Just a month after Sony Pictures announced Tom Hardy will star in Venom, we may now know which villain he'll face in the Spider-Man spinoff.
In a profile of new Sony CEO Tom Rothman that explores the studio's relationship with Marvel Studios, The Hollywood Reporter casually mentions Carnage as the movie's primary antagonist, which given the characters' history, certainly makes sense.
Created by David Michelinie, Erik Larsen and Mark Bagley, Carnage was once Cletus Kasady, a serial killer who shared a prison cell with Eddie Brock, a host to the alien symbiote that transforms into Venom. When Brock refused to bond once again with the alien, which would have allowed Venom to escape, it left behind its offspring, which merged with Kasady.
The symbiote amplified Kasady's psychotic nature while also imbuing him with an array of abilities akin to Venom's: enhanced physical strength, shape-shifting, regeneration, immunity to Earthly diseases, etc. In short, Carnage would seem like a perfect foil for Venom.
Introduced in 1992 as Carnage in The Amazing Spider-Man #360, the symbiote has been a mainstay of the Marvel Universe ever since, although, like Venom, it hasn't remained with one host; Carnage has bonded to the likes of Silver Surfer ("Cosmic Carnage") and Ben Reilly ("Spider-Carnage"). Beyond his 25-year history in comics, Carnage has also appeared in numerous video games, and on animated television series, most recently Disney XD's Ultimate Spider-Man.
Following the Spider-Man franchise reboot next month with Spider-Man: Homecoming, Sony plans a shared cinematic universe that continues with Venom and then Silver & Black, featuring Black Cat and Silver Sable.
With Zombieland director Ruben Fletcher reportedly behind the camera, Venom is expected to begin filming in September, in time for an announced Oct. 5, 2018, release.