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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Riot from the 2018 film. The mainstream version can be found here: Riot (Marvel).
There are more of us.... millions more. They will follow wherever I lead.
You have a strong host.... but not strong enough.
~ Riot Symbiote
Riot: Venom… get in the rocket! Venom: No! We won't let you destroy this world! Riot: Then DIE!!
~ Riot about to battle Venom.
The Riot Symbiote is one of the two main antagonists (along with Carlton Drake) of the 2018 film Venom, based on the famous comic book of the same name. He is the destructive and sadistic leader of the symbiotes, who bonds with Drake in order to accomplish their shared goal of bringing his race to Earth to bond with humanity; although, unlike Drake, he does this in order to have the symbiotes destroy and devour the human race. This incarnation of Riot is also significantly stronger and more vicious than its original comics counterpart.
He was voiced by Riz Ahmed in one of his first villainous roles, with his other being Drake.
Riot was one of the four Symbiotes that was transported inside a comet from their planet to Earth. While the first three Symbiotes were captured by Drake and his men to perform illegal experiments on human hosts, Riot was the only one to escape, landing in Malaysia. For six months, Riot made all his way from Malaysia to the U.S. by hopping from one host body to another. Taking a little girl as its current host, Riot made his way to Life Foundation HQ, where he learns of Drake's intent to use a space probe into delivering more symbiotes. Knowing that doing so might lead the Symbiotes to use Earth as a feeding ground, Riot forms a deal with Drake to help him out before bonding with him.
However, Eddie Brock refuses to let this happen, even the Venom symbiote agreed to help him out as he states that Riot happens to be the 'team leader' that has 's**t you've never seen' and must be taken down. To that end, Brock re-bonds with Venom, who heads off to confront Riot at the launch platform. Riot demanded Venom to join him by ordering him to get into the rocket, but Venom refuses, prompting an angry Riot to declare that he will kill him for this. A battle between the symbiotes ensued, with Riot gaining the upper hand on Venom. However, Anne Weying uses a high-pitch sound to briefly weaken both symbiotes, but Riot stands his grounds before stabbing Brock and leaving him for dead. Fortunately, Venom saves Brock's life by bonding with him again as Riot boards the probe.
Just as probe is about to take off, Venom manages to soar into the hull. Upon witnessing this, Riot angrily calls Venom a traitor, but Venom taunts Riot to have a nice life before falling. Using Riot's weapon when he stabbed him, he creates enough damage to ensure that the probe won't reach space, causing the fuel to spill out. The leaked fuel contacts the burning engines, causing the probe to combust and explode, killing both Riot and Drake due to the burning heat in the process.
Riot represents the worst side of the Symbiotes; an intensely sadistic maniac who seems to enjoy nothing but destroying and killing everything in sight, for hardly any reason at all. This is different from the protagonist Venom who, while vicious and not hesitating to murder people, still has standards and often doesn't hurt innocents, preferring to kill bad people after its interaction with Eddie Brock, making him more of an anti-hero/anti-villain. They also have different relationships to their hosts: Venom grows to genuinely care for Eddie and ultimately bonds with him, while Riot often switches between hosts and couldn't care less about Drake.
Much like Drake, Riot has a hatred for humanity and seeks to bring the symbiotes to Earth, though unlike Drake, who does it because he wants to evolve humanity, Riot seems to do it solely because of his own bigotry against them. Despite working together, they have quite different personalities: Drake is a cold, calculating, sophisticated and pragmatic genius whose corporate status is important to his publicity, occasionally compelling the man to put a nice facade and acts for publicity, while Riot is a rampaging brute who has no time for pragmatism and is solely interested in immediate consequence. However, both are irredeemable freaks.
Powers and Abilities
Eddie: You can take this guy right? Venom: He has got s**t you have never seen. Eddie: What does that mean? What are our chances? Venom: Pretty much zero.
~ Eddie and Venom discussing their odds against Riot.
Riot is stated by Venom to be the strongest and most brutal Symbiote. Through Venom, he had humiliated weaker symbiotes including Venom himself in combat. Carlton Drake, on the other hand, lacked superhuman abilities of his own, but he proved compatible with Riot and the dynamic between the duo gives birth to a chaotic and unpredictable killing machine.
Possession: Being a symbiote, Riot can possesses any living beings upon physical contact with them, passing into their flesh as if intangible and taking full control of their bodies. Once inside the host, Riot is able to enhance their physical abilities to inhuman levels, allowing them to overpower other humans with ease and heal from severe injuries such as broken bones and damaged tissue in seconds. Riot displayed that it can suppress its host's mind to fully control their bodies should they reject him. Should they accept it, both it and them can able to almost meld minds with them and work collectively with them while sharing the same body as demonstrated through the teamwork with Drake. The abilities it can use while bonded with a host, as well as how good its host exploit them for their advantage, is fueled by the compatibility to each other.
Superhuman Strength: Riot can enhance its host's strength to superhuman level, to the point where he can smash through machinery and break solid rock with ease.
Superhuman Mobility: Riot can enhance its host's speed and agility to superhuman level, allowing him to move several feet per second and scaling buildings, as well as being able to move on all fours with ease.
Superhuman Durability: Possessing absolute control over its mass and that of host it bonded with, Riot can enhance its durability to the point of immune to bullets and sharp weapons.
Shapeshifting: Thanks to its full control over its mass, Riot can form constructs and appendages from its very being, which Drake can exploit in combat.
Symbiotic Costume: Riot has the basic ability to fully emerge from Drake while remaining attached to him, enveloping its host's body to form its own as a sentient, malleable but durable body complete with eyes, claws and a mouth with powerful jaws and sharp teeth while increases in mass, turning him into powerful opponent.
Construct Creation: Riot's mastery over its shapeshifting ability enables it to create weapons from its very being, including blades, flails, darts, spikes, and claws. Its mastery over this ability reaches to an extent where the constructs noticeably more solid in form and can be detached and/or launched at will. By slamming his hand on any solid surface (ex. ground and catwalk), he can create a trail of spikes that will ram a desired target. In fact, Venom is skeptical about the chance of it and Eddie to win the fight against Riot.
Biological Assimilation: During the final fight between Venom and Riot, Riot momentarily absorbs Venom and Eddie into its body, making him appear more larger, though both of them managed to break out of it after Anne Weying used a high pitch frequency from a P.A. system to weaken the Symbiotes. Additionally, Riot demonstrated the ability to separate other Symbiotes from their hosts through physical contact, as it was able to rip Venom off Eddie's body for a short time.
Riot: (taking over Drake in anger) WHERE IS HE?!! Eddie: OH GOD!! Riot:WHERE IS VENOM?!! Eddie: That is the most ugliest looking thing I have ever seen!!
~ Riot interrogating Eddie Brock.
Drake: Your friends... the others, I apologize, I tried to keep them alive. Riot: There are more of us.... millions more. They will follow wherever I lead. Drake: Wherever we lead. Riot: Yes... we. But first, we must retrieve him.
~ Riot conversing with Drake after interrogating Eddie and planning on retrieving Venom for their ultimate plan.
You are NOTHING!!!
~ Riot after recombining with Carlton Drake and immediately stabbing Eddie Brock.
Riot: “WHAT?” NOOOO!!!! TRAITOR!!! Venom: Have a nice life!!
~ Riot's last words to Venom before being killed by the rocket's explosion.
The comic book version of Riot has some differences from the film iteration:
While the comic version has a backstory as a part of Venom that fell out and became an entity of its own, the film version skips this and makes it a civilian of Venom's planet and isn't related to Venom itself in any way.
The comics version of Riot has an entirely different host as Trevor Cole, while in the film iteration of Riot's host is Carlton Drake, though interestingly enough both hosts are part of the Life Foundation.
The way Riot rips Venom out of Eddie Brock was a reference the cover art of Venom: Carnage Unleashed #3, where Carnage is doing the same thing.
Interestingly, Carnage was originally to be included in an early script, but this idea is scrapped with Riot as one of the main antagonists. Regardless, Cletus Kasady appears in the film's post-credits scene and his Carnage persona will instead debut in the upcoming sequel to Venom.
In spite of being one of the two main antagonists, Riot has less screen time than his host Carlton Drake. However, Riot is by far more dangerous than Drake (if not worse than him) due his vicious and violent behavior.
While the comic version has a backstory as a part of Venom that fell out and became an entity of its own, the film version skips this and makes it a civilian of Venom's planet and isn't related to Venom itself in any way. **The comics version of Riot has an entirely different host as Trevor Cole, while in the film iteration of Riot's host is Carlton Drake, though interestingly enough both hosts are part of the Life Foundation.