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Who Is The Villain In Venom: Let There Be Carnage?

Yeah, smart guy, it does seem obvious. When Tom Hardy's Venom returns to the big screen later this year, he'll undoubtedly be going toe to viscous toe with Carnage, played by Woody Harrelson. The title "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" kind of gives the game away on that one, as does the movie's first trailer and the post-credits cameo from the last film. To be perfectly frank, it would be an enormous let down if Carnage didn't fight Venom in the sequel, bordering on false advertising.

But comic book adaptations don't exist so that fans can not speculate wildly about them, and the upcoming "Venom" sequel fan theories latch onto the collective cultural consciousness like alien goo with a taste for human giblets. "What," the more conspiratorially inclined corners of the internet wonder, "if Carnage is a scabby crimson false flag? What," they continue, "if there's another, even more terrible bad guy, hiding in plain sight?" Sure, we know that Shriek will be making an appearance, but let's think bigger. Cosmically big, even.

Right now, the smart money's on Knull. Wait... Knull who? 

Is Knull coming to Venom 2?

First, a little background. Knull was introduced to the Marvel universe relatively recently, appearing as a mysterious figure in 2013 before getting a full reveal in 2018's "Venom" volume 4. His backstory is appropriately dark and tangled for a character with close ties to the symbiotes, but the abbreviated version goes like this: He's the Lovecraftian elder god of symbiotes, the squiggly centerpoint of their hivemind, and a really big fan of destroying all of existence so that he can get some peace and quiet.

The argument could be made that the title "Let There Be Carnage" and its overt religious imagery point to a deeper subplot in the forthcoming "Venom" sequel. The opposing images of "let there be light" and Knull's enthusiasm for darkness is another length of red yarn on the conspiracy board. But perhaps the most damning piece of evidence comes in the form of Knull himself, a giant, unnatural-looking monster that could only really be pulled off through extensive mocap CGI. Not for nothing, but that sounds like the sort of thing that "Let There Be Carnage" director Andy Serkis might take a personal interest in.

Whatever the case, we'll finally get some solid answers when "Venom 2" hits theaters on September 24, 2021.