When the first image from the upcoming Venom movie came out, Marvel superfans immediately spotted that in the notebook that Eddie Brock is seen holding, the words “The Life Foundation” are scribbled. In the film, Eddie (Tom Hardy) is a journalist who investigates the mysterious Life Foundation and its founder, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). The foundation made a prominent appearance in the Venom: Lethal Protector comic miniseries that the MCU's Venom, out Oct. 5, is loosely based on. Fortunately, it's very much not real.
In that miniseries, the Life Foundation is a survivalist group that believed the end of the Cold War would cause a nuclear holocaust. Their goal is to make sure that those who are wealthy survive, creating a privileged utopian society. The foundation’s motivations don’t sound too far-fetched in real life; the organization's mission does mirror recurring class issues of certain rich people only wanting to help themselves. If the film does follow the plot of Lethal Protector, that means that the Life Foundation will have a large role in this story.
In the comics, Venom comes to life when a symbiote, an alien life form that uses humans as hosts, reaches Eddie Brock. But the Life Foundation becomes part of the story once they kidnap Venom and clone parts of his symbiote body to create five new symbionts: Agony, Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Scream. They each have their own set of powers and will wreak havoc for Venom in the film.
Screen Rant reports that at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, it was confirmed that Riot would be the prime antagonist. He's the symbiote that merges with Ahmed's character and appears in the latest trailer. Carlton Drake being the host for Riot is a change from the comics storyline, where Riot takes over Trevor Cole, a security officer from the foundation.
In the comics, Riot has the ability of manifesting weapons from himself, making him the ultimate villain for Venom to battle in the movie. But his role had previously been much smaller, with all the symbiotes combining forces equally rather than having one of them be more powerful than the rest. In the movie, according to the information provided at the time, their role will be to help Riot, becoming sidekicks, per se. The trailer doesn’t show all five of them, so it’s unclear if all will make an appearance, but Scream is shown working alongside Riot.
Scream (played by Michelle Lee) is the only mainly female symbiote out of the five and her powers include strength, wall-crawling, camouflage, and more. Given how there are various version of Scream’s backstory in the comics, it’s unclear what aspects of her story will appear in the movie, but her involvement in the comic begins when she volunteers while working for the Life Foundation to have a symbiont take over her body.
While not many details have been revealed yet about the movie version of Venom, it’s clear that the Life Foundation will have an impactful role in the movie, becoming the center of the plot like in Lethal Protector, in a way that’ll make you thankful it’s not real.