Spoilers for “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” follow below.
As soon as Sony Pictures confirmed a “Venom” sequel was happening, fans were speculating over whether the film might include a cameo from Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. And while “Venom 2” doesn’t technically feature a Tom Holland cameo, early versions of the script did include a role for Peter Parker alongside Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock/Venom.
Venom and Spider-Man are famous foes in the Marvel Comics, but bringing them together onscreen has been tricky since Holland joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To briefly explain a complicated issue, Marvel Studios — the Disney-owned company behind the interconnected MCU — does not own the license for the character of Spider-Man or the characters found in Spider-Man comics. That license is currently held by Sony, which produced and distributed “Venom” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” However, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is under a shared deal between Disney and Sony that sees Marvel Studios serve as the creative producer on the standalone Spider-Man movies — “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and the upcoming “Spider-Man: No Way Home” — while Sony distributes those films.
This allows Holland to exist in the continuity of the MCU and pop up in non-Sony movies like “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” But Sony is also forging ahead with its own Marvel Comics adaptations that have no involvement from Marvel Studios, including the “Venom” movies and the upcoming Jared Leto-fronted “Morbius.”
So bringing Tom Holland into the “Venom” sequel was a tricky prospect, and “Venom 2” director Andy Serkis revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that Holland’s involvement was a matter of discussion that predated his involvement. “It couldn’t have been more in flux-y if you tried,” Serkis told THR. “It was something that they talked about from before I even came on to the movie. There were moments where he [Spider-Man] was going to be in the story, potentially, and then he wasn’t.”
Serkis says they ultimately decided to keep the focus on Tom Hardy’s titular character in “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” and it wasn’t until late in the game that they settled on the post-credits stinger for the film that nods to Holland’s Spider-Man. “We decided that we wanted to really examine the Venom-verse first,” Serkis continued. “So as we were going through principal photography, the inevitable discussions had to be had, but it wasn’t until very, very late on that we reached the precise notion of the teaser that we wanted to lay in there.”
In the final film, the “Venom 2” post-credits scene finds Hardy’s Eddie Brock seemingly waking up in a different universe, with J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson appearing on the TV to discuss the “menace” of Holland’s Spider-Man. This tees up a potential confrontation between Venom and Spider-Man that allows Sony to finally bring the two characters together without breaking the MCU’s carefully orchestrated plans.
Indeed, this December’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” will find Holland’s Peter Parker shaking up the multiverse after a spell cast by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange goes wrong. The first trailer for the film saw Holland’s Peter Parker crossing paths with Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus from the Tobey Maguire-starring “Spider-Man 2,” so already the streams are crossing.
It’s probably a safe bet that Hardy’s Venom makes some sort of appearance in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” now that the idea of the multiverse has been introduced, and it should be interesting to see where Sony goes from here. Holland has completed his current contract as Spider-Man (and has expressed interest in re-upping for more), and based on the early box office numbers for “Venom 2,” Sony is going to be greenlighting another “Venom” sequel sooner rather than later. So while Spider-Man doesn’t technically appear in the “Venom” sequel, a meet-up now feels inevitable.
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is now playing exclusively in theaters.