“Let There Be Carnage” may be the slightly clunky subtitle of the upcoming Venom sequel, but it may as well also be the description go that film’s original planned release. Before Tom Hardy even debuted on-screen in 2018 as the titular antihero as part of Sony’s plans for a cinematic universe based on Spider-Man characters but without Spider-Man in it, a sequel was already in production with Woody Harrelson secretly added into the film’s credits scene as Cletus Kasidy, the psychotic killer turned symbiote supervillain Carnage beloved by comic book fans for years.
Just three months after the release of Venom (which was a huge surprise box office hit for Sony, earning $856 million worldwide despite very mixed critical reception), Let There Be Carnage went into pre-production with Hardy back as reporter/alien symbiote host Eddie Brock but with Andy “For Once I’m Not Doing Mo-Cap” Serkis replacing original director Ruben Fleischer, working off a script by Kelly Marcel (who co-wrote the previous film but is now flying solo). In November 2019, principal photography began and everything was all wrapped up by February 2020, ready for an October 2020 release. And then the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Like so many film productions out there, the next saw Sony having to constantly move the goalposts as cinemas closed then opened then closed again, etc. in the face of the pandemic. But as we recently saw, some normalcy is starting to return to the film industry and studios are starting to lock down theatrical release dates again. Marvel Studios made a big show of it last week, and now it’s Sony’s turn as the studio has released the first trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage which doesn’t just reveal the film’s new official theatrical release date of 24 September, but also gives us our first full look at Woody Harrelson’s Carnage!
Firstly, thank the gods that Serkis decided to ditch the horribly fake Li’l Annie wig that they stuck Harrelson in in his brief scene in Venom. Now he actually looks the part of a creepy killer and not just a creep. Secondly, PHWAOR CARNAGE LOOKS GREAT! That’s a fantastic design that almost certainly is pulling from the comic book art of Clayton Crain, arguably the most well-known modern Venom and Carnage comic book artist.
As for the movie itself…. While Venom definitely had its fanbase, as those box office numbers clearly attest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. I felt that Fleischer’s film absolutely nailed some aspects (Eddie’s chemistry with Venom, the symbiote action, the design of Venom itself) but totally flubbed other aspects (both slow and rushed pacing, massive plot holes, painfully generic villain). I can place a lot of those issues though on that age-old problem of doing origin movies. Now that the obligatory setup and worldbuilding for Eddie Brock/Venom is out of the way, we can finally just go have fun with the characters instead of slogging through an hour of preamble. This is why so many other second entries in comic book movie sequels are superior to their progenitors and I’m hoping that the same applies here.
One interesting tidbit though is that this trailer is completely devoid of any hints as to a link with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanks to a new reworked deal that kept Spider-Man in the MCU, we know that Sony will now be allowed to have their films set in a corner of the same universe and even reference Spidey-related events. We saw this in the first few looks at the Jared Leto-led Morbius. Similarly, I would have assumed there would be something very overt here, as Sony had even originally planned for Spider-Man actor Tom Holland to show up in the first Venom movie before Marvel had them can that cameo. And yet, there’s no Easter Egg here that I can see even though I’ve rewatched the trailer about four times now. If you folks can pick up something that my eyeballs can’t, sound off in the comments below.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage also star Michelle Williams, Reid Scott, Naomie Harris, and Stephen Graham. It is scheduled for release in theaters on 24 September 2021.
Last Updated: May 11, 2021