If this year’s SDCC was notable for anything, it was for an overall lack of Marvel coverage. Other than some panels for Season 2 of Iron Fist, and the announcement that Marvel comics would be bringing back the Uncanny X-Men, it fell to Sony’s Venom movie to do the bulk of the heavy lifting for the comic book company. But if that sounds disappointing though, it really isn’t, because some of the details revealed by the assembled cast and crew have fueled speculation Venom has been created in order to bridge the gap between the Spider-Verse and the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Venom panel consisted of the movie’s director, Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), alongside stars Tom Hardy (Dunkirk) and Riz Ahmed (Rogue One). It was British actor Ahmed whose comments caused the most excitement amongst the assembled fans and journalists. In the film, Ahmed plays primary antagonist Dr. Carlton Drake, who goes on to bond with a rival symbiote to become the villain known as Riot.
Whilst describing Drake’s primary motivations and endgame to the audience, Ahmed emphasized his character’s good (if not misguided) intentions. With humanity poised on the brink of an environmental and ecological collapse, Drake sees the Venom symbiotes as a way to speed up human evolution, in order for mankind to survive the post-apocalyptic society they now inhabit.
It was these comments that whipped fans up into a frenzy. If the idea of doing bad things to ensure the overall survival of the species sounds familiar for a Marvel villain, then it should. Because essentially this is exactly what Thanos was doing over in the MCU. And the fact that the society of the first official Spider-verse movie is in chaos after an unspecified extinction event is also very exciting.
Because who’s to say that the event in question wasn’t The Snap?
As much as everybody over at Marvel is going to great pains to put out the message that Venom isn’t an MCU movie, the truth is that the villain can’t really exist without his opposite number, Spider-Man. There is simply no way that Venom, Morbius, Silk and Silver Sable movies will effectively marry up together without Peter Parker acting as the glue that binds them all together. And Peter Parker is currently a part of the MCU.
Tom Holland has gone on record in recent weeks saying he ultimately wanted to see the two characters face off against each other, and this is something that Tom Hardy echoed during the SDCC panel. It’s inevitable that this is something that is going to happen in the future, and simply nobody is talking about a recast or reboot of the character, so either the events of Avengers 4 will open the possibility of dimension hopping for Spider-Man (Which puts a whole new spin on the title Far From Home), or they will contextualize and insert the new Sony movies into the MCU.
The fact that both Avengers 4 and Venom are set in ‘post-apocalyptic’ environments neatly sets up the possibility of Marvel retconning or reclassifying Venom as an MCU movie. We already know that the gap between Infinity War and Avengers 4 is going to be a significant one, where our heroes will have had to come up with an ambitious plan and the means to travel back through time for it to succeed.
So what if the world we see Venom in is actually that ‘in-between time’ in the MCU? Half of humanity is gone as a result of the snap, the other half have failed to bounce back from this, effectively dooming the human race by their actions. It’s this desperation that drives Dr. Drake to try and use the same kind of alien tech that was used to decimate the population to ultimately save it. Once the events of Avengers 4 are then concluded, it would be easy enough to use a crossover character or a post-credits scene to establish that the Venom movie happened between the two MCU movies, setting up the rest of the future Spider-Verse films.
If that sounds like a hard sell to you, then it shouldn’t. The majority of the Marvel TV shows are set in the MCU, but rarely reference it. Other than a film character with the occasional cameo, or an alien artifact left over from a movie battle, these hybrid MCU TV shows operate largely on their own, as could the Sony owned movies.
It’s a theory that we’ve fully bought into, but since when did anything we came up with matter? It’s your feedback that counts, so sound off below with what you think about the idea.