Odd couple Eddie and Venom are back for another round of banterous bickering, symbiote skirmishes and off-screen head biting in Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
The superhero sequel was one of the many films delayed by the pandemic, but has finally settled on an October release date in the UK and even received a rare move forward in the US.
The film will finally see the live-action debut of notorious supervillain Carnage, who will be played by Woody Harrelson – minus the dodgy wig – after being memorably introduced in the first film's post-credits scene.
While Venom: Let There Be Carnage is one of many upcoming Marvel movies, it is not connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe – for now – but rumours of a crossover are reaching fever pitch.
Tom Holland has not been seen in the marketing for Venom despite hints from a Sony executive that there are plans for a crossover – and the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home may well let him jump cinematic universes in the future.
For now though, here is all there is to know about Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
Venom 2 release date
Like a slippery symbiote, the release date of Venom 2 has undergone many changes but has finally settled on a host – the sequel is due in US cinemas on 1st October 2021.
However, UK fans might have to wait a little longer – currently, it's still set for a 15th October release date here, probably to avoid a clash with new Bond movie No Time to Die.
Overall this is the fifth release date for the Tom Hardy sequel, which was initially set to open almost exactly a year earlier on 2nd October 2020 before being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we won’t do is make the mistake of putting a very, very expensive $200 million movie out in the market unless we’re sure that theatres are open and operating at significant capacity," Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman Tony Vinciquerra previously said.
"You’ll see a lot of strange things happen over the next six months in how films are released, how they’re scheduled, how they’re marketed, but once we get back to normal, we will have learned a lot I think and found ways to do things that are somewhat different and hopefully better."
There are tongues, teeth and tentacles galore in the below posters, the first of which is a callback to the poster for the original Venom, which melded half of Venom's face with half of Hardy's.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage started filming on 18th November 2019 at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in Watford, England, and concluded before the global shutdown of film production in Spring 2020.
Will Venom 2 be available to stream online?
Unlike Disney or Warner Bros, Sony doesn't have an in-house streaming service to do a split streaming/cinema release, instead relying on a full cinema release only.
However, like most films, Venom: Let There Be Carnage will eventually come to streaming, though this will be at least several months after its release in cinemas.
Given that Sony and Netflix signed a big deal in April 2021, Netflix is the most likely candidate to become the Venom sequel's eventual streaming home. There may be a bit of a wait though – it can take anything from a few months to two years for cinema releases to reach the streaming service.
However, as the Netflix-Sony deal was US-only, it is still possible that Venom: Let There Be Carnage will end up on a different streaming service here in the UK – and the superhero sequel will of course be available to buy and rent on the likes of Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Venom 2 trailer
On 10th May 2021, a first full-length trailer was released – and it wasn't short on action, suggesting the same blend of humour and horror that made the first film a hit with fans while giving a first look at characters played by Naomie Harris and Stephen Graham.
It looks like the battle between Venom and Carnage is going to be one for the ages – check out the trailer below...
And in August, Sony released another trailer – with Carnage this time in the thick of the action. Check it out below.
Venom 2 cast
We couldn't have a Venom sequel without the return of Tom Hardy, who will of course be reprising his role as Eddie Brock, the journalist who shares a human body with the symbiote known as Venom.
"I can say that Tom Hardy will be back, magnificently playing that character as no one else can,” producer Amy Pascal said. "When you think of Venom [the character], you'll never be able to think of anyone but Tom Hardy sitting in that bathtub of lobsters. And once you saw Tom Hardy do this character, that's all you needed to know."
Michelle Williams is also reprising her role of Anne Weying and has told Yahoo! that she'd like to spend more time as She-Venom in the sequel.
Woody Harrelson, who had a memorable cameo as serial killer Cletus Kasady in Venom’s post-credits scene, will also be back for the sequel (minus the dodgy wig).
In the comics, Kasady ends up bonding with another symbiote (Venom’s offspring), to become the supervillain Carnage, a character so heinous that foes Spider-Man and Venom have actually banded together to take him down in several stories.
The sequel's cinematographer Robert Richardson confirmed Harrelson's involvement in an interview with Collider: "You have a remarkable central character with Venom, but now you’ve got Woody Harrelson, who’s going to obviously make his own little entrance here."
Continuing the high caliber of acting talent in these movies, James Bond star Naomie Harris has also bagged a role in the Venom sequel, playing sound-powered villain Shriek, who often acts as a deadly sidekick to Carnage.
Line of Duty and The Irishman's Stephen Graham will play Detective Mulligan, widely believed to be Marvel character Patrick Mulligan. In the comics, Mulligan becomes a host for Toxin, a powerful symbiote spawned by Carnage – prompting rumours Toxin will appear in this film in a third act twist, or be set up as the villain of Venom 3.
Rumours also suggest that classic Spider-Man villain Kraven could appear in the film as well, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson confirmed to play the character in a future solo movie.
We can also expect to see more from Reid Scott (Late Night) as Anne's new boyfriend Dan, a doctor with the patience and understanding of a saint who helps Eddie following his initial transformation.
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Venom 2 director
With the first film’s director Ruben Fleischer busy making the Zombieland sequel, actor-turned-director Andy Serkis was drafted in as his replacement, reportedly beating Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Rupert Wyatt and Bumblebee’s Travis Knight to the top job.
“It’s happening,” Serkis wrote on Twitter. “The Symbiote has found a host in me and I’m ready for the ride... Can’t wait!”
Notably, Serkis has a lot of experience with motion capture and/or animation techniques, suggesting that the sequel may be showing off an even more imaginative and visually arresting take on the CGI symbiote. (Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson, who recently teamed with Tarantino on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, will be joining Serkis on the film.)
"It's a fantastic franchise and I'm honored to be asked to direct it," Serkis said (via IGN). "It feels like a very contemporary story, and I think, hopefully, that it's going to be an extraordinary piece of cinema."
Explaining that he was still "in the beginning stages" of putting the film together, he added, "I have some very clear ideas about what I want to see visually, and how we can take the characters to another dimension."
Much of the film's creative direction, though, will still come from star and executive producer Hardy. “Tom is very involved with the writing with Kelly Marcel of the new story, so it’s very much centered around their take,” Serkis said (via /Film.)
In fact, Hardy was so involved that he will be receiving his first 'Story By' credit, after spending months brainstorming the narrative with the film's screenplay writer Kelly Marcel.
"This is new for him, to get credit, but it's not new for him to be this involved," Marcel told Empire Online. "He's absolutely 100 per cent committed to everything that he does."
Marcel, who also co-wrote the original Venom, said that the two of them spent "months breaking the story together on FaceTime, riffing on ideas, seeing what worked, seeing what didn't" before she wrote the script.
“He’s married to Venom,” Marcel added. “He loves this character. He’s very involved in what he thinks should happen.”
Hardy has also hinted that there's a strong chance he will return to work on a potential third film with Marcel.
"I’m thinking about the third movie as well, because I think you need to write that at the same time,” Hardy told Esquire. “A third won’t be greenlit until the second is successful, but the studio were really, really pleased with number two.”
If you've already seen the movie in the US, you can read our Venom: Let There Be Carnage post-credits scene explainer here - but beware of spoilers!
Is Tom Holland's Spider-Man in Venom 2?
While Sony and Marvel are no longer splitting apart over Spider-Man (with Marvel making one more solo Spidey flick and having him in another team-up movie), at some point we'd expect the characters to come together.
Sony are supposedly quite keen to integrate Spider-Man back into their established stable of movies down the line, and Spider-Man and Venom’s status as arch-nemeses in the comics makes the Venom series the obvious way for the character to check in.
There are also reports from Geeks WorldWide that Holland may have a cameo role in the second Venom movie following leaked casting details – however, it's not yet clear whether he'd appear as the Peter Parker we know and love from films like Infinity War, or whether it would be an alternate universe Spider Man.
There's also a possibility that Venom 2 might cross over with upcoming Morbius movie starring Jared Leto, which is part of the same universe.
Hardy himself has hinted, if somewhat cryptically, that he would be keen on sharing the screen with Spider-Man when asked by Esquire.
“Should both sides be willing, and it be beneficial to both sides, I don’t see why it couldn’t be," Hardy said. "I hope and strongly, with both hands, push, eagerly, towards that potential, and would do anything to make that happen, within what’s right in business."
However Serkis is less keen, and although he acknowledges that "everyone is desperate for Venom to meet Spider-Man", he told Screen Rant that he'd rather Venom battle more villains from the film's Ravencroft Institute before meeting the webslinger.
"I think there's real mileage in some of the other supervillains that reside in Ravencroft," Serkis said. "I think there's so much... There's such fertile ground to be uncovered there. That would be the sandbox I'd be really interested in playing. Who's lurking in there that could break out?"