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Kraven The Hunter Movie - What We Know So Far

As one of the world's most popular superheroes, Spider-Man has an extensive rogues gallery, perfectly fit for his widespread appeal. Villains such as Venom, the Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus are deservedly iconic in their own right, often because of how they connect to — or mirror — Peter Parker's personal life. Venom, for instance, represents a Peter who has given in to his dark side, and never learned the "great power, great responsibility" mantra. Doc Ock, meanwhile, is a mirror to Peter's intelligence gone mad, whereas the Green Goblin is an aspect of his personal life that comes back around to bite him. 

However, there is one other fantastic Spider-Man foe that, until recently, has been overlooked by mainstream media. His name is Sergei Kravinoff, but he's better known as Kraven the Hunter, a super-powered big game hunter who wants to mount Spider-Man's head as yet another trophy on his wall — and while Kraven has never had a direct connection to Peter Parker's personal life, his legacy has endured as one of the webslinger's most dangerous threats. 

Now, Sony Pictures is gearing up to make their own movie focused on the crazed huntsman. In a similar situation as the 2018 "Venom" film starring Tom Hardy, the upcoming "Kraven the Hunter" will portray Kraven as the protagonist, which is a big change from the comics, and as Sony periodically releases new information on the project, there is much to speculate about. Here is what we know so far.

What is the release date for Kraven the Hunter?

While news regarding the "Kraven the Hunter" film has been circulating since 2018, details have been incredibly sparse (via Collider). As a result, the eventual release date for the upcoming film has remained a mystery for the past three years. 

This changed very recently. In fact, Sony Pictures went so far as to hand out a specific release date. Assuming everything goes as planned, and Sony suffers no delays, "Kraven the Hunter" will release on January 13, 2023, according to The Hollywood Reporter

That means audiences will only have to wait a bit over a year to see more Spidey goodness following the December 2021 release of "Spider-Man: No Way Home." This is in addition to Sony Pictures' other "Spider-Man" related content set to release over the next two years: with the addition of "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," slated for September 2021, as well as "Morbius" in January 2022, there will be more than enough Spidey-themed characters to go around in the near future.

Who will star in the upcoming Kraven film?

Previously, rumors spread indicating that Sony had approached "John Wick" star Keanu Reeves to play Kraven the Hunter, but if this did happen, it appears that Reeves turned it down (via CBR).

Regardless, it was announced on May 26, 2021 via The Hollywood Reporter that Sony had found its Kraven, in MCU veteran Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Before his time playing Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Johnson had already built his superhero resume by starring as the protagonist in both "Kick-Ass" films. More recently, he appeared as Ives in Christopher Nolan's time inversion thriller "Tenet."

Unfortunately, Johnson is currently the only member of the "Kraven the Hunter" cast that we are aware of at the current moment, but if the movie follows the comics, Kraven does possess quite a few characters who are directly connected to him, and may appear in the film. Most notable of these is his half-brother, Dmitri Smerdyakov aka the Chameleon, who is a fellow Spider-Man foe known for being a master of disguise. There is also Kraven's longtime lover, the priestess Calypso Ezili, known for magical powers such as necromancy and mind control. Also potentially kicking around in the mix are his wife, Sasha Kravinoff, as well as his adult children Alyosha, Vladimir, Ned, and Ana, some of whom — in the comics — are major Spider-Man villains unto themselves, particularly in the years following Sergei's death.

For now, this is all speculative. Thankfully, we are almost certain to learn more about the Sony film's cast as we get closer to its release date.

What will be the plot of Kraven the Hunter?

While we certainly know when "Kraven the Hunter” is slated to release, and who has been cast as its star, Sony has been anything but forthcoming about details regarding the film's plot. Historically, Kraven has had very little star power, as far as "Spider-Man" villains go: his most famous comic book story is the J. M. DeMatteis/Mike Zeck tale "Kraven's Last Hunt," which focuses very intently on the hunter and hunted dynamic between him and Spider-Man — in addition to being very, very dark, with much of the story seeing Spider-Man buried alive. 

Because of this, director J.C. Chandor — alongside writers Art Marcum & Matt Holloway and Richard Wenk – are more likely to delve into the villain's origins, as Sony has given no indication of a possible Spider-Man appearance (so far). With this in mind, viewers can likely expect to see how Sergei Kravinoff becomes one of the world's deadliest hunters, though it's unclear how he'll fit as the story's protagonist, since the comics version has never been shown in a heroic light. Nonetheless, the character of Kraven — with a touch of enhanced physiology granted from a special serum, an array of technological tools and strategies at his disposal, and a driven obsession with victory at all costs — has a lot of potential on the big screen.