Venom Theory: Riot Will Turn Into Carnage

The villain of Sony's Venom movie has been confirmed to be a little-known symbiote known as "Riot" - but is it possible this being is destined to become the far more famous Spider-Man villain, Carnage? A sociopathic serial killer, Carnage is Venom's most powerful nemesis. The monstrous creature was created when a symbiote bonded with a man who's addicted to death and bloodshed.

When Sony first announced the Venom movie, viewers assumed that Carnage would be the main villain. Superhero films tend to use "mirror image" bad guys, and Carnage seemed a natural choice. Where Eddie Brock tries to keep his bloodlust in check - the trailers have shown him battling with the symbiote, trying to insist that it should only harm criminals - Cletus Kasady revels in it. The feud between Venom and Carnage is deeply personal, and the stakes are high - when Carnage is around, anyone and everyone is in danger.

Related: Venom Movie Villains: All The Symbiotes Confirmed So Far

However, while Woody Harrelson is rumored to appear as Kasady in Venom, that's said to be more of a cameo tease; it appears that Sony is saving Carnage for a sequel of some kind, possibly even setting up a Maximum Carnage-inspired crossover event that pits their various antiheroes against the ruthless murderer. But could the studio actually be playing a bait-and-switch, subtly changing Riot so that he actually becomes Carnage? Let's look at the evidence.

The Changes Made to Riot for the Venom Movie

Riot in the Comics and Venom Movie

Riot is a character lifted straight from the comics, although Sony appear to have taken great liberties with the concept and design. In part that's to fit with the new origin story presented in Venom and make Riot a credible threat for Eddie Brock. After all, in the comics Riot is usually accompanied by four sibling symbiotes, and Venom has handily defeated all five of them at once. However, the changes that Sony have made are a little too significant for these two arguments to account for all of them.

The comic book version of Riot was introduced in the Venom: Lethal Protector miniseries, one of five symbiotes created by the Life Foundation after they forcibly extracted symbiote "seeds" from Venom himself. Each symbiote was bonded to one of the Life Foundation's security officers; in the case of Riot, the creature was bonded to the brutal mercenary named Trevor Cole. Unlike Venom, the Riot symbiote was initially unable to influence its host; it was too young, and thus lacked the symbiote's typically formidable mental resources.

The Five Symbiotes all had their own distinctive color, with Riot's being dark blue. Influenced by Cole, Riot developed a preference for forming the symbiote into blunt-edged, brutal weapons like maces and hammers. After Cole's death, the Riot symbiote spent some time jumping from host to host. It was most recently seen working for the US Government, bonded with Petty Officer Howard Ogden.

Related: Venom Trailer #3: The Best Scenes & HD Stills From the Movie

Venom's take on Riot is very different. In the film, the symbiote is one of several found by the Life Foundation, who believe that bonding with a symbiote may give humans the evolutionary edge to survive an imminent ecological catastrophe. At San Diego Comic-Con, we learned that the cinematic version of Riot will be unique in that it jumps from host to host; you can never see it coming because it could have bonded with anyone. What's more, given the symbiote was discovered rather than "hatched," it's unlikely to be as young; thus it could conceivably control any of its hosts. The Venom trailer confirmed that Riot will ultimately bond with Carlton Drake. Visually, the Riot symbiote of Venom is also different to the comics. Rather than deep blue in color, it's silver with red veins. What's more, it appears to prefer forming sharp, ax-like weapons rather than the typical blunt instruments of the comics.

It's important to note that, in Venom, the symbiotes themselves appear to have an agenda; in the trailer, Eddie Brock asks his symbiote what it wants; it's response it to assure him that he will find out. Whatever Riot's goals may be, though, they seem to involve a lot of death and destruction. It's also opposed by the Venom symbiote, which is significant given that Venom seems to have a rather pronounced bloodlust too.

Carnage's Role in the Venom Movie

Sony CEO Tom Rothman confirmed that Carnage would appear in Venom back in June last year, but his role appears to be little more than a cameo. It's generally believed that Woody Harrelson is playing the part of Cletus Kasady, the maniac who becomes Carnage. Harrelson himself has noted that he's "in a little fraction of the movie," but promised viewers that will be setup for "the next one."

It seems that Sony is in no hurry to use Carnage. They know he's a popular character and an ideal villain, but seem uncharacteristically reserved in how they plan to tease him out. Venom is really the origin of Eddie Brock, only setting the scene for Carnage for Venom 2 or some crossover event movie (this was originally mooted in the Sony email leaks). Some comic book readers have been disappointed at this, eager to see Venom and Carnage duke it out on the big screen, although they may not have to wait as long as expected...

Page 2 of 2: Could Riot Become Carnage?

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Key Release Dates
  • Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018
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