Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Trailer Raises Questions About Venom’s Identity

The latest trailer for Spider-Man 2 adds some wrinkles to previously popular theories regarding Venom's identity.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 Venom
Photo: PlayStation Studios

The 2023 PlayStation Showcase was a bit of a disappointment. Sure, plenty of our predictions came true, but the whole event was a very “meh” affair. Quite frankly, the most exciting part of the showcase was the final game, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and that’s mostly because its trailer showcased some actual gameplay. Despite the many new things we learned about the sequel in that trailer, though, it raised some new questions regarding Venom’s identity in the game.

Sony ended the PlayStation Showcase with a marvelous bang, pun definitely intended, by treating audiences to 12 uninterrupted minutes of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 footage. The video teased Kraven the Hunter as the main villain, a potentially larger world to explore that expands past Manhattan, and, most importantly of all, a Symbiote-infected Peter Parker. And where there’s a Black Suit Spider-Man, Venom isn’t far behind. But that raises an important question: Who will Venom be in the upcoming game?

Traditional thinking tells us that the identity of Venom in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will be the same as that of Venom in the Spider-Man comics, movies, and shows. Normally that would work, but unlike many of the other members of Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery, Venom has gone through several alter egos. After all, the villain is not a person so much as they are an alien symbiote puppeting a (sometimes willing) host. Besides, Marvel’s Spider-Man proved that these games are not afraid of changing some Spider-Man traditions from time to time.

Technically, Peter Parker was the first Venom since, in the comics, the symbiote bonded to him to create the iconic Black Suit. When the symbiote copied all of Parker’s spider powers and found a new host, it became the Venom we all know and love (and fear). However, Venom’s most recognizable host is arguably Eddie Brock: a journalist whose reputation was ruined by Spider-Man. After Spider-Man cast off the symbiote, it gained a massive grudge against him. When it found someone with an equally-big grudge against Spider-Man, they combined to form one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes.

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However, the symbiote isn’t strictly bound to Eddie. It has, on occasion, played a game of hot potato with hosts. The alien has gone on to possess the likes of Mac Gargan (aka. Scorpion), Parker’s school bully Flash Thompson, and even heroes such as Carol Danvers (the original Ms. Marvel), Ben Reilly (Parker’s clone), and Groot. Of course, that’s just in the comics.

So far, only one character in the previous Marvel’s Spider-Man games (the 2018 original and Miles Morales) served as a Venom host in the comics: Mac Gargan. He was one of the Sinister Six in the first game, but he didn’t show up in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Still, Gargan’s role as Venom isn’t entirely out of the question.

But what about the more popular hosts like Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson? Well, they haven’t shown up in the games yet, but developers introducing characters out of the blue like that is nothing new. Even still, it seems unlikely that they would assume such an important role over previously established characters given how much the Venom angle is being played up.

What about Kraven the Hunter? After all, the 2023 PlayStation Showcase trailer is clearly painting him as the game’s primary antagonist. It’s an interesting theory, but it’s unlikely. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was officially revealed during the 2021 PlayStation Showcase, which teased the appearances of both Kraven and Venom. However, in that video, Kraven asks if one of the Spider-Men can give him what he desires (i.e., a worthy hunt). Surprisingly, Venom answers from the shadows, “Yes, we will.” While video game trailers are rarely known for their linear storytelling and imagery, it’s probably safe to assume Kraven won’t be Venom.

All of that information brings us to the most likely (if still somewhat surprising) Venom candidate: Harry Osborn.

Harry was absent for 99.99% of the Marvel’s Spider-Man games. Players hear recordings from Harry during certain side quests, but that’s it. For most of those adventures, players and Parker believe Harry is in Europe because that’s what Norman Osborne claimed. However, the truth is much more sinister (and in line with the bioengineering of questionable ethics Norman Osborne usually gets up to).

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It turns out that Harry has been in stasis undergoing experimental medical treatments to cure his Oshtoran Syndrome. Said cure involved the Devil’s Breath Doctor Octopus unleashed on NYC in a maddened attempt to destroy Norman. How does this link Harry to Venom? Well, in true Marvel Cinematic Universe fashion, a Marvel’s Spider-Man post-credits scene shows Harry floating in a chamber filled with black, web-like growths that react to Norman when he touches the glass. Furthermore, a Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales post-credits scene shows that Harry is still in the chamber, still covered in the black webbing, and is slowly waking up. These tiny segments are obviously setting up something big, and since they link Harry Osborne to what appear to be Venom-like tendrils, the connection is pretty clear: Harry Osborne will be Venom in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Or at least, he will be connected to the Venom arc in the game.

Post-credits scenes are one thing, but does anything else hint that Venom and Harry Osborne are one Marvel’s Spider-Man 2? Shared voice actors, perhaps? Well, that’s where things get more complicated. In Marvel’s Spider-Man, Harry is played by Scott Porter, who you might recognize as Heimdall from God of War Ragnarok. However, if you look at Marvel’s Spider-Man 2’s IMDB page, you will notice that Tony Todd (Candyman himself), is voicing Venom. On one hand, that could disprove Harry is secretly Venom, but on the other hand, Spider-Man villains have occasionally juggled multiple actors in a single show or movie before. Besides, it’s reasonable to assume that Tony Todd’s voice is intended to represent a combination of the symbiote and its host.

Speaking of voice actors, it should be noted that Scott Porter (who voiced Harry in Marvel’s Spider-Man) previously said that he will not be returning to voice Harry Osborn in Spider-Man 2. Apparently, the developers wanted a voice actor who was “photo-real,” and the belief was that Porter was too old to play the younger visual representation of Harry. That information also seems to suggest that there will be scenes in the game where Harry’s voice must match his in-game physical form, which would also suggest that, if Harry is Venom, he may not be Venom for the entire game.

All of that information raises some fascinating questions. How does Peter get the Symbiote suit in this game? Is it passed along by the same tendrils we see around Harry? For that matter, if Venom is Harry, then what are we to make of that trailer that seemed to suggest Venom and Kraven are at odds? Was that just a bit of cheeky trailer editing, or is there a genuine conflict between the two? Could Venom even be an antihero in this game (as we previously speculated)? For that matter, the whole “we will” line really feels like something Eddie Brock would usually say, but we haven’t him yet. While we’re on the subject does Harry being Venom mean that the Hobgoblin will not appear in these games? Could Hobgoblin end up being someone else (if the character is ever featured at all)? Could multiple characters wind up getting infected before the game is finished?

Until Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 launches, we might never learn who is truly Venom in the game. For all we know, the symbiote suit will fully take over Peter Parker and turn him into Venom, but for now, most signs seem to point to Harry Osborne. But who do you think will be Venom in the game? Let us know in the comments.