Venom might be a stand-alone superhero movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to the forces of post-credits scenes. Certainly, Sony’s hoping that it’ll form the foundation of its bluntly named “Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters. That means that the end of Venom, of course, teases what’s next for Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock.
Venom keeps things relatively predictable. The movie gives us two after credits sequences: a tease for a theoretical Venom 2, and a preview for another movie in Sony’s Marvel stable. Let’s break them down.
[Ed. Note: This post contains spoilers for Venom.]
Halfway through the credits of Venom, we return to San Francisco. Specifically, to San Quentin State Prison. Near the close of the movie, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) hinted to his ex-fiancee, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), that his career as a reporter was back on track and he’d just scored the interview of a lifetime. Now we know who that interview is with: Notorious serial killer Cletus Kasaday.
Kasaday apparently requested Brock specifically, and the FBI is allowing it in the hopes that he’ll give up details about where some of his victims’ bodies are hidden. But as viewers, we get a different reveal — Venom’s best-hidden cameo appearance — when the occupant of the cage is shown to be Woody Harrelson in a wig.
Kasaday and Brock share some standard banter before Harrelson delivers the money line of the scene
“When I get out of here,” he drawls, “and I will … there’s gonna be carnage.”
Harrelson’s involvement in Venom, and his availability for a sequel, was rumored for a while, and later confirmed by Harrelson himself. His role itself was widely assumed to be the supervillain Carnage, and now we know that’s true.
The Waluigi of Spider-Man
Carnage was created to be a darker version of Venom — who was already kind of a dark version of Spider-Man. Many of Polygon’s readers are video game fans, so let me put this in a language they will instantly recognize:
Carnage was created in 1992 by writer David Michelinie (Iron Man, The Amazing Spider-Man), whose original plan was to kill Eddie Brock and give the symbiote a new host. But Eddie-Venom was a popular pairing — too popular for Marvel to like the idea of killing him off. Michelinie had to come up with a new host and a new symbiote all together.
Enter Cletus Kasady, who bonded with an offspring of Eddie’s symbiote when it was left in his cell. Eddie might be a human disaster, but he at least had a bit of a moral compass. Kasady, on the other hand, was a completely amoral serial killer.
Artist Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon) modeled Kasady after the Joker, and, for some extra pizazz, the symbiote bonded with him through a cut, rather than his orifices. This allowed it to merge with his blood, giving the composite being known as Carnage its characteristic red color.
Fun fact: Carnage and the Joker actually met once — back when DC and Marvel Comics were still in a corporate position to do the occasional crossover — in a Spider-Man/Batman story called, what else, Spider-Man and Batman. In it, after a brief bout of teamwork, the Joker declined to work with Carnage due to his lack of style and finesse in his crimes.
But mostly Carnage has spent his career fighting with Spider-Man and Venom, the latter of which he’ll undoubtedly do in any potential sequel to Venom.
But wait, there’s more
Theatergoers who stay through all of Venom’s credits will get an extra treat: An entirely different movie. That is, a full scene from Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, featuring Miles Morales and Peter Parker.
[Ed. note: The rest of this post contains what could be considered spoilers for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.]
It’s a scene that mixes humor — Miles slap-sticking his way across the city with an unconscious Peter Parker while trailed by police who think he’s toting a homeless person’s corpse — with sadness. And among all that, it gives us a bit of new information about Spider-Verse.
Miles Morales originated in the Ultimate Marvel Universe, a parallel earth to the main Marvel setting, where he was inspired to take up the mantle of Spider-Man after the death of that universe’s Peter Parker. In the post-credits scene of Venom, we find out that that is true in Miles’ Into the Spider-Verse home as well.
Miles visits the grave of Peter Parker, which is festooned with a city’s worth of flowers and Spider-Man memorabilia, to tearfully admit that he can’t do what Peter asked of him before he died — he’s not strong enough to be the new Spider-Man. Of course, just then, another universe’s Peter Parker shows up behind him, one we’re already familiar with from the movie’s most recent trailer.
From there, things go poorly, but we expect it’ll all end up with a happy ending once Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hits theaters on Dec. 14.