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"And you thought 'Lethal Protector' was a sh** name!" One of the lingering questions left by Spider-Man: No Way Home is why Eddie Brock and Venom (both of them played by Tom Hardy) were transported into the Marvel Cinematic Universe during the mid-credits scene of Venom: Let There There Be Carnage if they live in a world without Spider-Man.
As we learn, Doctor Strange's botched spell only brought in characters who knew that Peter Parker and Spider-Man were the same person. So, what's the deal? According to No Way Home co-writer Chris McKenna, it all comes down to what Venom says about his species' "hive knowledge across universes" that could fry Eddie's tiny human brain. “The idea is that the Symbiote has knowledge of other universes," McKenna explained to Variety. "Buried in his brain is some knowledge of that connection."
While Carnage seemed to carry the promise of a Hardy-Holland showdown in No Way Home, that didn't end up being the case, though it was "definitely discussed," McKenna and his co-writer Erik Sommers confirmed.
In another mid-credits sequence (which was apparently directed by Jon Watts), we see that Eddie and his alien parasite have been at a Mexican resort this entire time, knocking back alcoholic beverages on the beach as they try to wrap their head around a world fully populated with super-powered individuals. Just as Mr. Brock makes the decision to go to New York and speak with Spider-Man, he's transported back to his home dimension, leaving a bit of Symbiote goop behind. The message couldn't have been clearer: Hardy's version will continue to remain separate while the MCU gets its own iteration of Venom.
Sadly, the MCU's Peter Parker never got to face off with San Francisco's man-eating Lethal Protector, who was reportedly just one of several multiversal characters who didn't end up making the cut. “We went down different roads with different characters that just didn’t fit,” McKenna added. “We can’t get into the details of that because it might be the kind of thing where they’ll find a way to explore those ideas. So I’d hate to spoil anything, because I think we had a lot of fun.”
The idea of not wanting the story to get mired in callback-after-callback was very important to the screenwriting duo. They weren't trying to make Spider-Man Fan Service: The Movie, which required a lot of restraint in reigning in the fanboy desire to bring back every single Spidey villain and ally ever put to the silver screen.
“The most important thing is this wasn’t just going to be a bunch of fan service. It wasn’t going to be just curtain calls for everybody,” McKenna finished. “We had to figure out a way that this [movie] told the story of this Peter Parker right now, organically coming off of where we left the last movie. That was always our north star. Yeah, it’s a big fun idea. Let’s not forget Peter. You can’t get lost in the mix. It has to be his emotional journey.”
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters everywhere.