The Kraven the Hunter casting news just keeps rolling in. The latest actor to join the movie is The Sopranos’ The Many Saints of Newark star, Alessandro Nivola, in an undisclosed part. While he is stated to be cast in a villainous role, it is difficult to know what that means in this particular circumstance. After all, within Marvel Comics continuity, Kraven the Hunter is generally considered one of Spider-Man’s villains (although he has tiptoed into antihero status on occasion). But considering this is a Sony Pictures production, and not MCU proper, that means we are not going to see any Peter Parkers around here (probably). So it might be someone that exists within the greater Spiderverse, or might be a new character they make for the film.
Alessandro Nivola is the most recent casting choice for the Kraven the Hunter movie, but far from the first. Fred Hechinger, most recently of HBO’s White Lotus anthology series, was recently cast as longtime Spider-Man villain Chameleon, who also happens to be Kraven’s half-brother in regular continuity. No word whether the film will keep that particular familial connection, but it does seem like a built-in source of drama. West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose (who is nominated for both an Academy Award and a BAFTA for the movie, and has already won a SAG Award) was cast as Calypso, another one of the wide world of Marvel characters being utilized wherever possible. And most excitingly, actor/singer/Australian Russell Crowe has been cast in an as of yet undisclosed role, though the safe money is that he will be portraying Kraven’s father. At the very least, it would satisfy Crowe’s apparent goal of playing a father figure in every comic book cinematic universe; he already has Superman’s father Jor-El under his belt for the DCEU and is set to play the father of Olympian gods in the MCU’s upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder.
Of course, it would not be a Kraven the Hunter movie without Kraven himself, who is going to be played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. This will also make it a comic book threepeat for the actor, who played Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff in Avengers: Age of Ultron for the MCU and Kick-Ass in the titular series of films from Lionsgate/Universal. The Kraven the Hunter movie is the latest step in Sony Pictures’ attempt to play the third wheel to the dominant MCU and DCEU by creating their own shared cinematic universe with their shared rights to Spider-Man characters. Tom Hardy’s Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage were box-office hits enough to keep the momentum going, and the much-delayed Morbius movie starring Jared Leto is scheduled to be released in 2022. There are also persistent reports of a Black Cat/Felicia Hardy movie being worked out (possibly with Anya-Taylor Joy), and even hopes of snagging Jennifer Lawrence for a Madame Web feature. Sony Pictures seems to have a lot of faith in Kraven the Hunter to be the next big piece in their Spider-Manless puzzle, so we will just have to wait and see what comes after.