Sony Boss Had To "Look Up" KRAVEN THE HUNTER Star Aaron Taylor-Johnson; Teases SINISTER SIX Plans
Sony Pictures boss Sanford Panitch has revealed his lack of familiarity with Aaron Taylor-Johnson before he was cast in Kraven the Hunter, while also teasing future plans for Sinister Six. Check it out...
Variety recently caught up with Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group President Sanford Panitch, and asked him about the recent news that Aaron Taylor-Johnson will star in Kraven the Hunter. While we've heard that dailies from Bullet Train are what really impressed the studio, the executive was somehow unfamiliar with an actor who has starred in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Godzilla, and Kick-Ass.
"It was a ‘I had to look him up’ kind of thing," Panitch tells the trade. "I didn’t have a lot of familiarity. And then we start watching these incredible dailies [from ‘Bullet Train’], and you really see the full-on action star. He’s charming and he’s funny and he’s holding his own against Brad Pitt. A lot of people can’t do that."
Once upon a time, a Sinister Six movie was in the works from Drew Goddard that would have spun out of the events of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise. With Venom, Morbius, and now Kraven all part of their own franchises, is that where we're eventually heading in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters?
"It’s tough, because I think these projects are the kind of things we have to work on in the dark," he says. "They’re not ready until they’re ready. ‘Kraven’ is a great example because we just didn’t rush it. We could have made that three plus years ago. It’s just now the script’s awesome, J.C. was the right choice, and we found the movie star because it was just kismet, and watching this other movie and realizing that could be the perfect casting."
Pushed on possible plans for Sinister Six, Panitch responded: "It would be very cool, wouldn’t it?"
It would indeed...if Marvel Studios was in charge.
Click on the "Next" button below to check out
a refresher on all things Kraven the Hunter!
10. Spider-Man Hasn't Been His Only Target
While Kraven the Hunter is definitely a Spider-Man villain, he's also targeted a number of other notable heroes in the Marvel Universe. Among them are Black Panther, Tigra, and Daredevil, and while it ultimately all comes back to the web-slinger, he did once team-up with Mister Sinister to take on the X-Men, proving that he enjoys the hunt no matter who or what the target is.
That "hunt" included an encounter with The Hulk which saw Kraven distract him with a bazooka to the face before trapping the Jade Giant in some Adamantium netting.
It didn't end well for him, but we're not anticipating him crossing paths with that character, anyway. However, given the loose ties between the MCU and SPUMC, we wouldn't be too surprised if Wakanda receives a mention at least (not doing so would be something of a missed opportunity).
9. He Was Once A Member Of "The Avengers"
This was a pretty underwhelming retcon, but a few years back, we learned that Nick Fury assembled a team of "Avengers" in 1959 made up of Kraven, Dominic Fortune, Sabretooth, Namora, and a handful of other notable names. They assembled to take down a number of former Nazis, and while Kraven wasn't exactly a hero, he did do some good before meeting Spider-Man.
The most interesting part of this series was seeing Kraven clash with Sabretooth, though that's not been addressed since (and is unlikely to be after what happened to Victor Creed in House of X).
Again, this would rely on some tentative links between the SPUMC and MCU, but it would be pretty cool to see some sort of throwaway Easter Egg revealing that Kraven once worked for S.H.I.E.L.D.!
8. A Very Different Version In The Ultimate Universe
Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley's Ultimate Spider-Man reinvented a lot of classic characters, and Kraven was among them. In this world, he was a reality TV star who had made a name for himself tracking down some of the most dangerous predators on the planet.
However, with his ratings on the decline, he came to New York City to try and take down Spider-Man.
Despite looking exactly like his 616 counterpart, this Kraven had no superpowers and ended up being taken out with a single punch by the wall-crawler. Later, he would undergo experiments to give him abilities that rivalled Spidey's, and took on something of an animalistic form. It would be pretty cool if this version of the villain went down a similar route in terms of powers.
7. Kraven Later Joined Another Team
The difference is that this team wasn't anywhere near as heroic as the one assembled by Fury!
After a series of humiliating losses against Spider-Man, Kraven was approached by Doctor Octopus and given the opportunity to join the Sinister Six. He accepted, and set a series of traps for the web-slinger in Central Park before ultimately being defeated - again - at the hands of his greatest foes.
He was pretty much done with the Sinister Six after that, and it's fair to say he's not a team player. Still, he holds the distinction of being a founding member of this formidable group, and there are already rumblings Johnson's Kraven will debut in Spider-Man: No Way Home (meaning he could be part of that interdimensional Six). Unfortunately, we're really not banking on that happening.
6. A Truly Twisted Family
The Kravinoff family is a large one, with a wife, Sasha, a daughter, Ana, and three sons (all of whom have attempted to follow in their father's footsteps at one point or another).
His half-brother is actually the Chameleon, the first foe Spider-Man faced in the comic books. They have a love/hate relationship, but are definitely united in their hatred of the web-slinger. While the Grim Hunter, Alyosha, and Nedrocci were all disappointments, Ana - the youngest - has proved herself on a number of occasions now.
She was instrumental in bringing Kraven back from the dead (we'll get to that) and proved to be every bit the formidable hunter her father was, pushing Spidey to his limit again and again.
5. He Took His Own Life...
In the classic "Kraven's Last Hunt" by writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Mike Zeck, Kraven finally bested Spider-Man and proved himself the better man. After drugging and burying Peter Parker (we were, at that point, led to believe he'd shot and killed the hero), he took over the mantle of Spider-Man in a bid to prove he was the superior hero as well.
Able to defeat Vermin - a foe the real Spidey could not - Kraven finally felt content. With that, he took the rifle he'd used to defeat the web-slinger and shot himself dead.
It was a shocking, unbelievable moment which later saw Spider-Man dig himself out of the grave. However, he and Kraven were bonded mystically after this final exchange, and that would come into play many years later in the violent and equally shocking "Grim Hunt" storyline.
4. ...But Was Resurrected, Couldn't Be Killed, And Is Now A Clone
Kraven's family were desperate to bring their patriarch back from the dead, and discovered that sacrificing Spider-Man in a twisted ceremony would achieve that mission.
When Peter Parker's clone, Kaine, took his "brother's" place in that, Kraven was indeed brought back to life, but it was an "unlife" he never wanted. It turns out that he had no desire to return after taking his own life, believing his demise and defeat of Spider-Man was his "masterpiece."
Due to a pretty horrific twist, it turns out that Kraven the Hunter was unable to die unless it was at Spider-Man's hand. That's not something the web-slinger would ever do, but the villain managed to find a loophole and fooled his clone - "the Last Son of Kraven" - into strangling him to death. Now, the Marvel Universe has a new Kraven, and one without the baggage of his predecessor.
3. Sony Has Had Plans For Kraven The Hunter For Years
The Amazing Spider-Man 2's end credits revealed who Sony Pictures planned to put in their version of the Sinister Six, a team that was set to assemble either in The Amazing Spider-Man 3 or Drew Goddard's Sinister Six movie. As you can see above, Kraven was set to be among them.
That never happened, but the Sony Hack would later reveal that the studio has considered a big screen adaptation of "Kraven's Last Hunt," something that's been reported multiple times since.
Now, J.C. Chandor is hard at work on a movie featuring the character, but aside from that big Aaron Taylor-Johnson casting news, very little has been revealed. It's possible Spider-Man will show up, and we kind of hope so, especially when it's hard to imagine who else Kraven could hunt.
Sasha Kravinoff is an interesting enough character, but a far more compelling love interest for Kraven over the years has been an enigmatic woman known as Calypso.
This beautiful warrior uses a combination of voodoo magic and various other mystical abilities to help Kraven in his battles against Spidey, some of which are seriously dark (for example, she specialises in necromancy, an ability to communicate with the dead).
Her hatred for the web-slinger is extremely powerful, and following her lover's demise, she used her powers to bewitch the Lizard and very nearly managed to kill Spider-Man in the process.
1. What Are Kraven's Powers Anyway?
Sergei Nikolaevich Kravinoff was a Russian immigrant brought to the U.S. as a child, and trained since childhood by a man called Gregor, it didn't take long until he became an expert hunter.
Preferring to get hands-on with his prey rather than use guns, he targeted Spider-Man after growing bored with his life and uses a mystical serum to enhance his strength and speed. That also drastically slows his ageing and gives him instincts that make him more than a match for Spidey.
Even without that, he's formidable thanks to the weapons at his disposal, his fighting abilities, and ties to magic that mean he's more than capable of getting inside the wall-crawler's head.