Ever since Tom Hardy was cast in the role of Eddie Brock for Sony’s Venom movies, fans the world over have wondered when would Venom be appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? The question has come up multiple times, with many Marvelites desperate to see their favourite character appear alongside the likes of The Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Thing is, for legal reasons, it isn’t quite so easy to pop Eddie Brock in the MCU. You see, while Venom is a Marvel-owned character, who originated in the comics, the movie rights to the anti-hero lie with Sony Pictures.
Very long story short, Marvel owns the publishing rights to all of its characters, but the company doesn’t own all the movie rights. The movie rights to certain characters – namely Spider-Man, Venom, Morbius, etc – lie with Sony Pictures.
So, for Venom to appear in the MCU, the studio has to go into partnership with Marvel Studios. These kind of partnerships are rare, but they do happen, and this is why we have managed to see the Tom Holland version of Spider-Man in the MCU.
Marvel and Sony agreed a deal, and for a limited time the two studios have shared the use of Spider-Man on the big screen. This has allowed Marvel Studios to utilise Spidey in select MCU films, while at the same time Sony has retained the overall movie rights to the character.
Now up until the release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, it seemed as if Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures were not keen to agree the same kind of deal over Venom. As such, Eddie Brock has remained under lock and key over at Sony ever since.
But a mid-credit scene in Venom: Let There Be Carnage changed all that. This scene revealed the two studios had come to some kind of arrangement.
For a brief couple of minutes, during a mid-credit scene, Eddie Brock was whisked from his universe into the MCU, delighting many fans in the process! However, then came the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, and another mid-credit scene showed Eddie Brock being taken back out of the MCU, to return to his own universe.
So, what gives? Why didn’t Venom remain in the MCU?
Well, so far, both Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have been pretty tight-lipped over their plans for Eddie Brock/Venom, but it would appear that Eddie’s jaunt to the MCU was only ever designed to be a short trip. By having Eddie jump into the MCU in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, then have him jump out in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the two studios were able to serve up a mini-crossover (to excite fans), without having to alter the status quo too much.
But was there more to it? I expect so.
Partnerships are a tricky thing, and studios fall out all of the time. In fact, the relationship between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures has been rather bumpy in the past, with the two studios almost abandoning their plans to join forces over Spidey.
And because these partnerships are tricky, the studios need to make sure that whenever they use characters such as Spidey, Venom, etc, they always leave them in a place that is not problematic for the future. In short: Had Eddie remained in the MCU post-Spider-Man: No Way Home, and then had Marvel and Sony fall out (again), the studios would have had been left with the problem of what to do with Venom?
The only way for Eddie to have become a permanent fixture of the MCU is for Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures to agree to a long-term deal, like they did with Spidey. However, it seems as if no such deal has been struck (yet).
So, if Eddie only appeared briefly in the MCU, how did the two studios explain his sudden appearance/disappearance in the films? Well, that was fairly easy, and it all revolved around a spell cast by Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
At the beginning of No Way Home, Doctor Strange casts a spell, which brings a collection of villains from across the multiverse into the MCU. Toward the end of the movie, Strange casts another spell, which helps to send them all back. When Eddie Brock is transported from his universe in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, this scene takes place when Strange casts the first spell. When Eddie Brock is transported out of the MCU in the mid-credit scene of No Way Home, this sequence takes place when Strange casts the second spell.
Now it may have been rather frustrating for fans to see Eddie come and go so quickly from the MCU, but his brief appearance wasn’t in vain. When Eddie was zapped out of the MCU he left a piece of himself behind, in the form of a sample of his symbiote.
It would seem that this symbiote has been left in the MCU in order to set up a future Venom storyline. Sadly, it looks like it won’t be a Venom storyline involving Tom Hardy, but rather another version of Venom instead.
At a guess, it would seem that Sony are happy to keep the Tom Hardy Venom movies separate from the MCU. However, they are also happy to introduce another Venom for the MCU, should Marvel Studios want to make use of this character.
And as this alternate Venom is a spawn of the Tom Hardy Venom, it would not necessarily require any back story. This means Venom Mark II could appear in a future film without the need for a cumbersome origin story.
All-in-all, this whole situation may prove rather good in the long run. Fans got to (briefly) see Venom in the MCU; Tom Hardy got to take part in the crossover; Sony’s Venom films can continue to do their own thing without the need for a partnership with Marvel Studios; and the MCU has potentially a new Venom to play with if it so desires.
Not bad, when you think about it.
So, why didn’t Venom remain in the MCU? Simply because he didn’t need to – plus his inclusion in the MCU could have caused one or two headaches for the studios further down the line.
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