WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home, in theaters now.
Spider-Man: Far From Home features the cinematic debut of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), one of the earliest members of Spider-Man's rogues' gallery. In the film, the master illusionist is able to use hologram technology to take Spider-Man (Tom Holland) by complete and utter surprise. He proves to be a consistently compelling villain throughout the film. But pre-production of the film hinted that another villain would also make an appearance in Far From Home.
With a character named Dimitri confirmed to be in the movie, some fans came to the conclusion that this would turn out to be Dmitri Smerdyakov, aka the Chameleon. But if that is the case, Spider-Man: Far From Home never confirms it. Dimitri (Numan Acar) doesn't appear to be Chameleon, rather, he's just an associate of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who tries to help keep an eye on Peter Parker.
Introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Chameleon is technically the first supervillain Spider-Man ever confronts. In his first appearance, he's a Russian spy trying to sabotage an American space shuttle launch. After being thwarted by Spider-Man, he became a consistent villain for the hero, with an expert knack for disguising himself as other people.
He even convinced his half-brother Kraven the Hunter to turn his attention to the hero. But after Kraven's obsession with Spider-Man led to his deteriorating mental health and eventual suicide, Chameleon vowed to kill Spider-Man once and for all. He played a major part in the "Clone Saga" as one of the men tormenting Peter Parker. During this time, Chameleon learned Peter's secret identity.
The villain repeatedly targeted Peter and his family for years but was never able to kill them. At one particularly low point, he was defeated by an irate Aunt May with a baseball bat. After the events of "One More Day" eliminated the knowledge of Peter's secret identity from the minds of almost everyone on the planet, Chameleon shifted away from specifically targeting Peter. He helped Kraven's family resurrect the hunter during "Grim Hunt". He briefly served as a member of Doctor Octopus' new Sinister Six, and most recently appeared at the end of the "Hunted" storyline, preparing to try and avenge Kraven's most recent death.
Chameleon's overall importance in the Spider-Man mythos makes it somewhat surprising that Chameleon hasn't yet appeared in any live-action Spider-Man film. The MCU version of the franchise has introduced a number of villains who didn't appear in previous films, including Vulture (Michael Keaton) and the potential future Scorpion (Michael Mando). It wouldn't be surprising for the MCU to introduce the character at some point. Marvel introducing a character that happened to be called Dimitri strongly suggested they were ready to do just that with Far From Home.
The Dimitri in the film is an associate of Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), one of the few remaining spies they have the ability to call upon. He serves as a foot soldier for Fury, helping keep an eye on Peter Parker. He serves as the transportation for Peter's class to Prague, meaning someone can keep Spider-Man in the loop. Ultimately though, Dimitri doesn't do much over the course of the film. He ends up more or less leaving the narrative after the sequence in Prague, not even playing a role in protecting Fury from Mysterio's planned attack in London.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
We suppose it's possible that Dimitri will eventually return as Chameleon. As a trained SHIELD agent, he should come with all the skill sets of a former spy -- the kind of abilities one would expect from a duplicitous figure like Chameleon. His allegiance with the imposter Nick Fury, who is later revealed to be the Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), could even potentially lead to the revelation that the MCU version of Chameleon is a shape-shifting Skrull, too. This could be a handy (and frankly kind of cool) explanation for his eventual ability to pose as any kind of person.
As it stands now, however, Dimitri doesn't appear to be anything more than just an associate of Nick Fury's. Though he becomes exhausted by Peter's teenage antics he doesn't seem to harbor any actual bad feelings towards him. If anything, his presence actually helps keep Spider-Man on task when it comes to dealing with the Elementals. But the film doesn't really take any time to play up Dimitri at all, certainly not as any potential villain. All of that pre-release speculation about Chameleon appearing in the film turned out to be just that -- speculation.
Opening July 2, director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon and Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.