Venom 2, officially titled Venom: Let There Be Carnage, isn’t that far off anymore. While it suffered pandemic-related delays, the movie is now scheduled to release in September 2021, and that means we’re starting to learn more about the movie that will see Tom Hardy joined by Woody Harrelson’s villainous Carnage. This time around, Hardy isn’t just playing Eddie Brock / Venom. The seasoned actor was particularly invested in this story and character. He was heavily involved in the making of the movie. So much so that this time around, Hardy has a “Story By” credit for Venom: Let There Be Carnage. But what does that mean?
It doesn’t mean he ever picked up a pen and put words to paper. That job went to writer Kelly Marcel, who is the sole screenwriter for the script. In a recent interview with Empire, Kelly Marvel shared about her writing process and Tom Hardy’s heavy involvement when it came to crafting the script for the sequel. “This is new for him, to get credit,” Kelly Marvel said, “but it’s not new for him to be this involved. He’s absolutely 100 percent committed to everything that he does.”
She went on to say that Tom Hardy loves playing this character, loves developing this character, and is just profoundly invested in bringing this movie to the screen. While the actor never wrote a word, he worked with her to come up with ideas. This happened through something called “breaking” the story, where screenwriters will open break down what a story is about before writing a script. She said, “We spent months breaking the story together on FaceTime, riffing on ideas, seeing what worked, seeing what didn’t. Then I took everything we spoke about and holed up somewhere for three months quietly, knocking out a script.”
They had a lot to talk about. Tom Hardy knew how the first movie ended, of course. And there was the credits scene showing Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, a serial killer bound to become a red symbiote named Carnage. The Marvel comics are full of source material. From all of that, though, the story still needed development. What parts of the comics would they use? What would happen? These are the kinds of decisions that help lead to a “story by” credit.
As for what decisions Tom Hardy and Kelly Marcel made for the story, we still have to see. Venom 2’s director, Andry Serkis, has hinted that there may be more villains than just Carnage involved. We’ll have to wait to see if that proves true, but it seems very possible. Eddie Brock, also known as Venom, lives in the Spiderverse. He has a slew of villains around.
It’s been hinted that Brock may be visiting Ravencroft, an institute in the Marvel comics where many of Spider-Man’s villains find their home, even temporarily. Serkis hinted that we may be seeing other Marvel universe characters there, which would be a good thing to do in the Sony Pictures films. Spider-Man is considered the link right now between Sony movies like Venom and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Seeing a stronger link for the Tom Hardy movies to other Marvel movies may be interesting, especially as these colliding Marvel stories build over the coming years.
Will this be the last time we see Tom Hardy get a “story by” credit, or is this the start of more credit for his involvement on the movies he’s a part of? Likely, it’s just the first time. Now he’s got a taste for it. Actors don’t often get a lot of say in the story for the movies they’re in. That’s up to the writers, directors, and others behind the scenes. They do their one part of the story for their character, and their control is often minimal.
As someone who seems to care a lot about that story and its development, it makes sense that Tom Hardy may now want to play a bigger role behind the scenes so he can make the stories how he likes. When Venom: Let There Be Carnage releases in theaters on September 24, 2021, we’ll get a chance to see what he does with that opportunity.