re hungry boys

Symbiotes always be eating. So much of Venom is just Venom yelling “HUNGRY” and steering Tom Hardy toward whatever he can find to fuel them: tater tots frozen out of the bag, live lobsters from a tank, the occasional human head. A symbiote is just a Reynolds Woodcock that isn’t picky about how his asparagus is done and also eats people.

Their home planet probably understands the concept of “negging”

Venom does it to Eddie all the time.

When a symbiote has a female host, its Venom-form will have boobies

As seen in this three-way kiss scene between Eddie, Anne, and Venom. In the comics she’s called She-Venom. Her thing is biting heads off but feeling kind of bad about it after.

Symbiotes are gender fluid

Literally, gender fluid. The noun. Beings of sentient goo that can express all kinds of gender all over the place.

Sometimes they squabble with their hosts

“What happened to we?”

But they’ll make up in the end :’)

We ship Symbrock.

Everything We Learned About Symbiotes in Venom