Venom star Tom Hardy weighs in on the symbiote’s status as an LGBT+ icon

A picture of Venom from the 2018 movie Venom

Venom star Tom Hardy has opened up about the prevailing belief that the symbiote is an LGBT+ icon, saying he hoped to give “people some joy” with the new movie.

Director Andy Serkis and actor Hardy sat down with MTV UK to discuss Venom: Let There Be Carnage and their Marvel inspirations. In a stroke of genius, writer and critic Hanna Flint questioned the duo about the “popular view that Venom is a LGBTQ icon” and if that was done on purpose.

The original Venom film struck a chord with LGBT+ audiences, with many people in the community embracing the antihero as a queer icon. When Venom is fully united, the alien doesn’t identify inside the traditional gender binary, opting for using “we” as a preferred pronoun. Venom can also reproduce asexually and, at one point in the comics, has a child with Eddie.

So Eddie and Venom’s partnership can definitely be read as a queer relationship. They intimately understand one another, go inside each other’s bodies and need the other to survive. Their bond is so deep that they even have a dedicated fandom online and ship name – Symbrock.

Hardy, who plays both Eddie Brock and Venom, responded that they had “a lot of feedback from a lot of different people” after the success of the first Venom film in 2018.

“We filled and flowed with whatever aspect that anybody thought was enjoyable of the first and try to roll it into the second,” Hardy explained. “Because ultimately it’s about entertaining people and giving people some joy and having something to celebrate and go out and be entertained by it.”

He added: “That has purposes as well as being fun.”

Serkis previously told Uproxx that the second film in the Venom franchise would centre on a “love affair” between Eddie and the symbiote.

He also said Venom: Let There Be Carnage features a rave scene where Venom opens up about how much he misses Eddie after they had an argument. Serkis said the scene was originally going to be a “carnival of the damned” but ended up being inspired by an LGBT+ festival so it was like “Venom’s coming out party”.

He added there was also a parallel between Venom’s story and the lived experiences of people in the LGBT+ community.

“Well, what is interesting is that it’s just like, here he is kind of, he says in the movie, ‘We must stop this cruel treatment of aliens,’” Serkis shared. “He said, ‘You know, we all live on this ball of rock,’ you know?”

He added: “And so he inadvertently becomes a kind of… he’s speaking for the other. He’s speaking for freedom of the other.”

However, he has cautioned that the film is a love story “but not the love story you might think”. In his production notes for the Venom sequel, Serkis said the film is about the “extraordinary relationship between symbiote and host” rather than a traditional romantic love story, Comic Book reported.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage debuts in cinemas in the UK on 15 October.