The trailer for Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage has a lot of fans of the unofficial Spider-Man spinoff worried that their theater experience with the film will be yet another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Venom 2 was previously billed as hitting theaters on Sept. 24, 2021. However, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States and the delta variant continues to make planning anything a very big question mark, many fear that the theater industry is about to go back to the dark days of limited capacity or even outright closures.
That’s why, when Sony Pictures Entertainment dropped the first full-length trailer for Venom 2, featuring the best look yet at Woody Harrelson as the infamous Carnage, many people’s stomachs dropped when the end card didn’t say Sept. 24, but rather the vague notion that it is coming “this fall.”
While late September and “this fall” might not sound drastically different, it’s worth noting that even a minor delay would be agonizing to fans eagerly anticipating the sequel to Tom Hardy’s 2018 film that brought the symbiote character to life (we’re not counting Sam Rami’s Spider-Man: 3, so don’t even ask). As Polygon notes, they already had to endure delays as the film was supposed to be out in October, 2020, then on June 25, 2021. September was the new release date, and supposedly locked in. The delay from June to September was likely a combination of the coronavirus pandemic as well as Vin Diesel’s highly anticipated (and much delayed as well) F9 releasing theaters that same day. Rather than make audiences choose between Venom 2 and Dominic Toretto’s family, fans are now sitting and waiting until “this fall” for the next installment in the franchise.
Unfortunately, delays in film releases, even after the COVID-19 vaccine gave theatergoers a bit of hope, are not unprecedented. Deadline reported last week that Paramount Pictures was the first to react to the rising cases and delta variant by postponing the release of its live-action adaptation of the popular kids’ book series, Clifford the Big Red Dog. While there are obvious differences between the family-friendly Clifford and Venom 2, the most relevant is that Paramount is likely banking on the fact that their movie will only work if children are able to actually go to the theater to see it, which may not be the case amid risks of theater closures and low vaccination rates — particularly for kids. Fortunately, Venom 2 doesn’t have that problem.
Still, ComicBook notes that the only thing more talked-about among fans following the release of the trailer than whether or not it will be delayed yet again is the fact that it finally offered some plot details about Venom 2. As I’m sure any savvy fan realized from the title and the post-credits scene in the 2018 original, Venom 2 will center around Cletus Kasady. In the comic books, Cletus is a serial killer who is more than happy to indulge the symbiote in its rage-filled and murderous ways. In fact, sometimes it has trouble keeping up with even his depraved mind.
The Venom 2 trailer shows Harrelson as Kassady in a maximum-security prison setting. Because of his role as a reporter, Hardy’s Eddie Brock does an interview with him so that he can tell him his full-on serial killer, psychopath story, presumably before Kassady is executed. The interview comes at a time when Brock is struggling to control Venom’s more violent urges. On the day of the meeting, Kassady does what a lot of depraved prisoners do, and yanks Brock’s hand inside his cage and takes a bite out of him.
However, the serial killer seems distressed, noting that he’s tasted human blood before and there’s something off about Brock’s. It seems the bite was just enough for the symbiote to latch onto the killer, creating a whole new level of bad guy that even gives Venom the old heebie-jeebies.