Sony Pictures is having a banner year thanks to the end of 2021, which featured two major blockbuster releases with October's Venom: Let There Be Carnage and December's Spider-Man: No Way Home. The two web-based films came on top in regards to opening weekends at the domestic box office with Venom 2 racking up $90 million globally and the Spider-Man threequel exploding with $260 million, the second-biggest number in history.
While Marvel Studios is reaching incredible heights with its Spider-Man franchise, which is set to have at least another three movies, Sony is working hard to build its own universe of Spidey movies with Venom leading the way. The big mystery before this year was whether these two universes would connect in any way, which was answered by Venom 2's post-credits scene...sort of.
When Doctor Strange's spell to fix Peter Parker's life went haywire, villains from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-verses, along with the heroes themselves, were transported into the MCU due to the knowledge of Peter Parker's identity as Spider-Man. However, fans were immediately suspicious of why this included Venom, who had never met any version of Peter at that point in time.
Recently, one of No Way Home's screenwriters touched on that plot point and explained how it was possible for Venom to be included in that group.
Venom's Deep Knowledge of Spider-Man's Identity
In an interview with Variety, Spider-Man: No Way Home screenwriter Chris McKenna shared his thoughts on how Tom Hardy's Venom was able to enter the MCU after Doctor Strange's botched spell. Specifically, he addressed the semi-plot hole that saw Venom and Eddie Brock come into play without having any knowledge of Peter Parker or Spider-Man after Venom: Let There Be Carnage's post-credits scene.
McKenna leaned into the theory that the Venom symbiote possesses "knowledge of other universes" deep in his subconscious, which includes information about Peter Parker and his sticky-alter-ego:
“The idea is that the symbiote has knowledge of other universes. Buried in his brain is some knowledge of that connection."
Also on McKenna's mind was the mission to avoid an excessive amount of fan service simply to bring as many heroes and villains as possible into the story. Describing Tom Holland's Peter Parker as their "north star," the screenwriter made it clear that the movie had to focus on "his emotional journey" instead of letting cameos and guest appearances take over the narrative:
“The most important thing is this wasn’t just going to be a bunch of fan service. It wasn’t going to be just curtain calls for everybody. We had to figure out a way that this [movie] told the story of this Peter Parker right now, organically coming off of where we left the last movie. That was always our north star. Yeah, it’s a big fun idea. Let’s not forget Peter. You can’t get lost in the mix. It has to be his emotional journey.”
This theory also ties back to a specific line from Venom in the post-credits scene from Venom: Let There Be Carnage, in which the symbiote gave his own similar explanation before being sucked into another universe:
"80 billion light years of hive knowledge across universes would explode your tiny little brain."
Hive Knowledge Serving Venom Well
While this theory about Venom's "hive knowledge" is the one that's circulating through most fan discussions about Spider-Man: No Way Home, it comes as something of a relief that McKenna used this idea when discussing his work.
With Strange's spell specifically attracting individuals across universes who knew that Peter and Spider-Man were one and the same, Venom wouldn't necessarily fit that criterion on first glance. After all, this version of the anti-hero had no knowledge that Peter even existed, much less that he was Spider-Man, and it wouldn't have been something Venom told Eddie without some reason behind it.
Although there were initially ideas to include Venom in more of No Way Home's actual plot, he and Eddie were relegated to a post-credits scene in Mexico where they took MCU 101 from the local bartender. They were quickly transported back to their own universe after this lesson, and it remains a mystery if Sony will plan any true interaction between Venom and Spidey in the future.
In the end, No Way Home's team did everything in their power to make sure that this movie was a true story about Spider-Man and Peter Parker at heart, regardless of how many other actors from past films came into play. With the young hero's identity crisis and first contact with the Multiverse playing the biggest roles, other heroes and villains were there to make sure Peter's story came through above all.
With Venom: Let There Be Carnage being such a success, particularly in the pandemic era, Sony will likely give Hardy a third solo movie where he gets to look back on his quick Marvel Studios-based vacation. Where it goes from there is completely up in the air.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters worldwide.