With the MCU is continuing to expand in its attempts at global box office dominance with the upcoming Phase Four, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the recent Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer contained a reference to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
Easy to miss and only taking up a few seconds of screen time, the reference can be seen in the hands of Detective Mulligan - played by the incredibly talented Stephen Graham. The headline reads “Avengers lose to Nightmare”. Nightmare will reportedly be the primary villain in the upcoming Doctor Stranger in the Multiverse of Madness film.
Nightmare is rumoured to be the overarching villain for MCU’s fourth phase, which makes this reference quite exciting. If not, he might at least play an important role in the rumoured Spider-verse crossover and, of course, Doctor Strange andtheMultiverse of Madness.
What does this mean for Venom?
The rumoured link is interesting, but we can’t help but wonder, what does this mean for Venom? Director Andy Serkis has already been quick to downplay the proposed link, stating that the Venom films exist outside of the MCU.
Heck, we’ve not even seen Spider-Man in the Venom films so far. The wall-crawler is a character who was pivotal in Venom's origin story. While there will be references to a Spider-Man, we are unlikely to see the wall crawler in action.
It’s unlikely we will see a connection straight away. However, Serkis could brush the links off as easter eggs now, but use the links in the future.
There’s an interesting additional layer to a potential Venom MCU appearance. Sony’s and Marvel’s partnership is one that currently includes Spider-Man. With that said, there’s no reason the two giants couldn't add Venom as part of that deal.
A fragile relationship
There is cause for concern with any potential Venom and Sony properties involvement with the MCU. As we’ve seen in the past, it doesn't take a lot for these giant corporations to fall out with one another. Both companies could argue over intellectual property rights, or creative decisions made in regards to certain characters.
Marvel’s Netflix shows like The Punisher and Jessica Jones were positively received by fans. Unfortunately, the relationship between Netflix and Disney broke down in 2018, which placed the shows on the chopping block. We’d hate to see a joint venture by Sony and Marvel lead to Venom also facing the axe.
Sony also doesn’t have the rights to The Avengers or the MCU, so we certainly won’t see anything more than easter eggs in the Venom movie. This doesn’t mean it can’t work the other way though, with Venom potentially appearing in phase four or even phase five of the MCU.
There’s also the worry that Venom’s involvement in the MCU could further bloat the packed roster of characters. Therefore, it’s difficult to see how Venom, as half symbiotic villain and anti-hero, could play into the power dynamics of the MCU. Would he help humanity or simply hinder the cast of heroes while assisting the likes of Nightmare?
A break from the MCU
Eddie Brock and Venom were always one of the most interesting characters in the Spider-Man universe. The weird mix between villainous symbiotic alien and tortured anti-hero Eddie Brock was engaging. Especially when you consider that the world of Spider-Man was very black and white.
While an MCU appearance creates interesting dynamics, a dedicated Venom universe provides more room to better explore the character. Better yet, existing in its own universe allows Venom to expand without needing to fit into the densely packed and tight lore of the MCU.