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

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

Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU) is set to expand in 2023 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, in stark contrast to critics’ reviews and ratings.

However, Sony hit a more consequential bump in the road when it released Morbius in 2022. The highly anticipated film introduced complex 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). Kravinoff was born to a Russian aristocrat and fled to the United States as an immigrant when the Russian nobility came to end following Nicholas II’s reign. Despite losing his noble status, Kravinoff still sought greatness, aiming to become the greatest hunter in the world. Adopting the name Kraven the Hunter, he gained prominence for hunting big game. However, he later decided to hunt Spider-Man, believing his defeat of the hero would complete his mission of greatness.

Now that Kraven is officially coming to the big screen, here’s everything we know about his live-action debut.

Kraven the Hunter release date

Kraven the Hunter is set to premiere on October 6. The film was initially scheduled for a January 13 release date, but Sony opted to push it back nearly 10 months. The delay means it will premiere during the same week that Venom and Venom 2 premiered in 2018 and 2021, respectively. Like the SSU’s previous films, Kraven will enjoy an exclusive theatrical release before later moving to Netflix for streaming.

Kraven the Hunter cast

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ives holding a gun in Tenet
(Warner Bros.)

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 (MCU)’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 such films as 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 Krave’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, too, 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 star Christopher Abbott have both been cast as villains in Kraven. Rumors suggest Abbott will be playing the mysterious Marvel assassin known as the Foreigner, but neither his nor Nivola’s roles have been officially confirmed. Rounding out the cast are Russell Crowe and Levi Miller in undisclosed roles. 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 adaptions, 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, it’s likely that the film will serve as an origin story for the character. If so, it would be following the pattern established by Venom and Morbius, both of which followed 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.

Kraven the Hunter trailer

So far, Sony has not officially released a teaser, trailer, or even first-look images for Kraven the Hunter. Production wrapped last summer under director J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), so a teaser should be forthcoming. Additionally, a few set photos have also given a brief look at Taylor-Johnson in character as Kraven.

(featured image: Marvel Comics)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.