Cletus Kasady’s symbiote finds a willing Bonnie Parker in fellow Ravencroft patient Shriek, a new featurette reveals. Naomie Harris (No Time To Die) plays Shriek, also known as Frances Barrison, in Venom 2. A deranged mind packaged into a weapon of mass destruction, director Andy Serkis describes Shriek as “twisted” and “really dangerous,” the ideal complement to Kasady’s chaotic brand of madness.
In the comics, Shriek and Carnage are played off as Marvel’s version of Harley Quinn and the Joker, except Kasady does genuinely see Barrison as an equal and decorously shares her feelings. Ever the consummate Clyde Barrow, he comes back for her after escaping Ravencroft in Venom 2 and frees her in a desperate bid to conquer the world as a couple fortuitously in love. Woody Harrelson as a juiced-up Cletus Kasady can be seen in the featurette crushing Barrison’s cell in a firm grip, sending glass shards flying all around them in a blazing torrent of symbiote and sound. “Together, they’re so much fun and incredibly terrifying,” Harris adds with childlike glee.
Check out the full video here:
In the comics, Shriek is Frances Louise Barrison, a mutant whose latent psionic ability and acoustikinesis were awakened when circumstances led her to Cloak’s Darkforce Dimension, where she was trapped temporarily. Similar to Venom 2, she would later ally with Cletus Kasady and pursue the darkness in Spider-Man. The character was created in 1993 by writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Lim, debuting in Spider-Man Unlimited #3. Shriek shares many superpowered traits with fellow mutant Banshee/Sean Cassidy, a member of Charles Xavier’s X-Men. They both possess the “sonic scream,” an unusually loud sound meant to disorient enemies and induce a sense of panic or deliver enough concussive force to rupture someone’s eardrums, knock them out, and perhaps kill with astounding ease. “Shriek has the ability to suck up sound and use it as a weapon,” Harris elaborates.
The second trailer for Venom 2 shows very little of Shriek. The featurette offers a few extra clips, but nothing we didn’t already know. In the sequel to Ruben Fleischer’s Venom, Frances Barrison is a maximum security prisoner in Ravencroft Institute alongside Kasady. She is in solitary confinement and resides in a glass-paneled cage meant to cancel out even the smallest decibel of sound.
In Venom 2, the cell is kept inside a room with walls several meters thick, the entrance of which is a secure bulkhead attached to a hatch. The design of her quarters is closely patterned after submarine doors, meant to lock out water, air, and — yes — sound. Guards and researchers are required to wear noise-canceling headphones over earplugs when crossing the same hatch. Upon breaking out of Ravencroft, Shriek and Carnage navigate the darkened streets of New York City, leaving all manner of “carnage” (so to speak) in their wake. The couple can be seen dancing before a burning building and then hopping into a snazzy muscle car before taking off. The two will presumably take on Venom together.
Shriek’s origins in the comics have remained unchanged for over a decade. Though primarily a Spider-Man rogue, Frances Louise Barrison is a mutant — just like X-Men’s rotating cast of heroes and supervillains. Though the IP has since reverted to Marvel, the use of the word “mutant” — as either a plot point or an Easter egg — remains proprietary to Disney and cannot be used in Venom 2 in whatever way.
Copartners like Sony Pictures, which maintain ownership of Spider-Man on a corporate level, are not permitted by law to employ the IP in their standalone Spider-Man movies. The company doesn’t own the X-Men and never have, even when 20th Century Fox held the rights to the team. However, deals could still have been made behind the scenes for Venom 2, and maybe Shriek is indeed our first experience of a mutant in a different universe since Marvel Studios debuted natural-born mutants Wiccan and Speed in WandaVision and Russian Winter Guard member Ursa Major/Mikhail Ursus in Black Widow. And it would be Sony’s first recorded mutant as well.
Venom 2 stars Michelle Williams, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, and Naomie Harris. Andy Serkis (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle) is directing, with Hardy and returning screenwriter Kelly Marcel on the script. It hits theaters on October 1 after a rough one year delay due to COVID-19 restrictions.