From comic book page to screen, there are always changes. Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Henry Cavill‘s Superman, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, or even comics that had nothing to do with superheroes like A History of Violence, Road to Perdition, or Ghost World. There will inevitably be changes between the source material and the big screen, but some of those changes are more palatable than others. According to a recent interview, next year’s Kraven the Hunter may include a change that’s a bit too much for some fans to swallow. Here’s a hint: some fans are worried “the Hunter” may as well be lopped off the title.
In an interview with Variety published online Monday, Kraven the Hunter lead Aaron Taylor-Johnson referred to his character as “one of Marvel’s most iconic, notorious anti-heroes — Spider Man’s number one rival.” Whether or not he was exaggerating just a little bit for the sake of promotion is up to interpretation. Regardless, he went on to point out the character is “not an alien, or a wizard. He’s just a hunter, a human with conviction. An animal lover and a protector of the natural world. He’s a very, very cool character.” In case you missed it: it’s that “animal lover” that has some fans, like the folks at The Direct, worried.
In the source material, Sergei Kravinoff aka Kraven the Hunter — as the name suggests — is not someone most would describe as an “animal lover.” In fact, his most recognizable villain garb is one which includes a vest made out of the mane of a lion he killed. Kravinoff was a world-renowned big game hunter long before he turned his attention to the world of the “super,” and in most cases when he does clash with superheroes, he chooses animal-themed champions like Spider-Man, Black Panther, or the Avengers’ Tigra. All you have to do is take a gander at the trophies he has in the background on the cover below, not to mention his vest, to see how much of an “animal lover” Kraven is in the comics.
One hopeful possibility is that Aaron Taylor-Johnson is using the term “animal lover” in a different way than many might suspect. In the source material, while Kraven the Hunter lives to hunt animals, he often expresses a powerful sense of connection to them. Perhaps the most acclaimed and well known Kraven story ever — the 1987 storyline “Kraven’s Last Hunt” written by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Mike Zeck — serves as a perfect example. In the story, Kraven defeats Spider-Man, buries him alive, and seeks to temporarily replace him as a crime-fighter. He does it all to prove himself Spidey’s superior, but at the same time he expresses near bottomless respect and even affection toward his rival. This could, hopefully, be what Taylor-Johnson means when he calls his character an “animal lover.”
Otherwise, if Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s version of Kraven the Hunter winds up being one who doesn’t, you know, hunt… well a lot of already invested fans may wind up saving money when Kraven the Hunter hits theaters on January 13, 2023. And with the embarrassing failure of this year’s Morbius, it would be great to see Sony’s Spider-Verse get another win under its belt.