Did the ‘Venom: The Last Dance Trailer’ Just Kill All Hope of a Spider-Man Crossover?

Venom, the Tom Hardy-led Sony antihero franchise, is one of the few bright spots in the studio’s extended Spider-Man universe—mostly on the strength of Hardy just going Sicko Mode and swinging for the fences with his performance. Whether he’s committing to absurd physical comedy or delivering not one but two wacky voices, no one can accuse Hardy of mailing it in as Eddie Brock, the mild-mannered journalist who finds himself sharing a body with the wacky, man-eating alien symbiote known as Venom. Audiences have responded in kind, turning this siloed franchise into a billion-dollar asset for Sony. All that was left was to finally get Hardy’s Eddie Brock in the same room with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, which the last film seemed to finally gesture at in its post-credits scene. But the trailer for Venom: The Last Dance, the third and alleged last Venom film due out this fall, appears to be walking that back. Let’s break it down.

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There’s a moment in the trailer between the film’s antagonist, a dogged military soldier played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and a bartender played by Ted Lasso’s Cristo Fernández, wherein a piece of a Venom-esque symbiote gets snatched up by the army. This has a deeper meaning if you’ve been following all of these Venom post-credits sequences. At the end of the second film, Let There Be Carnage, Eddie Brock and Venom are seemingly transported into the MCU, with the creature looking at a picture of Peter Parker on a TV screen and then licking it. Then, at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, just as all of the multiversal shenanigans are getting reset, Eddie is kicking it alongside Fernández’s unnamed bartender, learning all about the MCU — he specifically mentions Thanos, Hulk, and Iron Man — before expressing a desire to visit New York to chat with Spider-Man. Just as he stands up, Eddie is teleported away, seemingly back to his own universe, leaving behind a piece of the symbiote in the MCU as a result.

These post-credit sequences appeared to be teeing up an opportunity for the symbiote arc to finally go down in the Holland Spider-Man series. Given that No Way Home ended with Peter totally alone, his existence totally erased from the memories of everyone he knows and loves, leaning into a darker storyline makes a lot of sense on paper. Isolated and sad, Peter could be more susceptible to the symbiote’s corruption, thus kicking off the black-suited Spidey storyline we all know and love.

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However, this new Venom trailer shows Ejiofor collecting that errant symbiote sample in the same exact bar, with Fernández wearing the exact same clothing. Do remember, Ejiofor already plays a pretty pivotal character in the MCU—Mordo, a sorcerer in the first Doctor Strange film who, in the comics, goes on to become one of his biggest antagonists. So if Ejiofor is interacting with the bartender, is this a multiversal variant situation or is the MCU-Sony plot continuity liason asleep at the wheel?

The biggest implication here is that Sony has decided to back out on their plans to play ball with the MCU. Remember, Sony’s weird approach to their set of Spider-Man properties puts them in a position where they’re better off servicing characters who aren’t the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler.

All told, this one shot poses a lot of questions about the future of Holland’s Spider-Man. Primarily, that this idea of the upcoming fourth film finally incorporating one of Spidey’s biggest arcs—and most infamous villains—will prove to be one big pump-fake. Or maybe Kevin Feige and co. just want to handle Venom themselves and will confine Hardy’s misadventures to its own universe? We may have to wait until Venom: The Last Dance’s October 25 release to find out.

The good news is that regardless of any cross-franchise connections, this new film looks like an appropriately wild time. The trailer ends with Venom taking over a horse (!) which then takes off like a Ferrari (!!) and jumps off a cliff with Eddie clinging on for dear life. Venom, bizarre and awesome to the very end.

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