Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) peeks out of Venom's skin in a new trailer for 'Venom: The Last Dance'
(Sony Pictures Releasing)

‘Venom: The Last Dance’ Trailer: WTF Is Going on With Toxin?

There's a lot to unpack here.

Happy Pride! Sony Pictures has officially debuted the first full-length trailer for Venom: The Last Dance, and with it, opened up a whole new can of worms regarding the future of the Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSU). More importantly, however, it also gave us a sneak peek at our next big bad: the symbiote Toxin.

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If “Venom 3, directed by 50 Shades of Grey alum Kelly Marcel” is the weirdest sentence you’ve read today, then clearly, you haven’t watched the latest trailer for Venom: The Last Dance. Tom Hardy is back and as sweaty and flustered as ever, reprising his role as Eddie Brock, the host of a dangerous alien symbiote known as Venom (also voiced by Hardy). And dare I say the threequel looks … promising?

Well, as far as SSU entries go. Venom: The Last Dance, which serves as the team’s last solo outing, doesn’t exactly have a high bar to clear given that its predecessors, 2018’s Venom and 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, garnered mixed reviews from audiences. Still, the Venom movies have carved out a special place in fans’ hearts thanks to their pure, unadulterated campiness, with the (borderline romantic?) relationship between Eddie and Venom being a particular highlight. Plus, the R ratings make for some pretty brutal kills, adult humor, and gory antics that are fun to see play out on screen. Venom defenders, rise up!

From the looks of it, the third Venom installment is going all-in on the action, with a high-stakes story that will see the duo being hunted down by government officials, all with an equally intriguing tagline: “Till death do they part.” According to the film’s synopsis, our leads will be “forced into a devastating decision that will bring the curtains down on Venom and Eddie’s last dance.” Juno Temple (Dr. Payne), Chiwetel Ejiofor (TBA), and Peggy Lu (Mrs. Chen) also star.

Let’s be real: if you’ve read any of the Venom comics, then you know this property isn’t afraid to get a little weird. Brain-eating goo aliens, cannibalism, shoving tongues down throats … yeah, Venom might very well be the most unhinged character in all of Marvel Comics, and his onscreen counterpart doesn’t fall far from the tree. Luckily, Eddie is there to match Venom’s freak. But this fan-favorite duo might be in jeopardy following the introduction of a familiar (and extremely powerful) comic book villain, Toxin.

Who is Toxin? Venom 3’s villain, explained

According to the latest trailer for Venom: The Last Dance, it looks like we’re about to get some much-needed payoff for a story thread set up in Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Toward the end of the 2021 sequel, detective Patrick Mulligan (Stephen Graham) seemingly gets a symbiote of his own, though the specifics remained vague—until now.

It’s hinted that Toxin, who has a lengthy history in the Marvel comics, has picked Mulligan to be his alter-ego, with one of his lines, “As long as Venom lives, everything, everyone will end,” pretty much cementing the fact that he’ll be one of the film’s central antagonists. Per The Direct, some internet sleuths also did a little digging, noting that the subtitles for the Venom: The Last Dance trailer labeled Mulligan as Toxin during this bit of dialogue instead of his normal human name. Convinced yet?

So, who is Toxin, and why is he important? Well, the character dates back to the VENOM VS. CARNAGE (2004) #2 comic, written by Peter Milligan and Clayton Crain, and is a notorious foe of Spider-Man. In the pages, it’s revealed that Carnage, the spawn of Venom, and his host Cletus Kasady went on to have a bloodthirsty little bundle of goo of their own named—you guessed it—Toxin. He bonds with NYPD cop Patrick Mulligan, who’s understandably wary of the alien’s hot-headedness given he has a wife and newborn baby. In an act of selflessness, Mulligan leaves home to be a full-time host in order to protect his loved ones, even, ironically enough, joining Spider-Man’s anti-supervillain crusade at one point.

Over the years, Toxin has had a few noteworthy hosts, but none were as important as Mulligan, who did his best to harness his symbiote’s abilities for good. However, he’s eventually killed by Blackheart, the son of Mephisto, and Toxin ends up taking over Eddie’s body. While Venom: The Last Dance doesn’t seem too dead-set on adapting Toxin’s comic book storyline beat-for-beat, the brief prison cell scene featured in the trailer suggests that Mulligan isn’t alone. And unlike his Marvel comics counterpart, the former cop might not be keenly interested in using Toxin for the sake of peace and justice. Welp.

Either way, it looks like we’re in for a full-on symbiote vs. symbiote war when Venom: The Last Dance tangos its way into movie theaters on October 25, 2024.


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Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.