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Characters That Mean More Than You Realize In Venom: Let There Be Carnage

When you fork over your 15 bucks to see "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" (okay, slightly more if you want leather reclining seats), you're paying that money to see the big names: Eddie Brock and his symbiote roommate from hell, Cletus Kasady and Carnage, maybe some Shriek. You aren't paying that money to get a glimpse of a prison inmate named Siegfried.

But as the old "American Beauty" posters used to urge: look closer. Sometimes, the most inconsequential-seeming character can signal a deeper plot point, a Marvel Easter egg, or a plot seed that could grow into a memorable villain in the next sequel.

With that in mind, let's look past the unhinged, endlessly entertaining performances of Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, and Naomie Harris and see the other actors populating the distinctive world of "Carnage." Some of them appear onscreen so briefly that you might miss them if you blink — others seem destined to be captured in screenshots and deeply analyzed in the aftermath of the film's release.

Keep in mind, heavy spoilers follow. If you're still willing to proceed, to paraphrase Cletus Kasady, let there be character analysis.

Doctor Camille Pazzo

Portrayed by striking, white-haired veteran UK TV actor Sian Webber ("Young Blades," "EastEnders," "Bad Girls"), Dr. Pazzo is the cruel, uncaring administrator behind the endless incarceration of inmates like Frances Barrison. At the beginning of "Let There Be Carnage," she's there to accept Shriek with the ominous words "Welcome to your new home, Frances." Decades later, she's still at Ravencroft when Cletus comes to rescue the love of his life, as Carnage's tentacles lift her off the ground and strangle the not-so-good doctor while the three baddies make a prison break.

The character has a small but noteworthy history in Marvel Comics, beginning with 1995's "Venom: Carnage Unleashed" Vol. 1 #1. In that comic, she is introduced as a psychiatrist for Cletus Kasady rather than Shriek. She would subsequently appear in several other "Venom" comics, many featuring Carnage as well.

By 1996, Pazzo was being presented as something of an expert on symbiotes, advising the police and trying to help solve murders. That was pretty much the last appearance of the character — until now.

In "Let There Be Carnage," there are multiple references to Kasady's abuse at his father's hands, how he murdered his grandmother, and even the family dog. While the details have been changed a bit, without the Pazzo character in the comic books we wouldn't have a lot of that information. So in essence, the movie has shifted Pazzo's focus from Kasady to Barrison, and turned her into much more of an evil, prison warden-like character.


The Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane is no Club Med. Doctor Pazzo rules over the inmates with an iron fist, and her methods of "rehabilitation" seem anything but interested in returning them to any semblance of a normal life.

In a pivotal scene from the film, Pazzo makes her way toward the holding cell of Frances "Shriek" Barrison, unaware that Cletus Kasady — now reinforced by his new friend Carnage — is mere moments away from freeing her. As she walks down the hallway past the inmates, one in particular catches her eye.

After the inmate shouts an empty threat from behind the bars, she shoots back: "You're never getting out of here, Siegfried. No one ever does." Oh, how wrong she's about to be.

Siegfried makes one more appearance in the aftermath of Carnage's slaughter, speaking with Detective Mulligan (Stephen Graham) as the cop tries to piece together what happened. Siegfried offers one key word of explanation that will change Mulligan's life: "Monsters."

So, who is this Siegfried dude? He appears to be played by a man named Scroobius Pip, which might just be the greatest Hollywood name since Benedict Cumberbatch. Alas, Pip is a screen name for David Meads, a UK spoken word poet and hip-hop artist who just recently began acting.

As for the character himself, an exhaustive study of Venom/Carnage history doesn't seem to yield any prominent results for the name "Siegfried." A wider look at Marvel Comics brings us Siegfried Farber (a Nazi elite soldier sent by Adolf Hitler to destroy Nick Fury's Howling Commandos), Sigurd/Siegfried (a human alter ego of Thor), and not much else. It seems highly unlikely that the Ravencroft prisoner is either of those characters — but nonetheless, the fact that he gets a name, and it is spoken in such a high-visibility moment, makes it seem like we might not have seen the last of him.

Mrs. Chen

In the first "Venom" film, this apparently throwaway character reeked of Hollywood cliches, even if actress Peggy Lu lifted her up with some warmth and humor. In essence, here was a minority convenience store clerk who seemed to exist only so she could be held up at gunpoint and react to our hero saving the day.

But lo and behold, Mrs. Chen is not only back in "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," but she actually gets a bit more depth. She's still standing behind the counter, still seemingly on the verge of constantly being held up, but now she has a friendship with both Eddie and Venom — and is likely raking in big bucks feeding the symbiote's chocolate addiction.

When Venom splits from Eddie and begins hopping from body to body in the hope of finding another suitable host, he eventually reaches a point where he can't even get one poor host to stand up anymore. With nowhere else to run, Venom steers the guy into Mrs. Chen's store, where he collapses to the ground. When Mrs. Chen realizes what has happened, she rushes to console Venom.

Shortly thereafter, Anne (Michelle Williams) and Dr. Dan (Reid Scott) show up at the store, looking for Venom. The symbiote reveals that he is inside Mrs. Chen, turning her into a bizarre hybrid of the two. Anne, hoping to coax Venom out, turns on the charm and starts getting sexy with Mrs. Chen, much to Dan's disgust.

Ultimately, it seems as though Venom was able to infiltrate and use Mrs. Chen's body, then evacuate and leave her alive. As we've seen in the "Venom" films, this is a rare thing — and perhaps a sign that Venom loves the lady, even if he does frequently ask for permission to eat her.

Dr. Dan Lewis

Another character who began as something of a cliche, this handsome new boyfriend with money in the bank and no discernible charm feels like he should have been played by James Marsden. It seems like just a matter of time before Eddie and Anne eventually reunite — even if in "Let There be Carnage" we learn that Dr. Dan (Reid Scott) has proposed.

"That is so much bigger than the one I got you," Eddie sighs upon seeing Anne's new rock.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the altar. Dr. Dan has become a very endearing character, as well as the x-factor in a love quadrangle between Venom, Eddie, Anne and himself. In "Carnage," the character receives several opportunities to shine, and gets some great lines as well, such as when he's told the two most powerful weapons to defeat a symbiote.

"Fire and sound?" Dr. Dan asks. "Is that a band?"

Later, Dr. Dan heeds that advice and saves the day, pouring gasoline on Carnage in the church and briefly setting him on fire. Just as the monster is ready to make certain that Dr. Dan never scribbles illegibly on another notepad, Venom returns the favor by tearing Carnage off the doctor. If that isn't love, what is?

In some bizarre way, Dr. Dan keeps hanging around this series, and if he keeps it up he might just win the day and actually get the girl. It still seems unlikely, but in this series nothing ever goes down in a predictable way — and slowly but surely, Dr. Dan is becoming the man.

Detective Patrick Mulligan

Portrayed by veteran character actor Stephen Graham ("Boardwalk Empire," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"), this correctional officer plays a pivotal role in all the lives of the film's main characters. He can first be seen in the 1976 flashback that opens the film, as Frances Barrison is being moved from St. Estes Reform School to Ravencroft. While attempting to make an escape from a moving vehicle, Mulligan shoots the woman otherwise known as Shriek in the eye, thinking he's killed her — and nearly losing his hearing in the battle.

Decades later, the now-Detective Mulligan is overseeing the escalating crime investigations around San Francisco, and suspicious of Eddie Brock but unaware that he has a murderous symbiote sharing his body. Instead, Mulligan just seems to think Eddie is a weird dude.

When Eddie realizes that Cletus Kasady is on a mission to free Frances Barrison, Mulligan insists that she is dead — but soon learns the truth, and also discovers that Shriek has been holding a serious grudge against him. This all culminates in an engraved invitation to the so-called "Red Wedding," where Mulligan is a guest of honor. After the inevitable showdown with Shriek, Mulligan lives to fight another day — but seems to have developed glowing blue eyes and a fascination with the word "monster."

Lest you think Mulligan is just another generic cop (even though he frequently serves that role in the movie), he is actually based on Patrick Mulligan, a prominent character in Venom and Carnage comics from 2004–2012. His story began in "Venom Vs. Carnage" #1 and #2, as Carnage birthed a symbiote that would come to be known as Toxin. Mulligan, a New York City cop, became its host, and expectations were that Toxin would become a hero because of Mulligan's noble career.

But as time went on, Mulligan developed a fear and paranoia about having Toxin around his wife and newborn son, and although he assisted heroes like Spider-Man and the Avengers, he struggled with his newfound powers — even allowing Toxin at one point to murder a criminal. Eventually, Mulligan himself was killed, and the symbiote Toxin went on to other hosts.

Does Mulligan's glowing blue eyes indicate that Stephen Graham might have some toxic behavior ahead of him? While Marvel fans might hope so, we'll likely have to wait until the next "Venom" movie to learn more.

Random Security Guy

Okay, this one isn't so much a guy you need to know. But the title of this article is "Characters that mean more than you realize in 'Venom: Let There Be Carnage,'" and this hapless prison security guard might have the highest screentime-to-plot-advancement of anybody in the whole movie.

Moments after Carnage is born, it runs amok in the halls of San Quentin that once held Cletus Kasady, slaughtering a dozen or more officers along the way. All of a sudden, it corners one particularly non-threatening guard, pinning him against a wall. With fear in his eyes, the guy pleads: "Please, I've got a family!" 

Normally in movies, this would get our nameless security guard off the hook. Why would he even get that line, reminding the audience that his kids are about to be orphaned and his wife widowed, unless it was going to signal some sort of mercy?

But this is a "Venom" movie, and so there is no mercy to be found. Carnage instead seems to derive a particular glee from ramming a tentacle down the family man's throat, killing him from the inside out and then tossing his lifeless body to the ground. 

So why does that moment exist? The guard's encounter is showing that Carnage gives no quarter, and will show no mercy to any human he encounters. Combined with Cletus Kasady, the result is a ruthless, horrifying murder machine that must be stopped at all costs. Not bad for five words.

Little Simz

During what has to be the most surreal scene of "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," the recently separated Venom infiltrates what looks to be some kind of Pride-adjacent rave where its inhabitants assume the symbiote is a person in a really cool costume. It then drunkenly storms the stage, rants about Eddie, and becomes a hero to those in attendance.

Posters publicizing the event list the talent as "Little Simz," and that is who Venom takes the microphone away from, mid-performance. Born Simbiatu Abisola Abiola Ajikawo, the 27-year-old British-Nigerian artist is no character, but in fact an experimental rapper who has opened for the likes of Gorillaz, earned praise from Kendrick Lamar, and appeared previously on the Netflix show "Top Boy" and the BBC children's series "Spirit Warriors."

Little Simz also released a song in 2019 called "Venom," which doesn't seem to directly reference alien symbiotes, but is peppered with so many words that can't be published on this site that all you need to know is the chorus is a multiple repetition of the word "venom." Shortly before "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" arrived in theaters, she released her fourth studio album, entitled "Sometimes I Might Be Introvert."

According to director Andy Serkis, the Little Simz cameo came about because of Tom Hardy.

"She actually had made a song, unbeknownst to her, called 'Venom' that connected very much with the first movie," Serkis told Uproxx. "And so Tom got in touch with her and that song became sort of the focus."

Serkis revealed that the scene was originally written not as a rave but a "carnival of the damned." Hardy, who is credited on the film not only as a star but also a co-writer, sounds like he was a driving force behind the scene.

"Tom and [co-writer] Kelly [Marcel] were always about Venom coming out and going to a party that was a very sort of an LGBTQIA kind of festival," Serkis explained. "This is Venom's coming-out party."