Sony's new movie, Venom, has received mostly poor reviews, but that hasn't stopped it from having a strong box office performance in the USS. And although it may also not be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is a comic book movie--and that means it borrowed some pages of the MCU playbook by including a pair of extra scenes after the credits roll. Its two post-credits sequences feature a surprising reveal, a sequel teaser, and some hype for another Spider-adjacent movie entirely. So technically there is a Spider-Man reference in Venom? Does this count? Obvious spoilers ahead--please consider yourself warned!
The first and most consequential of Venom's credits stingers features a rather abrupt jump to Eddie being escorted into a supermax prison by a guard, apparently on assignment for his newly resumed journalistic career. The actual angle of the piece and the outlet that commissioned it are never revealed, but that doesn't stop the guard from running down a list of intimidating Silence of the Lambs style rules Eddie has to follow upon conducting his interview, as if he's Clarice Starling about to meet Hannibal Lecter for the first time. Venom itself stays hidden and mostly quiet as Eddie approaches the cell, and we see a man painting the word "welcome" in blood on the walls of his cage, which happens to be a lone box in the middle of an otherwise empty room. He's the only prisoner kept here, we can assume for the safety of the other inmates.
As the camera focuses on his face, he's revealed to be played by Woody Harrelson, sitting in a white jumpsuit, done up with an almost cartoonish red wig. He never formally introduces himself but begins to speak as Eddie approaches, warning that when he "gets out of here, there's going to be carnage" before the scene cuts to black.
Though he's never formally named, it's pretty obvious that Harrelson is set to play Cletus Kasady in whatever Venom sequel might be in the works, the serial killing mass murderer who eventually comes into possession of his very own symbiote named--wait for it--Carnage.
In the comics, Carnage is actually one of the Venom symbiote's many offspring, created during a brief stint in which Eddie was incarcerated and kept in a cell next to Kasady, where it eventually bonded to him without Eddie's knowledge. Thanks to Kasady's major homicidal streak and psychopathic tendencies, and some comic book science involving the symbiote bonding to Kasady's blood directly (don't worry about it), Carnage became a massive and powerful threat almost immediately.
Physically, Carnage looks similar to Venom, except it's blood red in color and tends to fight with a bunch of gooey tentacle-like appendages in addition to its standard issue symbiote shape-shifting and brute strength. Unlike Brock, however, Kasady was never interested in trying to reign in Carnage's murderous, cannibalistic side, meaning Carnage basically just gets to cut a swath of destruction and terror wherever it wants, whenever it wants.
We can't be sure based on this scene alone just how the Carnage symbiote will come into play or how Kasady will bond with it. The movie universe hasn't dealt with the symbiotes reproducing so far, so it's likely that the family connection between the two will be changed. And given that Brock himself isn't actively incarcerated, there will probably be some other way for Kasady to come in contact with his symbiote--a rogue Life Foundation experiment, maybe? Some sort of Riot fragment that survived the crash? Alternatively, there's a slight possibility that the movie will posit Kasady already having Carnage inside him (hence the high security prison set up and the "there will be carnage" line) with the intent of building out that backstory somewhere down the line. Really anything is possible at this point.
In an interview with GameSpot, Venom director Ruben Fleischer elaborated on the scene and the casting choice of Woody Harrelson, with whom he has worked in the past.
"We tried at the end of our movie to lay the groundwork for a potential sequel, or a further story. And there's a character that's beloved by all Venom fans that does not appear in the body of our film that I think fans will be really excited to see," Fleischer said. "I found somebody who I have a relationship with and love working with. And I love all the characters that he's played. So to imagine him being an iconic adversary to Venom in the future is really exciting."
The only thing we can be sure of is that, should Venom be greenlit for a part two, Carnage fans will definitely have something to write home about.
Venom's second post credits segment was actually, technically, not a post credits scene at all, but a promotional clip for an entirely different movie: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which is set for release this December. Heralded by a bright "Meanwhile, in another universe" title card, the clip featured the animated Miles Morales running from an unknown, masked enemy wearing a makeshift spider-style costume before winding up at the grave of the late Peter Parker.
He's then met by a very much alive Peter Parker, who he accidentally knocks out, prompting a Weekend At Bernie's style series of mishaps around New York in which Miles drags the very unconscious Peter around the city. The clip was previously showcased in part at San Diego Comic-Con this year.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse has no direct connection with either Venom or the MCU that we know of yet, and even if it did, it certainly doesn't impact the significance of this particular clip. Instead it's set to build its own multiverse populated by some fan favorite Spider-Man comics characters, hence the "Spider-Verse" title. So, no real hidden meanings or major clues for the future of Sony's superhero line on this one, just a little teaser for another movie headed to theaters this winter.
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