If you want a sequel to 2018’s Venom, there’s two things you can do. You can either wait until next year when Venom 2 hits theaters on October 2, 2020, or you can pick up the Spider-Man comic book storyline, Maximum Carnage. That’s because Venom 2 has added a villain from that comic that all but confirms the movie will be a loose adaptation of Maximum Carnage.
On Tuesday, Deadline reported that Venom 2, a sequel to Sony’s big hit of 2018, is adding the villain Shriek into the plot of the movie. An actor has not yet been cast in the role, but Deadline’s sources say “the net is cast wide” and that the studio and filmmakers are “looking mostly at unknowns right now.”
In the mid-credits of Venom, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) heads to San Quentin prison to interview the serial killer, Cletus Kasady (played by Woody Harrelson). Cletus tells Eddie that when he finally gets out, “there’s gonna be carnage.”
Clearly, Venom is setting up a confrontation between Venom and Carnage. But now, with the reported addition of Shriek, the film will structurally and thematically resemble the 1993 Marvel crossover, Maximum Carnage. And if Shriek (not to be confused with Shrek) does indeed make it to Venom 2, then Cletus is right: There will be a lot of carnage.
Here is what you need to know about Shriek, and why Venom 2 is starting to look like Maximum Carnage.
Who is Shriek? What is Maximum Carnage?
Shriek is a villain from Spider-Man lore who is closely associated with Carnage as his violent and equally menacing love interest. She first appeared in Spider-Man Unlimited #1 from 1993, which kicked off the Maximum Carnage storyline.
A drug dealer named Frances abused by her mother, Frances becomes Shriek when her mutant powers manifest after winding up in the Darkforce Dimension by the superhero Cloak (of the duo Cloak and Dagger). Her powers include the ability to control sound, to fly, and to manipulate dark emotions in other people. She is literally a mutant, but her appearances in comics have almost happened in Spider-Man’s stories almost exclusively, rather than with the X-Men.
In Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage (written byTom DeFalco, J.M. DeMatteis, Terry Kavanagh, and David Michelinie), Shriek debuts as an inmate at Ravencroft Asylum with Carnage. When Carnage begins a break out of Ravencroft, Shriek begs Carnage to let her join. He agrees, and the two begin a wild killing spree across New York. They later recruit other Spider-Man villains Doppelganger, Demogoblin, and Carrion, and act as their “parents.”
Yeah, it’s all very weird, but it’s also very ‘90s comics.
The story of Maximum Carnage is otherwise straight-forward. As Carnage and Shriek wreak havoc in New York, Spider-Man teams up with his arch-enemies Venom, Black Cat, and Morbius the Living Vampire (soon to be played by Jared Leto in a film that shares continuity with Venom), as well as heroes Captain America, Iron Fist, Nightwatch, Firestar, and Cloak and Dagger to stop them.
Conflict arises when Spider-Man refuses to use violent methods, despite the horrendously lethal nature of the Carnage “family.”
Millennials who grew up with a Super Nintendo in their orbit might better remember the video game version, titled Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage. The game was memorably released in a vivid red cartridge that stood out from the standard gray of most SNES cartridges. It was the kind of red that really grabbed your attention; the menacing illustration of Carnage leaping over a blood-red New York ensured that kids wouldn’t forget Cletus Kasady. The soundtrack rocked, too.
How much will Venom 2 look like Maximum Carnage?
Despite the film featuring Shriek, fans can dismiss the rest of the movie looking like the comic. Because of the divisions that still keep Sony and Disney-owned Marvel separate, it isn’t remotely plausible that Captain America, Iron Fist, and Cloak and Dagger (all characters in the MCU) will guest star in Venom 2 — unless Disney and Sony’s new contract has opened the door to crossovers.
Even Spider-Man isn’t expected to show up in Venom 2. This past summer was a test case of just how fragile the working relationship is between Marvel and Sony. A realistic Maximum Carnage in Venom 2 will likely be just Tom Hardy’s Venom working to defeat the tag team of Carnage and Shriek. Maybe Venom will have an ally, maybe he won’t.
Either way: There’s a whole lotta carnage coming up.
Venom 2 will be released in theaters on October 2, 2020.