The pieces are slowly falling into place for Sony’s Spider-Man spin-off movie Kraven the Hunter. The feature will be Kraven’s first time on the big screen with Aaron Taylor-Johnson breathing life into the famed character. The project will be directed by J.C. Chandor from a script by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Richard Wenk. And, just a few weeks ago, Russell Crowe signed on in an undisclosed role.
Following news of the Hollywood legend’s casting, social media was abuzz as fans tried to predict which character he would play. Now it seems like his role may have been revealed. According to a report by The Illuminerdi, Russell Crowe will be playing Nikolai Kravinoff – the father of the notorious Spider-Man villain. If this is true, the 57-year-old actor will probably have a large role in the project.
In the Marvel comic books, Nikolai Kravinoff (possibly played by Russell Crowe) is the father of Sergei Kravinoff / aka Kraven the Hunter, and Dmitri Smerdyakov / Chameleon. If all that info was a bit much to take in, here’s a breakdown of those epic connections. Russian aristocrats, Nikolai and his wife Anna Kravinoff raised their son Sergei in Volgograd, Russia during the Russian Revolution. During this time Nikolai had an affair with Sonya Smerdyakova (one of the family’s servants) and fathered an illegitimate son named Dmitri.
After the revolution ended the Kravinoff family fled the country and settled in the United States. When Nikolai died, Anna was committed to an asylum where she killed herself, orphaning their son Sergei. Since Nikolai (potentially played by Russell Crowe) was not a kind father to either of his boys, they didn’t have the skills to be good people. Dmitri went down a dark path of his own, while Sergei learned to survive by his own cunning and eventually ended up in Africa.
And thanks to his father (Russell Crowe), this is where his transformation into one of Marvel’s super-villains begins. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Kraven the Hunter made his Marvel comics debut in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man #15. He quickly became one of Spider-Man’s most formidable foes and is part of the group that makes up Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery. He is also one of the founding members of the Sinister Six – some of who were featured in the Tom Holland starrer Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Kraven the Hunter is typically portrayed as a master tracker and big game hunter who becomes obsessed with capturing Spider-Man to prove his worth. He possesses a great sense of honor and treats his adversaries as equals. As such, Kraven is sometimes depicted as an antihero and often an ally of Spider-Man, who he came to respect deeply over time. So it would be really cool to see Russell Crowe tackle these complex story elements.
For now, details about Kraven the Hunter’s plot are being kept under wraps. But with such a rich back story the project probably dives into the titular character’s origins – much like Venom and Morbius. The Russell Crowe starrer is currently set for release in January 2023.