For those that stuck around to see Venom’s post-credits scene in 2018, the biggest surprise wasn’t the blatant sequel bait in the form of Woody Harrelson’s carnage-pledging Cletus Kasady—it was the luscious curls on top of his head.
Throughout the Marvel comics, the man-who-would be-Carnage most frequently sports a shock of messy orange hair, and said hair’s curliness has varied from illustrator to illustrator over the years. But when Harrelson’s Kasady appeared behind bars in Venom’s stinger sporting a wig of red ringlets, it caught some viewers off guard, and prompted laughs from others.
In this writer’s estimation, the wig worked—it seemed to meet Venom on its own gonzo wavelength, and suggested that Harrelson would be putting a distinct spin on Kasady, a convict who becomes the infamous supervillain Carnage after his body plays host to the same alien symbiote that created Venom. Of course, the bold styling choice had its detractors in long-time fans of the character, not least of which was Harrelson himself.
In short, the curls don’t stick around for the sequel. Though Harrelson’s Kasady returns for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, promising a monster mash showdown between Kasady’s alter ego and Eddie Brock’s (Tom Hardy), his hair’s been given a noticeable trim. During Harrelson’s virtual press rounds for the film, The A.V. Club asked the actor what happened to the wig this time around and his answer was refreshingly frank: “I didn’t like it—I didn’t like that wig. I just wanted something a little more realistic.”
But axing the curly wig wasn’t the only influence Harrelson had over his character’s look in the sequel. When he’s not seen in his prison jumper, Kasady’s streetwear fashion-sense is decidedly ‘90s. Designed by Joanna Eawell, the costuming is a nod to the decade of adrenaline-fueled comics the character was borne from (Kasady is introduced in 1991's The Amazing Spider-Man #344, while Carnage appears in issue #361). His wardrobe is also, notably, all vegan, per the request of Harrelson:
“Of course, [Joanna] made everything vegan, which a guy like me does appreciate. I haven’t worn leather in many, many years, so a lot of really cool costume people have helped accommodate my, uh, fetish. [Laughs.] But she’s great and I love the look.”
You can check out more our conversation with Woody Harrelson in the video above, including his thoughts on reuniting with War For The Planet Of The Apes co-star Andy Serkis, and how the pair worked together to create Kasady-as-Carnage’s distinct sense of movement.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage opens in theaters on Friday, October 1. For a refresher on Venom, you can read writer Jesse Hassenger’s 2018 review here, or check out his fresh take on the sequel here. You can also watch our video interview with Tom Hardy to hear how the sequel ignores the critics in favor of delivering what the fans want to see.