In an interview with ComicBook.com, Venom director Ruben Fleischer confirms that his film will lay the groundwork for sequels down the road, depending on the success of the feature:
We’ve definitely laid some groundwork for different directions that the franchise could go, but obviously it all hinges on people’s excitement about this film. I hope people will stay and see what seeds have been planted.
That last sentence appears to be a clue that sequels will be teased during the post-credits scene, rather than peppered throughout the story – hopefully. We all remember the overloaded insanity of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which packed Rhino, Green Goblin, and Electro inside an already bloated story, and indicated that Vulture and Doctor Octopus were on their way, eventually.
In Venom, the titular Venom will be facing off against “Riot,” a lesser-known villain and fellow symbiote who is extremely similar to Venom himself, at least, in the comics. It is believed that Woody Harrelson, who will eventually play fan-favorite Carnage, might be making a small cameo in the film, though this hasn’t been officially confirmed.
If I had to guess, I’d say that we’re going to watch Tom Hardy “become” Venom by fighting Riot, and then get treated to a post-credits scene of Woody Harrelson in a jail cell, being infected by a red-tinged symbiote.
This begs the question, why wait? We’ve been watching cinematic universes form and quickly die for years now, and I think the audience is getting pretty sick of origin stories which serve as little more than a lengthy trailer for a more interesting narrative, usually involving popular villains facing off against now-established characters. Post-credits scenes have become a promise: “next time we’ll give you what you came for. Just wait.”
Why should we? We all know who Venom is, and if we don’t, it’s really not difficult to catch up – the idea isn’t exactly complicated. I’d love to see a comic-book character introduced in the first five minutes of a film, instead of dragging out yet another origin. And watching Venom face off against his big-name nemesis Carnage, a visually distinct and vicious psychopath that makes the morally ambiguous Venom look like a saint, would be much more exciting than watching Venom fight “Diet-Venom.”
Even Marvel failed when they tried to do something similar with The Incredible Hulk, by setting Hulk up to fight Abomination. Watching the two green giants duke it out wasn’t an interesting situation at all, and just served as a stall for a real challenge somewhere down the line.
Of course, the real problem here is that Spider-Man isn’t around to team up with Venom to take down Carnage – “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is always an interesting narrative for a superhero flick, and it’s doubtful that we’re ever going to see it in the oddly-titled “Spider-Verse.”
And to be fair, there’s nothing Sony can do about that; the MCU obviously doesn’t want to merge. But I do think they should have set Venom up with an interesting antagonist, if they want to establish sequels. Carnage can always be defeated, and return for a sequel, even if he dies.
Just tease his resurrection in the post-credits sequence.