- A “Spider-Man” spin-off film called “Kraven the Hunter” is in the works.
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson will star as the titular Spidey villain.
- “Kraven the Hunter” is currently set for release on January 13, 2023.
Marvel and Sony are giving another Spider-Man villain the spin-off treatment: Kraven the Hunter.
In recent years, the two studios have collaborated for standalone films about popular Spidey foes Venom (played by Tom Hardy) and Morbius (Jared Leto).
Here’s what fans can expect from the upcoming movie about Kraven, directed by J.C. Chandor.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson will star as Kraven the Hunter/Sergei Kravinoff
Taylor-Johnson is no stranger to portraying characters with comic-book origins. He previously starred as the titular character of the 2010 movie “Kick-Ass” and played the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015).
In the comics, Sergei Kravinoff/Kraven the Hunter is one of the most skilled game hunters.
He was born to Russian aristocrats and raised in Russia, but immigrated to the UK and then the US. After becoming an orphan, he hones his hunting and survival skills. His abilities are amplified by a potion that he steals and consumes, resulting in superior speed, strength, and agility.
Kraven’s biggest foe is Spider-Man, who always seems to evade the hunter.
In a conversation with Andrew Garfield for Hero Magazine published in March, Taylor-Johnson said that he was in England and had begun preparing for his role in “Kraven the Hunter.”
“I’m not in London but just outside, close to the production office,” he said. “I’m staying here because I’ve got a bunch of stunt training to do for this movie, so the director and I are bunking up for the next couple of weeks.”
The cast includes Russell Crowe, ‘West Side Story’ breakout star Ariana DeBose, and ‘The White Lotus’ actor Fred Hechinger
Crowe’s casting was reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, and Variety in February, but his role wasn’t disclosed. The actor previously played Jor-El, Superman’s father, in “Man of Steel” and starred as Zeus in “Thor 4: Love and Thunder.”
Two weeks later, multiple publications reported that Hechinger joined the film. Unconfirmed sources said that the actor would portray Kraven’s half-brother Dmitri Smerdyakov, who becomes the Spidey villain known as Chameleon.
DeBose, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 “West Side Story” remake will reportedly star as Calypso. In the comics, the character is a voodoo sorceress and Kraven’s love interest.
DeBose told The Playlist that she “can’t say much” about her involvement, but is a fan of director Chandor.
“He’ll bring something really creative and new and fresh and also really gritty to this film and to Kraven the Hunter’s story,” she said. “And I’m really excited to dig in.”
Taylor-Johnson gushed about DeBose in an interview with Variety in August 2022, calling the actress an “exceptional and a beautiful human being.”
“She stepped on and [did] something really gorgeous with this and really special,” he said. “I can’t say too much about it because I want to leave a little bit behind, but we made something that, I think we’re all going to be proud of and something to be exciting to share.”
“The Many Saints of Newark” star Alessandro Nivola will reportedly play an undisclosed villain and sources told Deadline that “The Sinner” actor Christopher Abbott will portray the film’s main foe, a mercenary and assassin known as The Foreigner.
In April, Deadline reported that “Pan” star Levi Miller will also appear in the movie. But it’s unclear who he’ll portray.
Taylor-Johnson said that his character will be ‘the hunter that we all want’
While in attendance at the CineEurope conference in Barcelona in June 2022, Taylor-Johnson shared some details about the upcoming film.
Per Variety, he called his character “one of Marvel’s most iconic, notorious anti-heroes — Spider Man’s No. 1 rival” and said that the film was “shot entirely on location.”
Taylor-Johnson also described Kraven as “just a hunter, a human with conviction. An animal lover and a protector of the natural world. He’s a very, very cool character.”
Following fan uproar over the direction the movie appeared to be going in, based on Taylor-Johnson’s “animal lover” comment, the actor clarified his remarks in an interview with ComicBook.com.
Taylor-Johnson said that his comment “was probably a little taken out of context” and he meant to say “was that he was a protector of the natural world I said and he’s a conservationist, which is probably more accurate, and then should have stopped there.”
“He is a hunter and from that world of hunting and there’s so many aspects,” he continued. “What I love about that character is that what is he humanizing is that he has flaws, right? Kraven is a beautiful character. Sergei Kravinov is a beautiful character because it’s someone who’s really understanding themselves and has flaws. This is a character that was built ages ago and it’s in a new time and era, but yeah, is he going to be the hunter that we all want to see? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.”
‘Kraven the Hunter’ is set for release on January 13, 2023
The upcoming “Kraven the Hunter” film will mark the character’s live-action debut.
The end credits of director Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014), starring Andrew Garfield, teased the formation of the supervillain group called the Sinister Six with Kraven the Hunter and other villains. But the idea was scrapped when the “Amazing Spider-Man” franchise was abandoned.
Back in 2019, director Jon Watts, who helmed Tom Holland’s “Spider-Man” films, expressed interest in bringing Kraven to the big screen during an interview with Uproxx.
Holland’s third Spidey movie, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” actually included a nod to Kraven. As the universe began cracking and people started coming through from the multiverse, fans could see glimpses of Spidey characters like Kraven, Rhino, and Scorpion.
It’s unclear if Holland will show up in Taylor-Johnson’s film.
But “No Way Home” producer Amy Pascal told Fandango that the movie wouldn’t be Holland’s final appearance as the web-slinger. Plus, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told the New York Times in December that a fourth “Spider-Man” film is in early development.