After years of waiting in Development Hell, it looks like the first official live-action Venom movie is finally getting off the ground. It was announced recently that Tom Hardy would be taking on the role of the deadly symbiote anti-hero/villain, a casting choice which was met with widespread praise by most fans. It was certainly a far more popular choice than Eric Foreman from That 70’s Show. Most have speculated that Tom Hardy will be playing the original Venom, Eddie Brock, who started off as a villain to Spider-Man before slowly shifting to the role of an anti-hero.
However, Sony has made it clear that they want to introduce Venom’s story as a completely independent origin to Spider-Man, so that raises a very interesting question: Who is Venom going to fight? Although he’s led his own series multiple times in the past, he doesn’t have a very big dedicated rogue’s gallery like Spidey, and if he starts off a villain, does that mean he’s going up against the good guys? There are a lot of interesting directions they could take it, but we here at CBR have some ideas. Here are 15 villains who need to show up in the Venom movie.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way early. Venom’s greatest nemesis is and always will be Spider-Man. Spidey wore the symbiote first in Amazing Spider-Man #252 by writers Tom DeFalco and Roger Stern and penciler Ron Frenz almost 50 issues before Venom’s first full appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #300 by writer David Michelinie and artist Todd MacFarlane.
Sony has already stated that they initially want to keep this movie separate from Spider-Man in order to establish the character on his own, but Spidey is just a part of Venom… in any version you plan to do right at least. The whole reason Venom is “evil” at all is because both the symbiote and Eddie Brock feel resentful of Peter Parker, and bond over their hatred. If nothing else, you can at least expect a surprise Tom Holland cameo in a post-credits scene.
14. NORMAN OSBORN
Norman Osborn is another long-time foe of Spider-Man’s that casual fans might know better as the Green Goblin, but in his off-time, he’s still a genius, billionaire, mad scientist, corporate warlord, kind of like an evil version of Tony Stark with really bad hair.
Osborn and his company, Oscorp, would probably be a good addition to the movie anyway to work around the convoluted origin story of the symbiote suit coming from an alien planet to bond with a human, and instead just introduce it as an invention gone wrong of those crazy Oscorp scientists. Furthermore, if Sony was still attached to their Sinister Six movie, this would be a great way to do it, since Osborn was the leader of the Sinister Twelve, a team of Spider-Man villains that included Venom, Shocker and the Vulture, who are all set to make their first appearance soon.
A common trope of superhero films is to pit the main character against a dark mirror of themselves. Iron Man fought the Iron Monger. Captain America fought the Winter Soldier. The Hulk fought Abomination. Venom himself shares many of the same abilities as Spider-Man because the symbiote bonded with Peter Parker first.
Anti-Venom in the comics was actually the persona Eddie Brock took on after Mac Gargan donned the Venom symbiote, but they could reverse roles here, with Mac Gargan being hired by Norman Osborn to bond with the Anti-Venom suit, so he can take down Venom. Mac Gargan is most well-known as being the Scorpion, so this would make a good lead-in to Scorpion’s introduction as a Spider-Man villain after the Anti-Venom suit was destroyed.
12. THE JURY
The Jury was a task force conceived and financed by General Orwell Taylor with the explicit purpose of killing Venom. They have closer ties to Venom than some of the contenders on this list because they actually made their debut in Venom’s first series as the main character, the six-issue Venom: Lethal Protector by writer David Michelinie and pencilers Mark Bagley, Ron Lim and Sam DeLarosa.
General Orwell Taylor put together the armored vigilante team after his oldest son, who was a prison guard at the Vault, was murdered by Venom as he attempted to escape captivity. General Taylor outfitted each member of The Jury with high-powered armored suits, the designs of which he stole from Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. Each suit was outfitted with sonic blasts and fire, the symbiote’s two main weaknesses.
11. THE KLYNTAR RACE
In the comics, Venom’s black suit is actually a living alien symbiote that comes from an extraterrestrial race known as the Klyntar. If Sony was really serious about separating Venom’s origin from Spider-Man, while still remaining somewhat true to the source material, then the Klyntar race would almost have to be involved as the villain.
They could either make it a smaller scale film focusing on the struggle between Eddie Brock and his symbiote as it pushes him toward evil while he tries to resist, or they could go the big-budget tentpole route that Hollywood is so fond of and have Eddie’s struggle with the symbiote only take up the first two-thirds of the movie, eventually coming together as Venom to save the world from an alien invasion in the final act.
10. THE LIFE FOUNDATION
The Life Foundation is a group closely tied to Venom, making featuring heavily in both Venom: Lethal Protector and Venom: Separation Anxiety by writer Howard Mackie and penciler Ron Randall. They’re a sophisticated corporate survivalist group dedicated to doomsday-proofing communities for its own members and society’s elite. In Venom: Lethal Protector #4, the Life Foundation captures Venom and extracts five additional symbiotes, which they give to its quintet of soldiers, creating Scream, Phage, Riot, Lasher and Agony.
If they decided not to follow the alien origin story from the comics and introduced the symbiotes as an Earth-created entity instead, the Life Foundation could just purchase their symbiote suits from Norman Osborn as a misguided attempt to protect themselves, before wreaking havoc on Venom and all of New York.
9. BLACK CAT
Black Cat has a long and ever-changing history in the comics. When she was initially introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #194 by writer Marv Wolfman and penciler Keith Pollard, she was an antagonist to Spider-Man and a world-renowned cat burglar. She had a somewhat tenuous and flirtatious relationship with Spider-Man before eventually becoming more of a good guy, who still wasn’t above the occasional bout of thievery. Recently in the comics, she has gone back to villainy yet again.
If Sony wanted to keep Venom as a villain for at least his first film which, let’s be honest, is what everyone wants to see, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give him some kind of hero to go up against, even if that hero isn’t Spider-Man, a role that Black Cat would fit quite well for the duration of the movie.
8. SILVER SABLE
Next in line for a Spider-Man spinoff film from Sony after Venom will be a Black Cat and Silver Sable team-up film. It would make sense to introduce both characters in the Venom movie before their own debut feature because, in the comics, they really don’t have any kind of extended interaction together, so if they were already forced to work together to try to take down Venom, it would save a lot of time on a convoluted origin story in their own movie.
While Black Cat is essentially a street-level criminal, Silver Sable is a globetrotting mercenary for hire and hunter of Nazi war criminals. The Black Cat/Silver Sable could introduce the two as enemies, but it makes a lot more sense for a world-renowned expert mercenary to be hired to take down an evil alien beast than a lowly cat burglar.
Sin-Eater is particularly tied to Venom in the comics, because the public revelation of his identity by Peter Parker was what resulted in Eddie Brock’s hatred for Parker, and eventually Venom’s hatred of Spider-Man. In Venom: Sinner Takes All, Venom encounters a copycat killer of Sin-Eater who attempts to kill Eddie Brock’s ex-wife before eventually being killed himself.
The most likely version to be used in the Venom movie though, would be the supernatural Sin-Eater from the AXIS storyline, who has the power to detect evil within others and absorbs their sins as he kills them. He’s essentially invulnerable, even regrowing his head as a skull after Carnage tears it off, and is only defeated when he attempts to absorb Carnage’s sins, which causes him to explode. The story could easily be reworked to fit Venom instead of Carnage and wouldn’t be too off-book for Marvel fans.
6. JACK O’LANTERN
Jack O’Lantern first encountered Flash Thompson’s Agent Venom when they were both sent to Nrosvekistan to find Doctor Ekmecic, a specialist in making weapons using Antarctic Vibranium. They both failed in their mission, but became arch-enemies in the process. They’ve fought numerous times over the years including the character’s 2011 ongoing series Venom, also starring Flash Thompson.
He’s a particularly dangerous foe for Venom because his pumpkin helmet and many of his weapons and devices produce dangerous blasts of fire, which is, of course, one of the symbiotes most deadly weaknesses. Although the character was originally a villain for Flash Thompson’s Venom, it’s not unlikely that Sony will merge Eddie Brock’s story with Flash Thompson’s eventually to avoid confusion, so Jack O’ Lantern is probably fair game.
5. THE POLICE/MILITARY
Perhaps the best approach to a Venom origin movie would be to let him be the villain of his own film. Instead of making him face off against some other villain or an alien invasion to save humanity. Venom could just wreak havoc and destruction as he goes, dismembering innocent people and eating their brains.
If Venom was the ultimate threat in his movie, it stands to reason that the main enemies that he would have to go up against would be the U.S. military, a SWAT team or at the very least, the New York Police Department. What could be more satisfying than seeing Venom tear his way through a crowded street of military vehicles and armed gunmen like a hot knife through butter? As the threat response continues, Venom just gets more ruthless and destructive.
As we’ve already mentioned, Mac Gargan could initially take on the role of Anti-Venom in the movie before later being introduced as the Scorpion, but if they forego the whole Anti-Venom story entirely, Scorpion could initially be the main villain. His cybernetic suit has possessed dozens of abilities over the years that would be suitable for fighting Venom, but some kind of sonic blast and flamethrower is all he would really need.
Another reason to introduce Mac Gargan early is because the Venom symbiote actually bonds with him later on to become the new Venom after Norman Osborn hires him to kidnap Peter’s Aunt May. For the Spider-Man movies, after Eddie Brock becomes too much of an anti-hero to be considered a threat to Spider-Man, the symbiote could easily pass over to Mac Gargan to bring a whole new level of terror to Spidey and Eddie Brock.
After the critically and audience-panned Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony might not be so eager to attempt Electro again so soon, but what better way to get the character out of the way early than to face him off against Venom and have him unceremoniously murdered? It wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented. In the comics, while Venom is a member of the Sinister Six, he betrays his fellow teammates, killing them one by one, and in a showdown with Electro, Venom defeats him and leaves him for dead.
In the comics, Maxwell Dillon initially got his powers to produce and control electricity when he was repairing a power line and got struck by lightning. It’s a risky move to kill off Electro as he’s one of Spider-Man’s deadliest villains, but it could be even riskier to bring back anything from Amazing Spider-Man 2.
2. KRAVEN THE HUNTER
Kraven the Hunter is known mainly for being a Spider-Man villain, but he’s one that would fit perfectly into the Venom origin story. Sergei Kravinoff, or Kraven, has an obsession with hunting the most deadly creatures the planet has to offer. He considers himself the greatest hunter on the planet, sometimes using the typical tools and weapons of a hunter, but preferring to take down large animals with his bare hands.
He starts hunting Spider-Man because he determines that Spidey is probably the most difficult thing to capture and kill on the planet with his spider powers, so it only stands to reason that Kraven would look at Venom as the crown jewel of hunting achievement. As a master of strategy, he has gone up against and succeeded in capturing Flash Thompson’s Venom in the ongoing Venom by writer Rick Remender and pencilers Tony Moore, Tom Fowler and Lan Medina.
Carnage is one of the greatest villains of Spider-Man and Venom’s of all time, and for a few reasons, he has to appear in the Venom movie. Most importantly, Carnage is brutal, sadistic and twisted. Any movie that features Carnage would have to be rated R to do any kind of justice to the character, and since Marvel has no plans to allow an R-rated Spider-Man movie to come out anytime soon, Sony has a unique opportunity to introduce one of Marvel’s most horrifying characters ever in the Venom movie, which has already been speculated to be aiming for an R-rating.
Carnage is another symbiote creature bonded to a psychopath and homicidal sadist named Cletus Kasady. While Eddie Brock’s inherently good, if somewhat volatile nature eventually pushed him to be more of an anti-hero, Kletus Casady revels in pain and chaos, seeing random, un-patterned bloodshed as “the ultimate freedom.”
Which Marvel Comics villains are you hoping to see in the Venom movie? Let us know who in the comments!