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This Is Where You've Seen Venus From Sons Of Anarchy Before

Over the course of its harrowing seven seasons on FX, the bruising biker drama known as Sons of Anarchy frequently tested the wills of viewers with its stark depiction of a criminal underworld rarely glimpsed by most. And throughout it's reckless, 92-episode run, the series became know for its shocking Shakespearean twists, graphic depictions of violence, and unabashed devotion to depicting tough guys doing tough guy things. 

Sons of Anarchy is undoubtedly less known for is it's stark depiction of tough-willed women and struggling sex workers. And some almost certainly forget that the series beat virtually every prestige drama on television to the mark in terms of transgender character representation. Some might even say Venus Van Dam broke a certain sort of mold in that regard. She made her Sons of Anarchy debut in the series' fifth season after being enlisted by the SAMCRO brotherhood for a lucrative blackmail scheme before becoming one of SOA's more intriguing dramatic players, and even the surprise love interest for uber tough guy Tig Trager (Kim Coates).

Venus was also one of the few Sons of Anarchy characters to make it all the way to the series finale, earning about as happy an ending as anyone involved with team SAMCRO could hope for. You might be forgiven for not recognizing the face of the actor who portrayed Venus in her six-episode stint on the series because, well, he's all but unrecognizable in full Venus regalia. 

That face probably still felt very familiar to many, because it belongs to Walton Goggins and he's become a regular presence in film and TV projects of all shapes and sizes of late. Here's why Venus from Sons of Anarchy looks so familiar. 

Walton Goggins broke bad in the MCU for Ant-Man and the Wasp

Given how many projects Goggins and his big, toothy grin have featured in over the past decade alone, it's all but certain even the most casual film and TV lover out there has seen both on the regular. The actor actually got his start in the early-90s with minor roles in series like Beverly Hills, 90210 and In the Heat of the Night. The 2000s brought key supporting roles in the likes of Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and FX's hit cop drama, The Shield. But Goggins' career has been absolutely booming since 2010, with the actor eventually scoring a coveted villainous role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Said role came in the followup to the surprise 2015 MCU hit Ant-Man, and found Goggins portraying Sonny Burch, a duplicitous black market dealer who tries to outwit Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and steal Hank Pym's miniaturization tech for himself. 

Burch is hardly the only person in Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp with eyes on that particular prize, though. Turns out, he's not even the most dangerous (even if he and his armed goons do a pretty good impression of serious bad boys). Still, most would agree Goggins' work as Burch in the film is more than memorable, and very nearly teeters into the realm of scene-stealing.  

Walton Goggins was half of a comedic dream team in HBO's Vice Principals

While Goggins has more than made his mark in the field of drama over the years, the dexterous performer has just a frequently burned up the screen in comedic roles. In 2016, he landed a second-lead in a wild HBO series that allowed him to explore both in equal measure. That co-lead came opposite comedic wunderkind Danny McBride, who'd re-teamed with his frequent collaborator Jody Hill (The Foot-Fist WayObserve and ReportEastbound & Down) to bring forth another tale of small-town hubris run horribly amok.

The series was titled simply Vice Principals, and found McBride portraying Neil Gamby, an overbearing high school vice principal who becomes consumed by a heated battle with his co-V.P. Lee Russell (a sociopathic dandy with zero moral compass) to claim the top job at North Jackson High School. Yes, Goggins was indeed the man tormenting McBride's character (even after they decide to team up) throughout Vice Principals two-season run on HBO. And yes, Goggins regularly played the part of scene-stealer opposite an actor who's never been much for ceding a scene to anyone.

As it was, Vice Principals' on-screen pairing of Goggins and McBride was likely a genuine revelation for even die-hard fans of either actor, with each showcasing razor sharp comedic and dramatic chops in a pitch-black farce often too over-the-top to be believed and too grounded to be ignored. 

Walton Goggins got down and dirty for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight

We were hardly overstating Walton Goggins' dramatic prowess by the way. While the actor has spent more than his share of screen time of late scoring cringe-worthy laughs on screens big and small, he's also continued to chew the dramatic scenery with the best of them. Never more was his flare for drama on display than among the incredible ensemble Quentin Tarantino assembled for his savage and brutally violent 2015 social satire, The Hateful Eight

Set a few years after the end of the American Civil War, that film found Goggins trading lines with heavy-hitters like Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bruce Dern. It also found him stuck right in the middle of one of the most twisted cat-and-mouse games ever conjured for the big screen. 

Plot-wise, The Hateful Eight is a relatively simple affair that finds a wildly disparate group of individuals trapped in an isolated outpost by a raging snowstorm. Once inside, it becomes clear that each individual has a very definite agenda, very much at odds with the other inhabitants, and the sort of shockingly violent drama one expects from Tarantino ensues. But the grindhouse-loving auteur ramps up the drama, violence, and social commentary in The Hateful Eight in ways rarely glimpsed on screen, doing so in service of a barbaric Western tale of last man standing.

Goggins' clever, but way out-of-his-depth Sheriff Chris Mannix is indeed among the last upright citizens in Tarantino's brutalist masterpiece. And whether you love or hate the character, you have to admit the actor has rarely been better.

Walton Goggins was frequently the highlight of FX's Justified

Of course, if you're among Goggins' superfans who've been charting his career over the years, you know one of the few roles he actually was better in came in one of the more egregiously overlooked television series of the 2010s. The Western-tinged FX crime drama Justified followed Timothy Olyphant's wayward U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens after he's assigned to bring his unique brand of law and order to the rural region in where he grew up.

Once there, Raylan finds his old stomping grounds overrun by nefarious characters from all walks of life. One of his most frequent foes (and occasional allies) in Justified's near-immaculate six-season run was a bad boy by the name of Boyd Crowder, the son of a local criminal (not to mention a former acquaintance of Raylan's) who had a penchant for robbing banks with pyrotechnics, and who would eventually attempt to take control of the area's criminal underground. 

That was indeed Goggins bringing Boyd Crowder to life throughout Justified's small screen run. As such, he was as frequent a scene partner with Olyphant as any of the series's supporting players. He was just as regularly the most electrifying screen presence on the series as well, with his flamboyant nature serving as the perfect foil for Olyphant's fiercely internalized work. So much so we really don't mind saying that (even as great as Olyphant was in the show) Walton Goggins was the actor who gave Justified the unhinged edginess that made it such a small screen treasure.