I’m Mad At Venom 3 For Making The Best Spider-Man 4 Story Less Likely

Tom Holland with the Black Suit Spider-Man

3 years ago, Spider-Man No Way Home set up something Venom fans have wanted since Tom Hardy’s symbiote debuted in 2018: an MCU Spider-Man crossover with Venom. Sadly, it’s hard not to feel that Venom: The Last Stand has officially killed the chance of that setup being paid off. As it stands – and without a twist of some kind – Venom: The Last Stand‘s trailer ends all hope that No Way Home‘s post-credits scene was actually leading to a crossover with the MCU’s Spider-Man.

I’ve enjoyed Tom Hardy’s Venom movies immensely: I don’t believe the first Venom movie’s eye-watering box office performance was an anomaly (though I don’t believe it would happen again), and anyone who doesn’t enjoy this franchise’s special brand of silliness needs more fun in their lives. But even with that enjoyment, it’s been impossible not to look forward to the surely inevitable moment he’d meet Spider-Man. Any Spider-Man, really. In that respect, No Way Home‘s Venom crossover tease was irresistible. If it’s over – for now – it’s devastating.

Venom: The Last Dance All But Kills The Spider-Man 4 Venom Story

Spider-Man No Way Home mid credits scene Venom symbiote

You may read some commentary online suggesting that the symbiote fragment that Chiwetel Ejiofor captures in the Venom 3 trailer is separate to the one left in the MCU. This is, unfortunately, self-serving delusion that requires us to ignore the fact that the trailer goes out of its way to establish visual cues that they are the same piece. There’s even some thinking that Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character can travel the multiverse, despite the fact that that would cause a pretty big Ejiofor-based casting paradox.

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Karl Mordo in the first two Doctor Strange movies in the MCU.

The shot of Ejiofor’s new Marvel character – rumored to be comics character Orwell Taylor, who heads up the symbiote-hunting group The Jury – picking up the symbiote glob is very deliberate. There is no way that would be included in the trailer without the intention of closing the No Way Home cliffhanger. Without that firm confirmation, the promise that this is Venom’s “last stand” would be hollow. Everything there is intentional.

Like it or not (and I don’t, actually), the piece of Venom left in the mainline MCU never actually made any sense. Both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man variants and the villains were sent back to their own universes in No Way Home‘s ending. That was definitive. Inarguable. So to immediately establish a caveat that left open such a gaping loophole was sloppy writing for the sake of a fan-baiting set-up.

Would I have happily taken that set-up as a means to cross Venom over with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker? Absolutely. This is the Sony Spider-Verse we’re talking about: continuity is a vague wisp that only matters when it serves the plot. You’d be foolish to make the symbiote loophole the hill you die on when Michael Keaton’s Vulture appeared in Morbius with no logical explanation other than “it’s the multiverse, anything is possible.”

Venom Was Perfectly Set Up For Spider-Man 4

Tom Holland as Peter Parker crying on a rooftop in Spider-Man: No Way Home

The symbiote remnant left in the bar in No Way Home‘s post-credits scene was obviously the most tangible hint to a Venom storyline in Spider-Man 4 (or beyond), but it wasn’t the only reason the story would have worked. It’s easy to think that the upcoming release of Avengers: Secret War would have mirrored the comics and seen the debut of Spidey’s peak-cool black costume, but that too is overly simplistic thinking.

More crucial in the Venom’s story genesis is how No Way Home‘s tragic ending leaves Peter Parker. He is alone, isolated by Doctor Strange’s spell that made everyone forget his identity. He has lost not only Aunt May after her death, but the rest of his found family – two father figures in Tony Stark and Happy Hogan, a brother in Ned Leeds, and the love of his young life, in Zendaya’s MJ. That background is crucial when you consider that the Klyntar symbiote amplifies its hosts’ personality.

A happy, heroic Peter Parker would make Venom heroic – as Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock does, to a certain degree – but a miserable, isolated Peter Parker is exactly what we need for real conflict. This was always the best time for Venom to debut in the MCU, rather than some showy crossover cameo in Secret Wars, and the fact that we might not get it is upsetting. I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to build on that story-telling, frankly.

Why Venom 3’s Symbiote Fragment Has Proved So Controversial

While Sony’s marketing team no doubt identified the Venomized horse and Rhys Ifans’ playful cameo as the real flashpoint moments of the trailer. In a world where moments become memes and are scrutinized out of context endlessly, those are the flashiest ones, without doubt. But the symbiote fragment has very quickly taken over both in the fandom’s discourse.

It’s just confusing enough to inspire theories and speculation. So far, these have included the idea of Sony retconning the moment to keep Venom out of the MCU, Ejiofor playing a Mordo variant, or that it’s just another piece of Venom. In the vacuum left by confirmation, all speculation becomes possible. Or almost all: there’s absolutely no way Mordo is in The Last Dance.

With the specter of Vulture’s continuity-breaking Morbius appearance, and Sony’s apparently gleeful abandon for continuity (which has been overblown), it shouldn’t be a surprise that this has become an emotional subject. What is actually a smart resolution to a plot-hole, which sets up what should be an exciting new villain for Chiwetel Ejiofor has become bad-faith evidence of yet more sloppy story-telling. It’s not true, but it’s hard to argue that the confusion around Venom: The Last Stand is hard to understand.

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