The Venom 3 Trailer Has a Weird MCU Crossover, but it Might be a Ruse

The last thing we need is more multiversal chaos.

Venom (Tom Hardy) in Venom: The Last Dance
Sony Pictures

After over 15 years of movies and TV shows, it seems like every actor has had the chance to appear in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. That may not literally be true, but it’s hard not to believe it when Marvel alums pop up again and again in different corners of the franchise. This trend of repeat casting was once pretty rare, a necessary evil that’s given great actors like Gemma Chan (who had a minor role in Captain Marvel before starring in Eternals) another chance to show off their stuff. More recently, though, actors have been using the multiverse to make increasingly meta cameos, creating some interesting (if unofficial) crossovers in the process.

That might be the case for Venom: The Last Dance, the third (and maybe final) film in Sony’s Venom trilogy. Sony’s made an odd effort to build out its own Marvel Universe, one populated solely by Spider-Man villains. And while it’s occasionally brushed up against the MCU with a head-scratching Morbius cameo and some multiversal hijinks in Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Last Dance may bring these two parallel timelines closer together than ever.

The Last Dance picks up shortly after Eddie Brock’s (Tom Hardy) appearance in No Way Home, which saw the vigilante and his symbiote companion, Venom, briefly transported to the MCU. Now back on their own turf, Eddie and Venom find themselves the target of federal agents and aliens from Venom’s home planet.

The upcoming film introduces a new human antagonist played by Doctor Strange’s Chiwetel Ejiofor, and he’s not the only Marvel alum making an appearance. Rhys Ifans — who played the Lizard in Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man — also pops up. Whether he’s playing this universe’s version of the Lizard remains to be seen, but given the context of his cameo, it could be another case of self-aware stunt casting.

Is Rhys Ifans reprising his role as the Lizard?

Sony Pictures

Marvel’s multiverse has been a tangled web for some time now, but the franchise’s more recent projects are turning that chaos into an asset. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness took liberties with its cameos, introducing one-off variants of well-known heroes. WandaVision was one of the first to truly get meta, choosing Evan Peters, who played Quicksilver in Fox’s X-Men films, to reprise his role... with a twist.

There’s every chance Ifans’ cameo in The Last Dance will fit the latter category; if he isn’t playing a version of the Lizard, then it’s safe to expect his appearance to poke fun at Sony’s Spider-Man films. He could eventually become a variant of the infamous Spidey villain, creating even more chaos for the title character, but those chances feel slim. Ifans’ role in the trailer looks more important for the marketing than the plot.

Doctor Strange villain Chiwetel Ejiofor also plays a mystery role in The Last Dance.

Sony Pictures

As for Ejiofor’s mystery character, anything is possible. The actor appeared as Mordo in Doctor Strange and its 2022 sequel, but his role in The Last Dance may not have anything to do with the MCU. That can make things confusing, but hopefully The Last Dance will find a way to skirt past any continuity wrinkles. The Venom films have always been fun romps through Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, and they don’t need to be more. This story is about Eddie and Venom; if this truly is their last dance, then perhaps the multiverse won’t play as big a role as assumed.

Venom: The Last Dance hits theaters on October 25.

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