The Venom movie remains a mystery -- though, with each passing day, it's becoming a well-cast mystery, at the very least. Tom Hardy has signed on to the Sony Spider-Man spinoff movie, which will be directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Gangster Squad). And new reports attach Rogue One standout Riz Ahmed to the super-villain story... though his role is being kept under wraps.

So, let's fire up the speculation machine to see who Riz Ahmed could potentially play when Venom arrives in theaters next October. The movie's due to film in the fall, and it will operate in the same world as Tom Holland's Spider-Man, though it will not be connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That being said, it's expected to be populated with familiar characters from Spidey's comic-book pages, and the initial reports on Ahmed's casting say he will be playing a "popular" Marvel character. Based on rumors we have been hearing about Venom and the planned Sony Spider-Man spinoff universe, here are the characters we realistically think Riz Ahmed could be playing in Ruben Fleischer's Venom:

Carnage

Before we get too far into this entry, we need to point out that conflicting reports already are swirling about the possibility of Ahmed playing Cletus Cassidy, the homicidal maniac who eventually becomes Carnage. Some background information: Both Venom and Carnage owe their superpowers to an alien symbiote that Spider-Man brought back from space. The origin of these characters likely will have to change in the Venom movie, but if you are going to introduce Venom into a cinematic world, then pitting him against Carnage makes the most sense.

However, reports that confirm Ahmed for Carnage quickly were met with counter-reports (like this one, from THR) that say he's up for a different, major role -- with names like Matt Smith and Pedro Pascal being rumored for Cassidy. Someone is going to play Carnage in the Venom movie. It just might not be Riz Ahmed.

Kraven the Hunter

This goes beyond "popular" Spider-Man characters that Riz Ahmed bears a striking resemblance to (though he'd make a fantastic Kraven on screen). The party line at Sony has been that they'd love for spinoff movies to focus on villains that we haven't yet seen in Spider-Man movies, and no one has brought Kraven the Hunter to life on screen. Yes, it's possible that Kraven is being held for an MCU Spider-Man story. But what if they introduce him in the Venom movie, creating a connective tissue between the Sony spinoff and the Marvel/Sony collaborations?

In a report several weeks back, Kraven's name was also floated as one of the characters that Sony hoped to develop -- alongside Mysterio, Venom, Black Cat and Silver Sable -- so this could be the way that Ruben Fleischer plans to use Riz Ahmed in Venom. We'd certainly be down.

Mysterio

This one's a bit of a stretch, though as I mentioned in the previous entry, Sony seems hellbent on making the illusionist Mysterio into a viable villain for the spinoff Spider-Man universe. Mysterio never struck me as a Rogues Gallery villain who translated into a modern time. Marvel found a way to update The Vulture (Michael Keaton), and the tease for The Scorpion made me believe that he'd be a viable villain. But Mysterio wears a fishbowl on his head, sports a ridiculously billowy cape and an Aquaman-tight Spandex suit. Also, as I just said, he's basically an illusionist who tricks Spider-Man with elaborate visual gags. Worse villains have shown up in numerous comic-book adaptations, for sure, but until I see Mysterio actually WORK on screen, I'm filing him away as a possible mistake waiting to happen.

The Chameleon

This could be interesting. The Chameleon is another one of those classic Spider-Man villains (literally, introduced in 1963's The Amazing Spider-Man #1) who has yet to see the light of day on a movie screen. This might be because Chameleon didn't originally have major super powers to speak of -- he just used techniques to disguise his identity. Riz Ahmed isn't an imposing figure, so I could see him being employed to play a stealth, manipulative figure like The Chameleon in a Venom movie. Also, he could then be shared with the MCU so that he appears in an upcoming Spider-Man story.

It's the use of the word "popular" that keep tripping us up as we speculate. Are Mysterio and Chameleon popular enough to qualify? Because of this, my money is on Ahmed playing Kraven the Hunter in Venom, and potentially setting himself up for a future Kraven movie... or moving Kraven over to the MCU. Thoughts? Head to the next page and vote in our poll.

Who Might Riz Ahmed Play in Venom?
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