‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ — Who is Carnage?

Picture this – you watch Sony’s Venom starring Tom Hardy when the post-credits scene starts. You brace yourself for a reference you won’t understand because you don’t read comics. Sure enough, Woody Harrelson says “There’s gonna be carnage,” and the way he says ‘carnage’ sounds like it should mean something.

But who is Carnage?

Tom Hardy will return in 'Venom: Let Their Be Carnage' -- But Who Is Carnage?
Tom Hardy will return in ‘Venom: Let Their Be Carnage’ | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Carnage and Cletus Kasady enter the Marvel Universe

The late ‘80s and ’90s saw an uptick in edgier and edgier characters. Venom debuted in comics in 1988, a much darker opponent in Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery. About four years later, Marvel decided they could go even darker.

Enter Cletus Kasady, a cannibalistic serial killer — talk about dialing it up to eleven.

Sharing a cell with Eddie Brock, Cletus witnesses the Venom symbiote bond with Eddie and incite a violent jailbreak. Then readers learned that the symbiotes of the Marvel universe reproduced asexually — Venom left behind a new symbiote seed.

The symbiote latched onto the nearest host available and thus, Carnage was born. He broke out of prison and chaos ensued in his wake.

While Spider-Man does not know who is Carnage, he turns to Venom for help.

How Carnage turned Venom from Villain to Anti-Hero

Despite not being nearly as well-known, Venom may never have become the anti-hero audiences know without Carnage.

With Carnage on a murderous killing spree, Spider-Man and Venom teamed up to fight the common enemy. While the first time Venom fought on the side of good, it ended with a fight between Spider-Man.

However, this event leads directly into events that movie audiences are more familiar with. Anne Weying (played by The Greatest Showman’s Michelle Williams in Venom) helped organize a truce between the old foes, and Eddie moved to San Francisco.

Protecting the homeless of the city and fighting the Life Foundation all occurred during Venom’s ‘Lethal Protector’ phase.

Inevitably, Carnage returned to terrorize again, which Venom: Let There be Carnage trailer hints at following. For now, who is Carnage in Sony’s sequel is yet to be seen.

Who is Carnage in ‘Venom: Let There be Carnage’?

Adaptations inevitably change certain things. While knowing who is Carnage in the comics provides a base understanding, the film version looks to deviate.

Since Eddie and Cletus share screentime in prison, they stay on opposite sides of the bars. Instead of Venom splitting naturally, the trailer shows Cletus biting Eddie’s hand which likely leads to the new symbiote.

Whether or not a Spider-Man/Venom team-up comes next unfortunately remains pure speculation. Fans latch onto the smallest rumor, hoping Tom Holland’s Spider-Man makes an appearance. 

Instead of Venom’s prison break, the trailer shows that Carnage incites the breakout. The violence, while still PG-13, jumped in intensity. Many fans lobbied for the film to carry an R-rating and extreme violence to represent Carnage accurately.

Despite the lower rating, the film looks to capture the twisted personality of Cletus Kasady. Posing danger to Eddie, Anne, and the Venom symbiote.

Related: Could Spider-Man and Venom Team up for a ‘Maximum Carnage’ Film in the MCU?