Sergei Kravinoff (a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter) in a fighting pose in Marvel Comics
(Marvel Comics)

‘Kraven the Hunter’: Everything We Know About the Spider-Man Spinoff

Sony’s Spider-Man Universe is set to expand with the release of Kraven the Hunter. Hopefully, Kraven the Hunter will be able to get the SSU back on track following a couple of recent setbacks. Sony has debuted three Spidey-adjacent films in total since 2018: Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Morbius. Venom and its sequel offered strong box office performances and received largely positive reviews from audiences, though critics’ reviews were far more mixed.

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Sony hit a more consequential bump in the road when it released Morbius in 2022, introducing anti-hero Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) to the SSU. Unfortunately, Morbius was a failure both critically and commercially, proving to be one of the biggest box office flops and worst films of 2022. Needless to say, the SSU needs a boost after the disastrous Morbius.

If anyone can potentially elevate the SSU, it would be Sergei Kravinoff, a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter. Now that Kraven is officially coming to the big screen, here’s everything we know about his live-action debut.

Who is Kraven the Hunter?

Kravinoff was born to a Russian aristocrat and fled to the United States as an immigrant when the Russian nobility came to an end following Nicholas II’s reign. Despite losing his noble status, Kravinoff still sought greatness, aiming to become the best hunter in the world. Adopting the name Kraven the Hunter, he gained prominence for hunting big game and later decided to hunt Spider-Man, believing his defeat of the hero would complete his mission of greatness.

Kraven the Hunter release date

Kraven the Hunter is set to premiere on August 30, 2024. The film was initially scheduled to be released on October 6, 2023, but just a few months shy of its premiere, Sony delayed it due to the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. The SAG-AFTRA strike is especially consequential to Kraven the Hunter because it means that the film’s lead star and biggest draw, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, won’t be able to promote the film or attend screenings or premieres. Sony likely wants to take full advantage of his star power and of any publicity it can get for its first R-rated film, which wouldn’t be possible to do during the SAG-AFTRA strike.

The delay will likely stir some irritation among SSU fans, considering it’s actually the second major delay the film has experienced. Kraven was initially scheduled for a January 13, 2023, release date, but Sony opted to push it back nearly 10 months. Now, it has added another 10-month delay on top of that, and it might be difficult to reignite interest when the new date finally comes around, especially since the official trailer will have been out for over a year at that point.

Kraven the Hunter trailer

Sony dropped the official red band trailer for Kraven the Hunter on June 19, 2023. In this case, the SSU’s first R-rated film got the red band label for the violence depicted in its trailer.

As the red band label suggests, Kraven the Hunter‘s trailer promises a bloody and gritty storyline. The trailer’s biggest reveal is the confirmation that the film will retcon Kraven’s origin story. Instead of being an elite hunter with enhanced powers from an elixir, the trailer shows Kraven gaining animalistic powers and tendencies after blood from a lion enters an open wound on his body. It’s a bit of a strange departure from the comics and is giving some fans Morbius vibes.

Meanwhile, the plot seems to revolve around Kraven’s attempts to rid the world of the evil that his nefarious father stirs up. He doesn’t appear to be a particularly good guy himself, though, as the majority of the trailer sees Kraven going full beast mode and brutally murdering many people. The second biggest reveal comes at the very end, with the trailer confirming the villain Rhino will appear in the film. In the comics, radiation exposure gave the Rhino superhuman strength and artificial skin. He used his powers to lead a life of villainy, but he wasn’t very effective at being a bad guy; Rhino was overly aggressive and not very smart. It will be interesting to see if Kraven the Hunter changes him into a more formidable villain.

Kraven the Hunter cast

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ives holding a gun in Tenet
(Sony Pictures)

Taking on the titular role in Kraven the Hunter is Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Kraven actually marks the second Marvel character Taylor-Johnson has portrayed on the big screen. He previously played Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen)’s brother Pietro in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since the SSU is not a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s main timeline, his role as Kraven won’t cause any significant continuity issues. The actor, whose casting as Kraven was confirmed in May 2021, has also starred in Kick-Ass, Tenet, and Bullet Train.

Meanwhile, Ariana DeBose, who gained prominence for her Academy Award-winning performance as Anita in West Side Story, will portray Calypso. In the comics, Calypso Ezili was a voodoo priestess who used charms and potions to gain the power of mind control. At times, she was Kraven’s love interest and often used her influence to increase his animosity towards Spider-Man.

In addition to Taylor-Johnson and DeBose, Kraven stars Fear Street‘s Fred Hechinger as Dimitri Smerdyakov. Dimitri is a master of disguise with strong impersonation skills, earning him the nickname Chameleon. He also aided in setting Kraven’s sights on Spider-Man in the first place, with both brothers becoming longtime enemies of the hero.

The Many Saints of Newark and Amsterdam star Alessandro Nivola and The Sinner‘s Christopher Abbott have both been cast as villains in Kraven. Rumors suggest Abbott will be playing the mysterious Marvel assassin known as the Foreigner. Meanwhile, the film’s trailer confirmed that Nivola will portray Aleksei Sytsevich, a.k.a. Rhino. Rounding out the cast are Russell Crowe and Levi Miller in undisclosed roles, though the trailer makes it clear the former is playing Sergei and Dimitri’s abusive father. Crowe is another actor who has appeared in both the MCU and now the SSU, as he previously portrayed Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder. Miller also has some experience in comic book adaptations, having guest-starred on Supergirl.

Kraven the Hunter plot

Sergei Kravinoff (a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter) in Marvel Comics
(Marvel Comics)

Although details of Kraven the Hunter‘s plot have been kept under wraps, the film will likely serve as an origin story for the character. If so, it would be following the pattern established by Venom and Morbius, both of which explored the origins of their titular characters. Meanwhile, a few teases have come from Taylor-Johnson, who surprised fans by saying that Kraven will be an “animal-lover” and “conservationist” in the film. Those aren’t the terms usually used to describe avid big game hunters, but Taylor-Johnson promised that Kraven will be “the hunter that we all want to see.” It seems possible that Kraven could depict a more modern version of the character than seen in the comics.

(featured image: Marvel Comics)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.