venom: let there be carnage

Unpacking the Venom: Let There Be Carnage Post-Credits Scene

Photo: Jay Maidment/Columbia Pictures

Can monstrously long tongues fracture the multiverse? In the frenzy-stirring post-credits scene for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Sony’s series of Spider-Man spinoffs seems to have suddenly merged with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Until now, it didn’t seem that Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock would ever meet heroes like the Avengers or Spider-Man. But what the Let There Be Carnage post-credits scene presupposes is … maybe now he will?

Let’s break down what happens and what it all means. Massive spoilers ahead! 

Okay, what just happened?

After thwarting Carnage, the post-credits scene finds Eddie and Venom relaxing in a hotel room on a well-deserved tropical vacation, watching a soap opera together. Then Venom drops a truth bomb: Because he’s a symbiote, he’s got “light-years of knowledge” that he keeps hidden from Eddie despite their psychic bond. The reason? Basically, Venom doesn’t want Eddie’s mind to be blown so hard that he’d go insane. Still, Venom offers to show Eddie a glimpse of what he means and then things go nuts.

Suddenly, everything about the room changes, implying we’re now in another universe’s version of the same place. Now it’s not a soap opera on TV. Instead, Eddie is watching what looks like the post-credits scene from Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) reveals to the world that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is Spider-Man. Has Venom broken the multiverse? No! Venom claims he “didn’t do this.” His tongue does lick the screen and the image of Spider-Man’s face. Gross, but not incriminating. The question now is: Will Venom lick Spider-Man’s face for real? Has Let There Be Carnage set up an actual crossover?

Is Tom Hardy’s Venom in the MCU now?

The short answer: It looks that way, but we don’t really know for sure. Legally speaking, in our real-life universe, the character of Spider-Man is on extended loan to Marvel Studios from Sony, and Peter Parker only appears in the continuity of the post–Civil War MCU movies thanks to a “content-licensing agreement.” Back in 2018, when the first Venom movie came out, this agreement didn’t mean the MCU could use Tom Hardy’s Venom, so the movie about one of Spider-Man’s most notorious adversaries took place in a film universe that didn’t explicitly include Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.

But now it seems Venom may exist in the MCU. If that’s not the case, then the post-credits scene is only an Easter egg, and a pretty pointless one, too. But we have reason to believe that’s not the case.

Does this mean Tom Hardy will be in the next Spider-Man movie?

Spider-Man: No Way Home opens on December 17 and we’re already expecting to see Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and probably Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), two of the supervillains from director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (which is also separate from the MCU). The trailer for No Way Home revealed a bit of how that will happen: Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) will seemingly break the multiverse while trying to undo the moment when Peter Parker’s secret identity was revealed. In other words, the exact moment Eddie witnesses at the end of Venom 2.

Does all of this mean Tom Hardy’s Venom will appear in No Way Home alongside the baddies from Raimi’s films? If he does, it would raise a few questions. Back in 2007, Venom was played by Topher Grace and had a very different backstory. In both the comics and in Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, the symbiote bonded with Peter first (then played by Tobey Maguire), shaping his Spidey-like appearance before he jumped over to Grace’s Eddie Brock. In Sony’s new Venom universe, meanwhile, Venom still presents as a bulkier, slimier, gothier Spidey-ish thing, despite Spider-Man’s absence in his world.

But what if there’s a way around that incongruity? What if the symbiote currently bonded with Tom Hardy’s Eddie — gasp — once called some universe’s version of Peter Parker its host? Is all of that part of the secret cosmic knowledge Venom alludes to in the post-credits scene?

The answers to all these questions are — for now — total mysteries. When Vulture’s Jackson McHenry talked to Venom 2 screenwriter Kelly Marcel, she said that the bulk of the post-credits scene and its dialogue “came from the Venom-verse.” She wrote it herself, then rewrote it based on “everybody’s” notes, presumably including MCU brass. She didn’t reveal more than that.

Still, that the post-credits scene was written from the perspective of the “Venom-verse” is telling. Venom likely didn’t break the multiverse himself; rather, he and Eddie are probably just caught up in whatever is happening outside of their universe, maybe in the MCU films. It’s obviously thrilling to imagine Venom appearing in a “real” Spider-Man movie. But because Marcel said the scene was handled largely by Venom’s creatives, rather than Marvel’s, a knee-jerk focus on the MCU could be slightly off.

But surely, one measly cameo isn’t the point. What’s the real endgame here?

Perhaps the Venom-verse is using Spider-Man to fill out Venom’s backstory rather than just trying to cram Venom into the MCU. Again, Marcel said she wrote the scene herself, which is very different than admitting that Disney asked her for the favor of helping make an MCU crossover happen.

Judging by his reaction to Peter on that TV, Venom clearly knows something about Spider-Man. And a meeting with Tom Holland is in the cards, for sure. But Sony has so many other Spider-people at its disposal; Venom’s potential crossovers don’t have to be limited to just the MCU. The Venom-verse is still expanding, after all. Jared Leto’s Morbius — set for 2022 — also takes place in the Venom continuity, and that movie’s trailer implied that yet another version of Spider-Man may exist in it. (We briefly glimpse a Spider-Man mural with the word “murderer” scrawled across it in graffiti.) If Venom is going to tango with more than one version of Spider-Man, the MCU might not be the endgame. It might just be the beginning.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is in theaters now.

Unpacking the Venom: Let There Be Carnage Post-Credits Scene