What We Know About the Upcoming Kraven the Hunter Film
Sony’s lineup of Marvel films have a lackluster history, with the exception of the Disney partnered Spider-Man trilogy as well as Sony Animation’s Spiderverse. Other contenders for the praise have been weak, with the Amazing Spider-Man duology receiving immense backlash, which led to the revamping of the character. The two Venom films won over fans simply for Tom Hardy’s portrayal but little else, as it revolved around dull plotlines and hard-to-follow action. Most recently, Morbius grossed a total of $167.5 million, leaving it a massive flop for the studio.
Sony’s Next Step
In October of this year, Spider-Man fans will see another one of his famous rogues hit the big screen in hopefully a more providing film than the past live actions. Kraven, played by Aaron-Taylor Johnson, will act as Sony’s debut into the R-rated sector of the Marvel film industry and will act as an important decider in the future of the characters in Sony’s hands. They seem to be taking a hint from Fox, the studio bought by Disney in 2019, whose most successful hits before being bought out were Logan—an R-rated, post-apocalyptic action film following the beloved Wolverine—as well as both Deadpool films which share that R rating and have a massive fanbase on their own. In Fox’s case, the R rating acted as a last-ditch effort before seeing the rights to the characters lost. So, the question stands of whether Sony is seeing that loss in its future and whether it will make a final stand in an accessible realm.
When Aaron-Taylor Johnson was cast as Kraven in May of 2021, he joined a running list of major players who have seen themselves recast in a Marvel project despite having a role already. Other notable members include Chris Evans who went from the Human Torch to Captain America, Michael B Jordan who also had portrayed the Human Torch but went on to join Black Panther as Killmonger, and Idris Elba who played Moreau in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance before joining Thor as Heimdall. Johnson was formerly seen in only Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which he portrayed the older of the Maximoff twins, Pietro, also known as Quicksilver. Without spoiling why, he only appeared in that one film and has not reappeared around the wide MCU since, instead acting in critically acclaimed films like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, The King’s Man, and the hysterical Bullet Train, which debuted just last year. His character is unlikely to return given his fate but considering the massive scale of the upcoming Avengers: Secret Wars, a multiversal cameo or appearance to rejoin his sister, the Scarlet Witch, is not out of the question.
As for his character, Johnson beat out other actors like Keanu Reeves, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Karl Urban, all options that fans were interested in for the hunter. It seems like audiences will get a younger version of the character, similar to Venom or Morbius but even younger, given Johnson’s age compared to Hardy or Leto, as he will likely portray a deeper protagonist than what would be seen in the comics.
A Marvel film would not be complete without a reference stocked cast of characters. Johnson’s Kraven will be joined by a few other iconic Spider-Man villains as well as mystery characters with some choice actors behind them. Calypso stands out as a likely love interest for Kraven given her comic history. She is a voodoo priestess whose love for Kraven is only matched by her hatred of Spider-Man, in which she used her gifts to increase Kraven’s drive to kill the titular hero. She will be portrayed by Ariana DeBose, most recently debuting on screen to general audiences in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, for which she portrayed Anita. As for a likely antagonist (another character having an obsession with Kraven), the Chameleon, the disguise-skilled villain of Spider-Man and half brother of Kraven himself being played by Fred Hechinger, a relatively unknown actor seen in the Fear Street trilogy. Whether or not the film will keep the lineage is unknown, but considering the specific character choices, there will likely be some sort of familial bond or trauma between the two. Another conceivable character is L’Étranger, which is either the cosmic being, the Enigmatic Stranger, or more likely the Foreigner, a master criminal known for heists—he too having a tendency for disguise and a history with the Chameleon. Known from First Man and Possession, Christopher Abbott will take on the role. Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, Amsterdam) takes on the final known role, a repeat character from the Sony-verse, the Rhino. Last seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the Rhino will likely be revamped, possibly leaning more into his comic-accurate Rhino abilities rather than a technical suit like Paul Giamatti’s version. The other two prominent confirmed actors are Levi Miller (Pan, A Wrinkle in Time), and Russell Crowe. Crowe was last seen in Thor: Love and Thunder as Zeus and in Man of Steel. He is obviously familiar with the superhero genre, but his character is still a mystery. His and Miller’s characters will likely get a deeper reveal when trailers begin to show.
As for the plot, little is currently known about the next villain origin story. If the other two origins will be used as examples, the film will likely follow Kraven’s early discovery of his abilities and subsequently adapting to them. According to screenwriter Richard Wenk, he was charged with adapting the Kraven’s Last Hunt plotline from the comics, although it is unknown whether that adaptation will be in this film or in other sequels. In that comic, Kraven finally does away with Spider-Man and wears his mask and suit, acting as a hero in his stead. This action would coincide with the known addition of Calypso, whose undead voodoo may interact with some other dead foe of Kraven’s. Following the theme of the last three live actions, he may likely question his humanity, and then battle with a villain more intense than him, possibly Chameleon, Foreigner, Rhino, or a mixture of the three. This would make him a hero of sorts, which will be overturned by the end credits so he can meet his anti-hero counterparts from the past films. In the end credit scene of Morbius, Michael Keaton’s vulture somehow ends up facing Leto’s Morbius, with an intention to form a sort of team. If Sony is continuing their goals of achieving MCU success in having a connected universe, other Sony cameos are more than likely to come to fruition, even including the possibility of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man appearing considering the confirmation of his return down the line. The challenge is then for this film to have its own secular plot with its own merits while also creating the shared universe that Sony is working towards.
Kraven The Hunter was originally supposed to debut January 13th of 2023 but was pushed back to October 6, 2023, which is the weekend both Venom films have debuted in the past and is still the active release date. Before then, Spider-Man fans can catch Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse in theaters on June 2, 2023. It will see Miles Morales return as well as more than likely a plethora of cameos from the Sony films. Additionally, both of the Amazing Spider-Man films, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Venom just joined Disney Plus for streaming, leading fans to question what deals Sony and Disney are up to and when Into the Spiderverse, Let There Be Carnage and Morbius will follow suit. Sony’s time with Marvel may be on its way to close, but one way or another, fans will be treated to a universe of great heroes and villains who have yet to debut. Until then, Kraven’s Last Hunt and a number of other spectacular Spider-Man comics are available on Marvel Unlimited and in print.
Kraven the Hunter (2023): Official Sony Trailer
|I am a Film student at Stetson University in Florida. I am a screenplay writer and filmmaker with a heart for storytelling. I discovered a love for film at a young age and am working hard every day to expand my deeper knowledge of technique and detail. Currently, I am on the team in charge of Spooky Empire in Orlando in October, so I spend a lot of time around the horror genre.|