Venom 2’s Title May Be Teasing a Secret Villain

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Even though Venom 2’s title is Venom: Let There Be Carnage, we have a hunch that it’s hinting at something far worse than just Cletus Kasady.

After all, “Let There Be Carnage” isn’t the name of any pre-existing Marvel comic, so why did Sony choose it? Sony could have easily gone with Maximum Carnage to cash in on that sweet ’90s nostalgia, or the no-brainer title Venom vs. Carnage. Simple. Clear. Sentient goo versus sentient goo. What’s not to like?

But seeing as they went with this religiously-tinged subtitle, even though Carnage isn’t a religious fanatic, might mean Sony has something more in store than merely everyone’s favorite formerly-frizzy-wigged symbiote.

So here’s our theory about how Venom 2’s title might be teasing a secret bonus villain. A villain that would give Venom the nemesis he deserves, even without Tom Holland’s Spider-Man around. He can also help reveal the Venom symbiote’s deep and far-reaching connections to the MCU, and offer a super-cool chance for Venom to finally get his signature white chest emblem.

We’re talking about the god of the symbiotes himself, Knull.

For our video breakdown of this theory, hit play below!

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/venom-2-title-teases-a-secret-villain-theory”]

Who Is Knull?

Created by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman in 2018, Knull is a relatively new addition to the Marvel Universe as of Venom #3. He’s a primordial deity who is billions of years old, loathes light and life, and wants to snuff it out with his darkness. That’s why he created the symbiotes, evil mind-warping jellies that merge with the nervous systems of other creatures. Knull was eventually imprisoned in the far reaches of space, but being a dark god and all, he can reach out and control the various symbiotes throughout the universe anyway, Venom included. Plus, he’s got this big dragon symbiote monster that he summons to try and destroy the world sometimes.

So, yes, that would be a completely bonkers new origin story for the symbiote. No one is denying that. The symbiote’s original comic origin painted it as more of an amoral and insidious thing from outer space, but Marvel went from Alien to Prometheus with it, and now it has grand ties to a cosmic being! That’s something we could definitely roll with because the first Venom movie kickstarted the character without something he desperately needs: an iconic nemesis.

Side note: Yes, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man may one day cross paths with Tom Hardy’s Venom in a movie — it feels inevitable — but until then, we’re going to focus on what a “spider-less” Venom franchise would look like.

And since Knull has nothing to do with Spider-Man, introducing his mythology would allow Venom to continue to stand on his own two, sticky feet.

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Bringing the Carnage

Here’s where Carnage comes in. The story of Knull eventually leads to a comic event called Absolute Carnage. In it, Cletus Kasady starts the “Cult of Carnage,” communes with Knull, and reinvents himself as Knull’s divine instrument of death and destruction.

Remember, Kasady has never had much of a strong motive for being a deranged serial killer. He’s usually portrayed as a grim nihilist, thinking he’s doing people a favor by murdering them in order to relieve them of the burden of life. So adding Knull to the mix would make the movie version of Carnage a lot more interesting and purpose-driven.

Imagine this: When Woody Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady bonds with the red symbiote to become Carnage, he starts to hear the voice of God in his head. Disturbing as it sounds, many real-life serial killers have said their murders were done in service of God, so if Carnage started saying that in the movie, most people wouldn’t think much of it. But, what if the big reveal in the third act is that Carnage actually was hearing the voice of a god — but it was Knull, god of the symbiotes? Cut to a post-credits stinger that shows Knull finally breaking free from his space prison, and now we have a next-level villain perfectly teed up for Venom 3.

That’s the pitch. If Knull does get introduced to Sony’s superhero world, then he would bring with him many ties to the greater Marvel Universe, and we’d love to see it happen.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2018/09/26/marvels-strongest-symbiotes-and-venom-isnt-1″]

Knull’s MCU Connections

Remember in Guardians of the Galaxy, Knowhere is that space station inside the head of a dead Celestial? Well, it was Knull who chopped that Celestial’s head off with his symbiote sword, known as the All-Black Necrosword. It makes Cloud’s Buster sword look like a toothpick.

And you know how Christian Bale is going to play Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder? Well, Knull’s All-Black Necrosword winds up in Gorr’s hands, and that’s what he uses to go on a Kratos-esque god-killing spree. It’s been said that this iconic Marvel sword was the inspiration for Hela’s black magic weaponry in Thor: Ragnarok, so really, the seed for it has already been planted in the MCU!

For now, it’s remained a mystery as to whether Sony’s Marvel movies (aside from Spider-Man) will become a part of the MCU or not. Venom seemed to say: absolutely not. But the first Morbius trailer begged to differ, and now the Venom 2 trailer seems to be at least dropping hints. So it’s tough to say if Sony will decide to capitalize on these elements of Knull’s history. We’re just saying, if they wanted to, they totally could, and it’d be sweet.

Knull Means New

Okay, last word on this… when you think about it, Knull is a great fit for what Sony is doing with Venom. The first movie went way over the top with its tone and action, so what better way to keep that momentum going than by adding in a villain who wears symbiote armor, wields a gnarly symbiote sword, and commands a gargantuan symbiote dragon? As Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 helped prove in 2014, mainstream audiences are more than ready for the real nerd shit. The weird stuff. The deep lore. Let’s get into it.

Plus, Knull will make for a different kind of climactic battle. We’ve seen “symbiote humanoid versus symbiote humanoid” once already with Venom vs. Riot, and we’re bound to get more of it when Venom clashes with Carnage, so pitting Venom against Knull will give audiences something fresh.

Ryan Stegman went all out when he showed Venom battling Knull’s symbiote kaiju, and he draws Venom with these wicked dragon wings, so seeing all of that play out on the big screen would kick the sci-fi action into the next gear while showing off some Venom abilities that most people have never seen before.

Oh, and the best part? You’ve probably noticed Knull has a symbol of a dragon on his chest. Knull can possess other symbiotes, causing his red markings to appear on them. Not only would that be a cool new look for Venom in the third movie of his trilogy, but after he beats Knull, he could cleanse the red corruption from his body, but keep the symbol, and we’d finally get the fully complete Venom with the white chest emblem that fans have been dying to see on the big screen.

May 11, 2021: This story has been updated with the latest information about Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

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Joshua is Senior Features Editor at IGN. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.

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