Spider-Man: No Way Home confirms Tom Hardy’s Venom isn’t part of the MCU’s future, and here’s why Sony’s big Venom 2 tease wasn’t paid off.
Warning: SPOILERS for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
One of Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s surprising post-credits scenes confirms that Tom Hardy’s Venom isn’t part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, giving him a strangely quick exit from the universe. Once Hardy starred in Venom in 2018, audiences became interested in seeing him face off with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Venom: Let There Be Carnage‘s post-credits showed Hardy head to the MCU, which seemingly teased this would happen in the future. Instead, Spider-Man: No Way Home moved him back to Sony’s universe, but the question remains: is Venom part of the MCU? The answer is no, but that’s only for now, as the Symbiote is loose in the MCU’s Earth-616.
Venom originally came to the MCU as part of the multiverse in Venom 2‘s post-credits. Doctor Strange’s botched spell in Spider-Man: No Way Home brought anyone who was aware Peter Parker is Spider-Man to the MCU, and the symbiote knew this through its hive mind. Instead of Hardy’s Venom making an appearance in the actual film, the continuation of this scene was saved for Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s post-credits. Eddie Brock is shown talking to a bartender who explains to him that this universe is filled with superheroes. Right as Eddie begins planning to make a trip to see Spider-Man, he’s sent back to his original universe.
The decision for Spider-Man: No Way Home to reverse Venom joining the MCU is quite surprising. It was only a few months prior to No Way Home’s release that audiences were teased with the potential for Holland’s Spider-Man and Hardy’s Venom to meet up. Instead of paying off this tease, Spider-Man: No Way Home immediately kicks Venom out of the MCU. This means that Venom: Let There Be Carnage‘s biggest tease won’t be fulfilled anytime soon. So is Venom part of the MCU, or is that brief stint over? And why would Sony and Marvel Studios work together to tease audiences with a crossover that doesn’t appear to be happening? It’s likely a matter of how complicated the contracts are for their partnership and the studios’ individual plans for their respective Marvel universes.
Why Is Venom Not In The MCU?
Why is Venom not in the MCU? The answers mainly boil down to licensing. Sony and Marvel Studios’ partnership is quite complicated in regards to how they share characters. Sony owns the movie rights to Spider-Man and his adjacent characters including Venom. While the studio is working with Marvel Studios on Holland’s Spidey, the likes of Venom, Morbius (Jared Leto), and Kraven the Hunter (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) exist in a separate universe. Sony’s MCU Spider-Man movies can borrow characters from Marvel like Iron Man, Nick Fury, or Doctor Strange, but the MCU is also technically borrowing Spider-Man. It is likely that the terms of Sony and Marvel’s current deal brought Venom to the MCU momentarily and make it impossible for him to be part of Spider-Man’s universe full-time.
Venom’s MCU exit might also be the result of Sony and Marvel realizing the complications that would come with permanently merging their shared universes. Marvel Studios already has its hands full with multiple movies and Disney+ shows every year, so figuring out how Sony’s villain films fit into the mix would be a huge task. Keeping them separate gives both universes a bit more freedom. Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s Venom scene makes it possible for Tom Hardy’s Lethal Protector to have his own adventures, but he also leaves a piece of the symbiote behind so Tom Holland’s Spider-Man could encounter a new version of Venom.
Why A Different Venom May Appear In The MCU
The Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credits scene may have ended hopes that Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock would join the MCU, but it still introduced a Symbiote to Earth-616. In Marvel Comics, Venom is an alias used by several different people wearing the symbiote, from Peter Parker’s high-school bully Flash Thompson to Mac Gargan, AKA the villainous Scorpion. It’s unlikely the unpopular Gargan edition will be the MCU’s Venom, but Flash Thompson is a possibility. He’s already a recurring side character in the MCU’s Spider-Man movies, comically played by Tony Revolori. Disney and Marvel Studios might be choosing to have a Flash Thompson Agent Venom for the MCU to distinguish their version from Sony’s (especially since Tom Hardy has confirmed he’ll be returning as Eddie Brock in Sony’s Venom 3).
The other option is that the MCU will use a different actor to portray Eddie Brock. The Symbiote could seek out Earth-616’s Eddie but find he’s different than the man it knows. After all, with Toby Maguire confirmed as a Peter Parker variant, Topher Grace’s controversial Eddie Brock from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 is now also MCU canon. The MCU could also have its own Eddie Brock – one entirely separate from Tom Hardy. Marvel Studios have plenty of options for Venom since Spider-Man: No Way Home, including a new Eddie Brock or a Venom that isn’t Eddie Brock at all. What’s more, since Tom Hardy did the voice of both Eddie and the Symbiote in Venom, the MCU could even keep him on as a voice actor for the alien side of the dual-minded antihero without using his likeness.
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