It was a dark time for Marvel fans back in 2019 when the co-production deal between Sony Pictures and Disney that allowed Spider-Man (the cinematic rights of which was owned by Sony) to operate in the Marvel Cinematic Universe came within a breath of completely falling apart. As Sony was building up its own cinematic universe featuring Spidey-related characters, the studio would just have yanked Tom Holland’s web-slinging hero out of the MCU, the latter’s continuity be damned. Luckily though, a new deal was struck between Sony and Disney and everybody breathed a sigh of relief.
While the details of this second arrangement were never overtly made public, it quickly appeared that a new clause would see upcoming films set in the SPUMC (that’s the hilariously abbreviated Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, you juveniles) integrating aspects of the MCU into it. We saw this when the trailer for Morbius included graffiti of Holland’s Spider-Man referencing the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, while Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes/Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming also popped up. The consensus thinking was that Sony would be allowed to have its Spidey-related films play in a corner of the MCU where they could brush up against the Spider-Man movies, but not the wider MCU where the rest of Marvel’s Avengers did their thing.
And so when the first trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage dropped earlier this week, I kept my eyes peeled for more connections to the MCU to be revealed. And there were basically none. Well, there was one but only kinda, which we’ll get to. So what gives? Let There Be Carnage is the sequel to 2018’s Venom, which is the frontrunner and flagship title in the SPUMC *giggle*, so you would think that Sony would definitely want it in the MCU, even a little corner of it. Thanks to a post-credits scene to Venom, we know it already exists within the multiverse of Sony’s animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so why not just take it one step further and add in extra links? Especially since the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home appears to be introducing a broader multiverse touching on all previous Spider-Man movie franchises.
Well, according to what director Andy Serkis told IGN, those links are there, but they’re more just little nods and Easter Eggs as Hardy’s Venom has never even heard of Spider-Man… for now.
Obviously, there are links between Venom and Spider-Man and the Marvel Universe and the Spider-Man story. We’re treating this very much as it’s his own world. The Venom story is his own world. There are nods and little moments [like the shot of the newspaper the Daily Bugle], of course, but on the whole he’s unaware. They are unaware, at this point, of other characters like Spider-Man. So, that’s the way we’ve chosen to play this particular episode of the movie, but, well, we’ll wait and see. We’ll see what little things you can pick out of it.
The Daily Bugle newspaper mentioned was actually something I missed in my write-up of the trailer, much to my embarrassment. In Marvel Comics as well as Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy featuring Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, The Daily Bugle was the newspaper where Spidey worked as Peter Parker, run by blustery editor J. Jonah Jameson (played in the movies by J.K. Simmons). The newspaper in the Let There Be Carnage trailer even uses the exact same title treatment as the one in the Raimi trilogy. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe though, The Daily Bugle is a video blog hosted by Jameson… who, in a surprise twist at the end of Far From Home, was once again played by Simmons, though this was a different version of the character.
So based on that evidence and Serkis’ comments, it would almost seem definitive that Venom: Let There Be Carnage is not only not set in the MCU, but is actually separate from Morbius as well. But it’s that “we’ll wait and see” bit from Serkis that has me thinking that Sony may just make last minute tweaks or hold back some surprises. Remember, Holland was originally going to cameo as Peter Parker in the first Venom film before that plan was scrapped at the eleventh hour, so there’s no reason why the reverse couldn’t happen here.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is scheduled for release on 20 September 2021, with Spider-Man: No Way Home swinging into cinemas on 17 December 2021 and Morbius following on 28 January 2022.
Last Updated: May 12, 2021