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Is Spider-Man: Far From Home Introducing the Chameleon?

Spider-Man-Chameleon

Few details have been released concerning the sequel to director Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was only recently revealed the film is titled Spider-Man: Far From Home. Before that, it was reported Jake Gyllenhaal was in talks to play the villainous Mysterio, but other than that, there's little definitive revealed about the plot or characters. Until now, that is. The cast has been given shape with reports that JB Smoove had been added in an unspecified key role, and, just today, that Numar Acar will play a mysterious character named Dimitri.

For longtime Marvel comics readers, this may come as an exciting development, as that raises the possibility of Spider-Man's very first supervillain, Dmitri Smerdyakov, better known as the illusive and lethal Chameleon.

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Introduced in 1963 in The Amazing Spider-Man #1, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the Chameleon used a multi-pocket disguise vest to infiltrate a defense facility and steal missile plans. Not only does he get away with the theft, he also frames Spider-Man. After a chase and brief battle, the Chameleon is defeated, and the wall-crawler's name is cleared ... for the most part. The issue is a great example of who the Chameleon is as a villain: a highly trained spy and a master of disguise. But there's more to him than that.

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Over the years it was revealed that Chameleon is actually related to another classic Spider-Man foe. He's the half-brother of Sergei Kravinoff, aka Kraven the Hunter, to whom Dmitri had formed a complex and tragic bond.

Dmitri was the illegitimate son of Nikolai Kravinoff and a servant girl, which is why Nikolai and his wife, Sonya, despised him. So much so, in fact, that young Dmitri began to hate himself. The only member of the family that didn't seem to loathe him was Sergei, which is why Dmitri tried so hard to earn his half-brother's respect and love. It's why he began to perform impressions and use disguises, all to entertain Sergei. His talent with subterfuge earned him the attention of those searching for secret agents, and he was trained to become the ultimate spy and use costumes and make-up to adopt the identity of any target.

Chameleon

His abilities have changed over time. He abandoned the make-up and costumes after Kraven's death, and acquired a holographic belt to help him transform. As if that wasn't enough, he also used a serum to alter his flesh, allowing him to mold it, to a point. The Chameleon has even  used the same serum that transformed Kraven into the powerful villain that he was. However, while Dmitri is likely just as old as Sergei, his strength and abilities remain seemingly unaffected.

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He's more than just his ability to disguise himself, however; he's tragic. The comics have always shown him to be deluded, and mentally unstable. The years of abuse he suffered with the Kravinoffs left a mark, and it's clear he has never recovered from it. He repressed his own identity and adopted others, and he deluded himself into thinking that he and Sergei were closer than they really were. That drove him to act out of a desire to build a familial bond with Sergei, or anyone. He tried once to bond with Peter Parker out of that need in Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man #11, but was misunderstood and laughed at.

If Acar truly is playing the Chameleon in Spider-Man: Far From Home, fans can rest assured the actor and the screenwriters will have a lot to draw from when adapting the villain. That said, all that's been revealed is the character's first name. That's not exactly hard proof that the Chameleon will appear. However, if he does, and the rumors aboutGyllenhaal turn out to be true, it's likely Acar will be a minor villain, not unlike Michael Mando, who played Mac Gargan, aka Scorpion, in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Starring Tom Holland as Peter Prker and Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, director Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Far From Home arrives July 5, 2019.

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