As if you hadn't heard, Tom Hardy comic book movie Venom is this autumn's box office sensation. The darkly comic anti-superhero adventure has already grossed $385m at the global box office (reports Box Office Mojo) and a sequel looks all but guaranteed.
That said, Venom's blockbusting debut movie did leave us with a lot of questions, all of which we want answered in Venom 2...
WARNING: VENOM SPOILERS AHEAD
- Riz Ahmed talks Venom villain Riot
- What we learned from the Venom post-credits scene
- Did you spot these Spider-Man references in the Into the Spider-Verse trailer?
1. Where do the symbiotes come from?
To recap, Venom begins when an gloopy extraterrestrial mass known as a symbiote crashes on Earth, later picked up by nefarious industrialist Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). He's experimenting with symbiotes on humans, looking to create a new master race – only for journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) to get in the way. The latter eventually fuses with the rogue symbiote to become Venom and disrupt Drake's (later to become the villainous Riot) plans.
Even so, there's a fundamental question about where the aliens hail from. The movie begins with Drake's spaceship heading back to Earth with the symbiote already on board – we don't see any details as to how that mission began, or where it went in order to pick up the creature. It turns out that director Ruben Fleischer did intend to begin the movie with some backstory about the symbiote's planet, but it was eventually dropped for pacing reasons.
"The beginning of the movie was a hard one," he tells Cinemablend. "Like, how much do we want to tell the backstory? There was a version [of the opening] where there was a planet crawling with tons of symbiotes that were collected and taken back to Earth by the Life Foundation. They had encountered them. But it kind of felt like, my instinct was it would be better to keep it more mysterious and just know that they've retrieved something from space. We don't know exactly by what means or how. Jenny [Slate]'s character later says they encountered it on a comet that was passing, and they retrieved these samples and brought it back to Earth. But yeah, I thought it was better just leave it a little bit mysterious, the backstory of the aliens."
Will we see this in the sequel? It would certainly fill in the narrative gaps, and the possibility of an entire planet crawling with symbiotes no doubt promises all kinds of eye-grabbing visual opportunities.
2. How did Eddie and Venom fuse again?
At the end of the movie, the head-chomping Venom apparently experiences a change of heart, sacrificing himself in the explosion that obliterates Carlton Drake's spaceship. It's all part of the attempt to stop Drake bringing more symbiotes back to Earth, and with Venom removed from his body, Eddie's life apparently returns to normal. Or does it?
During the movie's closing moments, Venom's booming voice re-emerges inside Eddie's head, revealing that he and the alien are still very much joined at the genetic hip. Eddie enters an uneasy truce with Venom, telling him that he can no longer go around killing people at random, but is willing to act as a human host.
But how did this happen? Did a fragment of the symbiote fall from Drake's spaceship and fuse with Eddie again? If so, he surely would have been made aware, given the body-contorting horror that he went through earlier in the movie. Maybe the nature of their relationship has changed, and they now share a psychological bond as opposed to a merely physical one.
Either way, this is a closing twist that demands some answers.
3. What's the nature of Eddie and Anne's relationship?
At the start of Venom, muck-racking journalist Eddie is enjoying a healthy relationship with girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). However, that comes to an abrupt end as a result of an interview with Carlton Drake – Eddie loses his job and Anne, who works for Drake's Life Foundation, is also made redundant. This spells doom for the couple, and, some time later, she's taken up with somebody else.
Although the end of the movie doesn't end with Eddie and Anne back together, it does imply a new level of trust between the two. After all, she assists Eddie/Venom in the climactic battle against her former employer Drake, which may be a sign that she's set to become a close ally of the symbiotic duo in the next movie.
In the comics, Anne transforms into She-Venom when exposed to the symbiote (the latter's first appearance is in September 1995's Venom: Sinner Takes All #2). Is Williams' character therefore about to undergo a symbiotic transformation of her own in the sequel?
4. What role will Carnage play?
The much-publicised Venom post-credits scene introduces Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, a psychopath who, in the comics, symbiotically fuses to become the dreaded Carnage.
As per the source material, Carnage is stronger than Venom, fuelled by Kasady's inherent rage. Among other things, as a child, Kasady killed his grandmother by pushing her down the stairs, nearly killed his mother by throwing a hairdryer into her bathtub and tortured and killed his pet dog.
It remains to be seen how much of Kasady's history will translate to the screen. Harrelson's character gives us hope for a suitably terrifying character – he's played memorable nut-cases in the likes of Natural Born Killers and Out of the Furnace – and this will hopefully make up for the somewhat underused Carlton Drake/Riot as seen in the first movie.
5. Will Spider-Man appear in Venom 2?
The rights for both the Venom and Spider-Man characters are currently owned by Sony (despite them hailing from Marvel mythology). As a result, the latter's role in the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) only arose out of a complex contractual agreement. In short, unless another agreement can be worked out between the two main studios, don't go expecting the wall-crawler (as played by Tom Holland) to appear just yet.
It's frustrating for fans of the comics given the engrossing history shared by Spider-Man and Venom on the printed page. That said, given Venom ended with a surprise five-minute clip of Sony's spin-off movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, can we instead expect the two characters to cross paths in that dimension?
Into the Spider-Verse is an animated adventure exploring the plethora of 'alternate' Spidey characters, principally Miles Morales, an African-American teenager who is schooled in the art of super-heroics by an older Peter Parker. Characters featuring include Spider-Man Noir, voiced by Nicolas Cage, so can we expect Venom to appear?