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We...are Venom. After more than a year of theatrical delays related to the current state of the world, Sony Pictures' highly-anticipated Venom sequel — subtitled Let There Be Carnage — is finally all primed to bond with the big screen at the top of October. Tom Hardy returns as investigative journalist Eddie Brock, who is now the best friend and roommate of an alien parasite that allows him to mete out vigilante justice as San Francisco's self-appointed "Lethal Protector."
But what happens when a convicted serial killer gets his very own Symbiote that's even more bloodthirsty? Well, let's just say it ain't good.
Head below for a quick refresher guide on everything you need to know before Venom: Let There Be Carnage opens wide...
When is it out?
The odyssey of Let There Be Carnage's release date is well-chronicled. It was originally scheduled to hit theaters in early October of 2020, but that never happened due to a little novel pathogen known as COVID-19. You might have heard of it. As a result, Sony kicked the sequel down the calendar several times after that, eventually landing on Friday, Sep. 24.
This late September date stuck for awhile...until the more transmissible delta variant reared its ugly head and put yet another damper on the theater-going experience. Worried about delta's potential negative impact on box office sales, Sony postponed Let There Be Carnage once again to Friday, Oct. 15. But the story doesn't end there. Once Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings debuted to almost $100 million in North America over the Labor Day weekend, Sony decided to pivot and move the sequel's release up by two weeks to Friday, Oct. 1.
How you can watch
Let There Be Carnage will be a theatrical exclusive. There was no way it was going to hit streaming (or receive a hybrid rollout akin to what Warner Bros. has done with day-and-date) after the first Venom made nearly $900 million at the global box office. It's the reason why Sony has delayed the follow-up again and again — they want to make sure the market is right for another financial success.
"I don't think we'll be in the day-and-date release business," Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra said last December. "I think the economic model for very big budget movies require the windows that are in the flow now, and will continue with that. I think every film released will have an individual negotiation with the exhibitors, but look, we think a 30-day window is probably the best. It'll allow us to advertise our marketing over the two windows, theatrical and home entertainment. So we think that's the way to go."
Tickets are currently on sale for Let There Be Carnage. Like its predecessor, the movie is rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of violence and action, some strong language, disturbing material, and suggestive references."
Who's in it?
As mentioned previously, Tom Hardy is back as the titular antihero (playing both Eddie and Venom). In addition to being the top-billed cast member, Hardy also serves as a producer with a story credit to boot. After the events of the last movie, Eddie and Venom enjoy an Odd Couple-type relationship strained to its absolute breaking point. Venom is hungry for human flesh, but Eddie won't let the alien eat just anyone; he can only consume bad guys.
Other returning faces include Michelle Williams as Anne Weying (Eddie's ex-girlfriend) and Reid Scott as Doctor Dan Lewis (Anne's fiancé). Woody Harrelson, who made a small cameo during a mid-credits scene in the first Venom is bumped up to a regular cast member as Cletus Kasady, an unhinged murderer on death row who becomes even more dangerous when he bonds with a Symbiote named Carnage.
But Kasady — who immediately stands out in a crowd thanks to his flaming red hair — isn't the only baddie. Bond alum Naomie Harris will also hit the scene as Frances Barrison, aka Shriek (you can probably guess what her power is).
“She's a damaged soul and she really has suffered in her childhood, but there is a real vulnerability about her, and she's in a lot of pain… She's been living in isolation for years, years and years,” director Andy Serkis explained to IGN. “With all of these characters, what's so beautifully drawn about them is that they're multi-faceted, they're totally truthful and believable, and yet ... She's dangerous too and I think she has her own sense of fairness and being just, and I think when that line is crossed, then you see a very, very dangerous, dark side to her, and that's what we wanted to do with the character.”
Stephen Graham (The Irishman) plays another newcomer, a cop by the name of Patrick Mulligan. In the comics, Mulligan gets his own Symbiote that went by the moniker of Toxin. Similar to Eddie, Mulligan used Toxin to fight cime, but eventually died, forcing his Symbiote to seek refuge in Brock's body.
Killing Eve's Sean Delaney rounds out the principal cast in a mystery role. "In terms of what I play in it, I can't say anything about it," he told Insider last spring.
Who made it?
Given that Venom director Ruben Fleischer was busy making Zombieland: Double Tap, motion capture maven Andy Serkis stepped in to helm Let There Be Carnage. The film wrapped production prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and Serkis shared that he was deep into the editing process during lockdown last May.
Kelly Marcel, who co-wrote the first film alongside Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg, went solo for the sequel. The story upon which the screenplay is based came from Marcel and Hardy. "We spent months breaking the story together on FaceTime, riffing on ideas, seeing what worked, seeing what didn’t," Marcel said in early July. "Then I took everything we spoke about and holed up somewhere for three months quietly, knocking out a script."
Hardy serves as a producer with Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, Amy Pascal, Kelly Marcel, and Hutch Parker. Barry Waldman, Jonathan Cavendish, and Ruben Fleischer are executive producers.
The rest of the folks behind-the-camera are Robert Richardson, ASC (director of photography); Oliver Scholl (production designer); Maryann Brandon, ACE and Stan Salfas, ACE (co-editors); Sheena Duggal (VFX supervisor); Joanna Eatwell (costume designer); and Marco Beltrami (composer).
To Spidey or not to Spidey?
The big question of the hour: Are the Venom films set in the same continuity as the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
"Everyone wants to know when Venom is going to meet Spider-Man, personally, it's not going to happen. I'm kidding. It's going to happen, the question is when. We don't want to rush it," Serkis told IGN this month.
Just don't expect Tom Holland to team up with Eddie anytime soon. "Wait until you see this next Venom. You don’t miss Spider-Man," Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group President Sanford Panitch said in May of this year.
However, all of this could change in Spider-Man: No Way Home (out Dec. 17), which is set to bust the multiverse wide open. Moreover, Morbius (out in early 2022) has already confirmed an appearance from Michael Keaton's Spider-Man: Homecoming villain, Adrien Toomes/Vulture, making it very unlikely that Eddie Brock will remain sequestered from the rest of the group for much longer.
Sony is currently hyping up Let There Be Carnage's post-credits scene on social media, leading many fans to speculate that it involves either a reference or cameo to Holland's iteration of Peter Parker.