There’s something unprecedented going on at Sony Pictures regarding the construction of its superhero universe. There are direct connections to the character of Spider-Man being included in movies Sony is making, though no real indication that the wallcrawler is set to show up. This started with the trailer for Jared Leto’s Morbius, which featured a graffiti sketch of Spider-Man on a wall that Leto’s character walked past. And the latest trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage worked in a number of blatant Spider-Man nods that suggest a crossover of some sorts that may happen down the line.
The trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage has been included above, in case you haven’t yet seen it. Once you’ve viewed it, you can start dissecting the obvious Spider-Man references that have been included here, starting with:
The Daily Bugle
So, a detective is seen reading a newspaper. And the newspaper in question is The Daily Bugle, the paper that employs Peter Parker… aka, the amazing Spider-Man. It also employed Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), back when that character was in New York City. We’ve never seen Brock in Manhattan in this Venom universe, so we don’t know if that ever happened.
But in the original Venom, the astronaut who brought the alien symbiote back from space was John Jameson. And in Spider-Man mythology, John Jameson is the son of J. Jonah Jameson, who is the publisher of The Daily Bugle. So is there a J. Jonah in this world? And does Spider-Man work for him? (It’s also being reported that if you freeze frame the trailer as the detective crumples up the paper, you can see a headline that mentions The Avengers, but that’s a whole different can or worms to open…)
Here’s where things start to get really interesting. Ravencroft Institute is featured prominently in the Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer. We have seen that location on screen before. It was showcased in Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, starring Andrew Garfield. That was where Jaime Foxx’s Electro was taken and held captive for study after turning into a super-villain. And we see other people, including Naomie Harris’ mysterious character, caged at Ravencroft, in a similar fashion.
Granted, Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane was featured in multiple Marvel Comics (Spider-Man titles, primarily), so it could just be a comic reference. However, considering the number of rumors swirling around Andrew Garfield possibly returning to the role of Spider-Man in the MCU’s upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home, what are the chances that Garfield’s being set up to return to his Amazing world, just in the Venom movies?
A Squashed Spider
This one’s a little on the nose, but any time a Venom trailer includes a visual reference of a spider, it’s worth documenting. So far, the Venom universe being created at Sony isn’t linking the antihero’s origin to Peter Parker, the way that it played out in the comic books. Instead, the symbiote comes to Earth through other means, and learns how to bond with Eddie Brock. Still, a Venom world without Spider-Man seems odd, and these clues cement some links between Venom and Spidey, maybe further down the line.
The spider gag in this trailer stood out to me because of the words uttered by Carnage (Woody Harrelson) as the bug appeared. He says:
This likely is a reference to Venom as the rescuer. But killing a spider right after that line is delivered points more to Spider-Man, for me, because Venom’s origin with Eddie has no link to a spider. So why include that shot after that line?
All of these clues are pointing to something, but I can’t yet figure out what it is. Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man’s villains, which is why they are creating movies based on Venom and Morbius (and maybe Kraven the Hunter). But for the time being, they are lending Spider-Man to Marvel and collaborating on movies for the MCU. Is this all groundwork that’s being laid for when they get Spider-Man back, and can work him into these films? It’s very possible, but would be years away if if ever were to happen.
Sony’s Spidey universe expands when Venom: Let There Be Carnage opens only in theaters on September 24. Jared Leto’s Morbius eventually follows on January 28, 2022. And the next time we will see Spider-Man on screen, Tom Holland will play him in Spider-Man: No Way Home, arriving in theaters on December 17.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.