Yesterday, it was announced that Sony Pictures had selected British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Bullet Train, Avengers: Age of Ultron) to lead their latest Spider-Man spinoff film, Kraven The Hunter. The project will focus on Sergei Kravinoff aka Kraven, a Russian aristocrat turned big-game hunter that becomes a major antagonist of Marvel superhero Spider-Man as a member of The Sinister Six and half-brother of fellow villain The Chameleon.
Some of the names rumored for the role were indeed true, as Deadline reporter Justin Kroll tweeted a list of names that Sony Pictures had considered to play Kraven but they had passed. Those high-profile names were Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix), Brad Pitt (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Fight Club, Inglorious Basterds), John David Washington (Tenet), and Adam Driver (House of Gucci, Logan Lucky, Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
However, Aaron Taylor-Johnson reportedly “blew away” Sony brass thanks to footage from his latest project, Bullet Train.
I find it interesting that the latter two actors being co-stars in Spike Lee’s Oscar-winning film BlacKkKlansman, the filmmaker had been attached to make a Nightwatch movie for the studio with a script from Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker.
It’s noteworthy that John David Washington was mentioned in the group, as it could signal back to when Black Panther director Ryan Coogler talked about wanting to use Kraven and the actor’s own comments from the Tenet press tour last year mentioning his desire to play Reed Richards in Marvel’s Fantastic Four reboot from Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts.
Kraven The Hunter will be directed by J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year, Triple Frontier) from a scripted penned by Richard Wenk (The Equalizer, The Expendables 2) with Art Marcum and Matt Holloway tackling rewrites. The duo of screenwriters aren’t strangers to studio genre projects working on Iron Man, Punisher: War Zone, Transformers: The Last Knight, Men In Black: International, and the upcoming Tom Holland video game movie Uncharted.
Sony is attempting to build their own cinematic universe featuring various Spider-Man friends and foes. Some of those upcoming films consist of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Jared Leto’s vampire flick Morbius, Olivia Wilde’s Spider-Woman movie, and a Madame Web movie. It remains to be seen of these movies will or will not be directly connected to Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe, as hiring the former Quicksilver actor would suggest that Kraven isn’t connected to the hard-canon MCU.
The Spider-Man spinoff has landed a release date of January 13, 2023 from Sony Pictures and suggests that production could begin by 2022.