|Directed by||Andy Serkis|
|Screenplay by||Kelly Marcel|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
Venom 2 is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Venom, produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel. Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is intended to be the third film in Sony's Marvel Universe and the sequel to Venom (2018). The film is being directed by Andy Serkis from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel, and stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock / Venom, alongside Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Reid Scott, and Naomie Harris.
Plans for a sequel to Venom began during production on that film, with Harrelson cast to make a brief appearance as Cletus Kasady at the end of Venom with the intention of him playing the villain role in a potential sequel. Work began in January 2019, with Marcel and the lead cast confirmed to return. Serkis was hired that August, and filming began that November at Leavesden Studios in England.
Venom 2 is scheduled for release in the United States on October 2, 2020.
- Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock / Venom: An investigative journalist who is the host of an alien symbiote that imbues him with super-human abilities and a violent alter-ego: Venom.
- Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady / Carnage: A serial killer who also becomes the host of an alien symbiote.
- Michelle Williams as Anne Weying: A district attorney and Eddie's ex-fiancée.
- Reid Scott as Dan Lewis: A doctor and Anne's boyfriend.
- Naomie Harris as Shriek: Kasady's love interest.
During the long development of the 2018 film Venom, the character Carnage was expected to appear as an antagonist. During pre-production on that film, the creative team decided not to include the character so they could focus on introducing the protagonists, Eddie Brock and Venom. Director Ruben Fleischer felt that leaving Venom's most formidable villain for a sequel would give the franchise "a place to go" and would be a natural next step, so they decided to introduce Carnage in a mid-credits scene at the end of the first film with the intention of featuring him in a potential sequel. Fleischer wanted to cast Woody Harrelson in the role, feeling there was a "natural connection" between the character and Harrelson's performance in Natural Born Killers (1994), and asked Harrelson while the pair were discussing a sequel to their film Zombieland (2009). After meeting with Fleischer and Tom Hardy—who portrays Brock and Venom—for dinner, Harrelson agreed to take on the part. Harrelson described his decision as a roll of the dice since he was unable to read a script for the sequel before signing on to the first film. In August 2018, ahead of Venom's release, Hardy confirmed that he had signed on to star in two sequels.
At the end of November 2018, Sony gave an October 2, 2020 release date to an untitled Marvel sequel that was believed to be Venom 2, which would place the film in the same release timeframe as the first Venom; box office analysts believed by then that Venom had been successful enough to guarantee a sequel would be made. A month later, Venom writer Jeff Pinkner confirmed that a sequel was "happening", but he was not involved in writing it at that point. Fleischer reiterated this, saying that he could not discuss a sequel but he saw the first film as Brock and Venom "coming together. So there’s a natural evolution from that to [a sequel where it is] like, okay, now what’s it like to live together? It’s like a bromantic sort of relationship." In January, Kelly Marcel signed a "significant" deal with Sony to write and executive produce the sequel after also working on the script for the first film. This marked the official beginning of work on the film for the studio, and was revealed alongside confirmation of Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Amy Pascal returning as producers. Hardy and Harrelson were also expected to return for the sequel, along with Michelle Williams in the role of Brock's love interest Anne Weying. No director was confirmed for the film, with Sony considering replacing Fleischer due to his commitments to Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), though he still intended to be involved in Venom 2.
By the end of July 2019, Sony hoped for filming to begin that November and had met with several candidates to replace Fleischer as director since he was still completing work on Zombieland: Double Tap at that time; directors the studio met with include Andy Serkis, Travis Knight, and Rupert Wyatt. Sony was also interested in Rupert Sanders directing the film, but that "didn’t work out". Serkis confirmed at the start of August that he had discussed the project with Sony and it was "potentially something that might happen", shortly before he was officially hired to direct the film. Serkis was partly hired due to his experience working with CGI and motion-capture technology as both an actor and director. Discussing the film soon after his hiring, Serkis said that Hardy had been working closely with Marcel on the sequel's screenplay.
In September 2019, Hutch Parker was revealed to have joined the sequel as a producer several months earlier. A friend of Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman, Parker previously served as a producer for several Marvel-based films produced by 20th Century Fox. At that time, Reid Scott was also expected to reprise his role from the first film. In mid-October, Fleischer stated that he was happy to let Serkis take over the franchise following the negative critical reaction that the first film received, believing that reviewers had unfairly treated the "crowdpleasing movie", potentially due to biases against Sony and towards Marvel Studios' rival superhero films. By then, the character Shriek was expected to appear in the sequel as a love interest for Carnage and the film's secondary villain. Casting was underway for the character, and the field for the role was expanding at that time with many different actresses being looked at for the part. Several days later, Naomie Harris entered negotiations to join the film as Shriek.
Principal photography began on November 15, 2019, at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England under the working title Fillmore. Robert Richardson serves as cinematographer for the film, reuniting with Serkis after they worked together on Breathe (2017). In December, Harris was confirmed to have joined the film when Stephen Graham was cast in an undisclosed role. Tolmach stated that there was a chance the sequel could be rated R following the success of the similarly R-rated Joker (2019), as well as previous successful R-rated comic book films such as Deadpool (2016) and Logan (2017). However, Tolmach cautioned that the PG-13 rating of the first Venom had led to box office success and they would not be looking to change the franchise's tone simply because it had worked for others. Tolmach added that the biggest lesson learned from the first Venom was that fans loved the relationship between Brock and Venom, and the sequel would focus more on the two characters together because of this.
Hardy confirmed in August 2018 that he had also signed on to star in a third Venom film.
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