Who Is Riot? The Venom Movie Villain & Comic Backstory Explained

The latest (and probably last) trailer for Venom gave viewers their first glimpse of the movie's villain, a monstrous symbiote known as Riot. The last few months have seen Sony gradually pull back the curtain on Venom, unveiling a film that's strongly lifted from the "Lethal Protector" comics.

In Venom, it seems the symbiotes are recovered by the sinister Life Foundation, run by Riz Ahmed's Carton Drake. Drake believes the Life Foundation's experiments will secure the future of the human race. Convinced that environmental collapse will lead the human race into space, Drake begins to invest in space exploration - and stumbles across the symbiotes. He believes bonding with these symbiotes will give human beings the edge they need in order to survive in a dangerously unstable world. "He's trying to do right by humanity and save the future," Ahmed said at SDCC, "but as they say, to make an omelette you got to break some eggs."

Related: The VENOM Movie Makes The Symbiote The Superhero

But that means Venom isn't the only symbiote in town. Drake has been experimenting with this space goo for some time, and he has other symbiotic warriors who serve as his agents. The most important of them, now confirmed as the film's key villain, is a symbiote known as Riot.

Last Updated: August 6

Riot is the Venom Movie Villain

Riot is rather different to other symbiotes; while most remain bonded to a single person, he moves from host to host, bonding with anyone in order to find its target. As director Ruben Fleischer explained, "He has a unique trait. You don't know where Riot is going to turn up." As the trailer shows, when the Riot symbiote possesses a host, it turns into a massive and monstrous being similar to the Venom of the Ultimate Comics line. Riot will actually possess Carlton Drake himself in the end, with the trailer ending with a scene in which Drake/Riot launch an attack upon Venom himself.

This makes perfect sense from a narrative perspective. Superhero films are well-known for their love of "doppelganger" villains, opponents who are distorted reflections of the hero. Superman battles rogue Kryptonians, Green Lantern clashes with Sinestro the Yellow Lantern, Wolverine tussles with Sabretooth, and of course one of Spider-Man's greatest nemeses in the comics is Venom. The advantage of this approach is that the villain inverts the hero, shining a light on just what kind of monster they could be if they ever truly cut loose. In this regard, having Riot bond with Carlton Drake is a stroke of genius; it allows the film's other reflective villain to be a physical menace, with the two eventually bonding together into a single monstrous entity.

Who is Riot in the Spider-Man Comics?

Until the early '90s, Venom was a Spider-Man villain. Marvel saw potential in the character, though, and had Eddie Brock begin the journey to becoming an antihero, star of his own ongoing comic books. That led to David Michelinie's classic Venom: Lethal Protector run, which saw Eddie attempt to start a new life in San Francisco. Unfortunately for Eddie, he soon fell foul of the Life Foundation. In the comics, this organization believed that the Earth would soon suffer an extinction level event. Carlton Drake was a businessman, not a scientist, and he had the idea of selling spots in a survival bunker to the rich and famous. When Drake saw Venom in San Francisco, he realized this was his opportunity to create the ultimate super-soldiers to defend the bunker in the event of an apocalypse. He captured Venom, and extracted symbiotic "seeds" in order to create new symbiotes of his own.

Related: Venom Comic-Con Trailer: Why Didn't Sony Release It Online?

Riot was one of Drake's creations, although the character wasn't given a name at first. In the Lethal Protector run, he was simply one of Drake's mercenaries bonded to a brutal symbiote; the name "Riot" was given to him by a line of action figures and, although there's precious little similarity between the action figure and the comic book character, the name stuck. Riot's host was killed at the end of the Lethal Protector miniseries, but the symbiote survived, and over the years it's jumped around a lot. The most recent Riot host was Petty Officer Howard Ogden, who worked for the US military in battle against Carnage.

Page 2 of 2: Riot Is Just One Of Five Symbiotes In Venom

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