Venom: Let There Be Carnage

About Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Film

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a 2021 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Venom, produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel. Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is the second film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe and the sequel to Venom (2018). The film was directed by Andy Serkis from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel, based on a story she wrote with Tom Hardy, who stars as Eddie Brock and Venom alongside Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, and Woody Harrelson. In the film, Eddie and the alien symbiote Venom must face serial killer Cletus Kasady (Harrelson) after he becomes the host of an offshoot of Venom named Carnage.

Venom was intended by Sony to be the start of a new shared universe, and plans for a sequel began during production on the first film. Harrelson was cast to make a brief appearance as Cletus at the end of Venom, with the intention of him becoming the villain Carnage in the sequel. Official work on the sequel began in January 2019, with Hardy and Harrelson confirmed to return along with Marcel as writer. Serkis was hired as director that August, partly due to his experience working with CGI and motion capture technology, which was an important part of portraying Venom and Carnage in the film. Filming took place at Leavesden Studios in England from November 2019 to February 2020, with additional filming in San Francisco in February. The title was announced in April 2020. Marco Beltrami was hired to compose the film’s score, replacing Ludwig Göransson from the previous film.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage premiered in London on September 14, 2021, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 1, after multiple delays from an initial October 2020 date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film received mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success, grossing $506.9 million worldwide and becoming the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2021. A third Venom film is scheduled for release on November 8, 2024.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Film


In 1996, a young Cletus Kasady watches helplessly as his lover, Frances Barrison, is taken away from St. Estes Home for Unwanted Children to the Ravencroft Institute. On the way, Frances uses her sonic scream powers to attack young police officer Patrick Mulligan. Mulligan shoots Frances in the eye and suffers an injury to his ear due to her scream. Unbeknownst to Mulligan, who believes he killed her, Frances is still taken to Ravencroft, where her abilities are restricted.

In the present day, Mulligan is now a detective and asks journalist Eddie Brock to speak to serial killer Cletus in San Quentin State Prison, as Cletus refuses to talk to anyone other than Eddie. After the visit, Eddie’s alien symbiote Venom deduces where Cletus has hidden the bodies of his victims, which gives Eddie a considerable career boost. Eddie is contacted by his ex-fiancée Anne Weying, who tells him that she is now engaged to Dr. Dan Lewis, to Venom’s displeasure. Cletus, who has been found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to death by lethal injection, invites Eddie to attend his execution. Eddie speaks with Cletus, who insults Eddie, provoking Venom to attack Cletus. Cletus bites Eddie’s hand and ingests a small part of the symbiote. Back home, Venom has an argument with Eddie about wanting more freedom to eat criminals, and the symbiote decides to leave Eddie’s body and go off on its own.

As Cletus’s execution begins, a red symbiote emerges and blocks the injection. Named Carnage, it goes on a violent rampage through the prison, freeing inmates and killing guards. Carnage agrees to help Cletus break Frances out of Ravencroft in exchange for Cletus’s help eliminating Eddie and Venom. Mulligan visits Eddie at home and warns him about the situation. At Ravencroft, Cletus frees Frances, and they travel to the St. Estes children’s home to burn it down. Mulligan grows suspicious of Eddie and arrests him. Eddie contacts Anne as his lawyer and reveals that Venom has separated from him. As Venom makes his way through San Francisco by hopping from body to body, Anne finds him bonded to Mrs. Chen and convinces him to forgive Eddie. Venom reunites with Eddie, and they escape custody. Cletus takes Mulligan hostage, and Frances captures Anne, taking them both to Grace Cathedral where Cletus and Frances plan to get married.

Eddie and Venom arrive to fight Carnage, while Frances seemingly kills Mulligan by hanging him with a chain. Venom is overpowered by Carnage but provokes Frances into using her powers to separate Carnage and Cletus. Venom devours Carnage and kills Cletus, while the collapsing cathedral crushes Frances. Mulligan is revealed to be alive, and his eyes glow blue. Eddie and Venom, now fugitives, decide to take a vacation while they ponder their next steps.

In a mid-credits scene, as Venom tells Eddie about the symbiotes’ knowledge of other universes, a blinding light suddenly transports them from their hotel room to another room where they watch J. Jonah Jameson talking about Spider-Man’s revealed identity as Peter Parker on television.


  • Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock / Venom:
    An investigative journalist who is the host of an alien symbiote, Venom, that imbues him with superhuman abilities. Director Andy Serkis described Eddie and Venom’s relationship as being in the “Odd Couple stage” in the film, with Venom trapped in Eddie’s body and just wanting to be the “Lethal Protector” which distracts Eddie from work and putting his life back together.
  • Michelle Williams as Anne Weying: A defense attorney and Eddie’s ex-fiancée, who briefly hosts Venom.
  • Naomie Harris as Frances Barrison / Shriek:
    Cletus’ lover who can create sonic screams. Serkis described her as a damaged soul who has been living in isolation and has a dark side to her. Olumide Olorunfemi portrays a young Frances.
  • Reid Scott as Dan Lewis: A doctor and Anne’s fiancé.
  • Stephen Graham as Patrick Mulligan: A detective hoping to use Eddie to find the remains of Cletus’ murder victims. Sean Delaney portrays a young Mulligan.
  • Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady / Carnage:
    A psychotic serial killer who becomes the host of Venom’s spawn, Carnage. While in prison, Cletus refuses to talk with anyone besides Eddie, who he considers to be a kindred spirit. Cletus looks different compared to his appearance in the mid-credits scene of Venom, which Serkis said indicates the passage of time between films; the character’s hair was changed for the sequel so it would not be distracting to the audience, coupled with Harrelson’s dislike for the earlier hairstyle and preference for a more realistic one. Harrelson was initially reluctant to provide the voice for Carnage and wanted Serkis to perform it instead, but Serkis encouraged him to find the right tone for the character. Jack Bandeira portrays a young Cletus.


During the long development of the 2018 film Venom, the character Carnage was expected to appear as an antagonist. During pre-production on that film, the creative team decided not to include the character so they could focus on introducing the protagonists, Eddie Brock and Venom. Director Ruben Fleischer felt that leaving Venom’s most formidable villain for a sequel would give the franchise a place to go and would be a natural next step, so Carnage’s alter ego, Cletus Kasady, was introduced in a mid-credits scene at the end of the first film with the intention of featuring him in a sequel. Fleischer wanted to cast Woody Harrelson in the role, feeling there was a natural connection between the character and Harrelson’s performance in Natural Born Killers (1994), and asked Harrelson while the pair were discussing a sequel to their film Zombieland (2009). After meeting with Fleischer and Tom Hardy—who portrays Eddie and Venom—for dinner, Harrelson agreed to take on the part. Harrelson described his decision as a roll of the dice since he was unable to read a script for the sequel before signing on to the first film. In August 2018, ahead of Venoms release, Hardy confirmed that he had signed on to star in two sequels. At the end of November 2018, Sony gave an October 2, 2020, release date to an untitled Marvel sequel that was believed to be Venom 2, which would place the film in the same release timeframe as the first Venom; box office analysts believed Venom had been successful enough to guarantee a sequel would be made.

Venom writer Jeff Pinkner confirmed in December 2018 that a sequel was happening, but he was not involved in writing it. Fleischer reiterated this, saying that he could not discuss a sequel but he saw the first film as Eddie and Venom “coming together. So there’s a natural evolution from that to [a sequel where it is] like, okay, now what’s it like to live together? It’s like a bromantic sort of relationship.” In January, Kelly Marcel signed a “significant” deal with Sony to write and produce the sequel after also working on the first film’s script. This marked the official beginning of work on the film for the studio, and was revealed alongside confirmation of Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Amy Pascal returning as producers. Hardy and Harrelson were also expected to return for the sequel, along with Michelle Williams in the role of Eddie’s ex-fiancée Anne Weying. No director was confirmed, with Sony considering replacing Fleischer due to his commitments to Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), though he still intended to be involved in Venom 2. By the end of July 2019, Sony hoped for filming to begin that November and had met with several candidates to replace Fleischer as director since he was still completing work on Double Tap; directors the studio met with include Andy Serkis, Travis Knight, and Rupert Wyatt. Sony was also interested in Rupert Sanders directing the film, but that “didn’t work out”. Serkis confirmed at the start of August that he had discussed the project with Sony and it was “potentially something that might happen”.

Serkis was officially hired to direct the film in early August 2019, partly due to his experience working with CGI and motion-capture technology as both an actor and director. Soon after his hiring, Serkis said Hardy had been working closely with Marcel on the screenplay which was “centered around their take”; Marcel explained that she and Hardy spent months developing ideas for the film, which is the first time he received a story credit on a project, before she then spent three months writing the screenplay herself. Fleischer said he was happy to let Serkis take over the franchise following the negative critical reaction that the first film received, believing reviewers had unfairly treated the “crowdpleasing movie”, potentially due to biases against Sony and towards Marvel Studios’ rival superhero films. By the time Serkis was hired, Hutch Parker had joined the sequel as a producer. A friend of Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman, Parker previously served as a producer for several Marvel-based films produced by 20th Century Fox.


October 1, 2021

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