The internet can rejoice: Riz Ahmed, who broke out in a massive way last year with The Night Of and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will be joining Tom Hardy in Sony's Venom movie. The news broke last night, and instantly sent nerds and fans to their keyboards to speculate who Ahmed might be playing in the film. So far, details of his character have been kept under wraps, with the only major announcement being that he was playing a popular Marvel character in the film. That's enough to speculate on though, and fans have already been coming up with theories on who Ahmed is playing.
We know very little about the Venom film as a whole. We know that it won't cross over with any other Marvel properties, especially the Spider-Man films. We know Tom Hardy is playing Eddie Brock, a.k.a. Venom, and the film will have a strong horror tilt. The only other information we know is that Venom will be battling Carnage in the film. Carnage is a former serial killer named Cletus Kasady who also uses the Venom organism to gain powers. Kasady is a cruel, maniacal character, so whoever does play him must be ready to step up and bring their evil A-game.
While some well placed sources, via Tracking Board, have said that Ahmed is up for the role of Carnage and indeed will be playing the character, others have said that he is up for a different popular character. Tracking Board also reports that Ahmed playing Carnage is a twist in the film that is being used to surprise audiences, while another insider says he's playing a different role entirely. Multiple reports have also said that he originally auditioned for Carnage, but due to script changes will be playing another character entirely.
We can at least consider the idea that he's not playing Carnage, as that role would most likely be highly publicized when it was cast. Ahmed was also up against actors like Matt Smith and Pedro Pascal for the part, according to Variety's Justin Kroll. The wide array of actors who were after this part doesn't help when it comes to figuring out who this mysterious character is, but it does point to it being a major role if such big names as Smith and Pascal were being considered as well. Not that Ahmed doesn't have some serious cred after his banner 2016, but it shows that this role was in high demand.
There are a few other villains that Ahmed might be up for playing, assuming he's playing a villainous role. Sony has said that the spin-off films will focus more on villains and characters who haven't been brought to life on the big screen. This means we can rule out any villains who have shown up in previous Spider-films, as well as any villains who've appeared in Marvel movies. That said, there are a couple of villains who Ahmed might be playing who could appear in the Venom film as either a friend or foe.
One of the oddest parts of Tracking Board's article is that it says that Ahmed is a "bit of a... chameleon." While this is true, the ellipsis are somewhat odd. Why draw attention to that one sentence? Perhaps Ahmed is playing the Chameleon, a Spider-Man villain who has yet to jump off the page to the screen. It's a bit of a leap, but the fact there is a villain named Chameleon and the Tracking Board article made a big deal of the fact that Ahmed is a chameleon of an actor could point to a roundabout way of saying that yes, that is the role that Ahmed has been cast in.
Another villain Ahmed could possibly be playing is Kraven the Hunter, who will be heading up a spin-off of his own. With a big star attached and an introduction in the Venom film, Kraven could see a successful turn as a solo figure, and Ahmed more than has the talent and charisma to pull off the important character. There is very little to support this theory other than the fact that multiple sources are reporting he is not playing Carnage and instead is up for a different character, but given Ahmed's talents we can only hope he's playing a character who'll earn their own spin-off.
Ultimately, we have very little to go on when it comes to speculation. We have conflicting reports, and Ahmed has not even been cast yet. It's likely that when he is finally officially announced as part of the cast, we'll learn his character's true identity. Until then, we can take to the message boards and forums to discuss who exactly he is playing.
Who do you think Ahmed is playing? Sound off in the comments below, and keep checking in to Screen Rant for more news on the Venom film.