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When I heard that Aaron Taylor-Johnson had been cast in the title role of the upcoming Kraven the Hunter movie, I can honestly say (at risk of sounding like I’m setting up a lame MCU pun) that I didn’t see that coming. The news also inspired me to wonder who else from the pages of Marvel Comics or from previous Marvel movies the former Quicksilver actor could share the screen with when he plays the Russian-born hunter determined to nab the webslinger in his first live action film. There are actually several Spider-Man characters whom I would especially like to see make an appearance in the movie, including one comic book antagonist who really knows how to blend in.
More casual fans of superhero movies may be surprised to learn that Kraven the Hunter has a lot in common with the Chameleon - one of Spider-Man’s most elusive enemies due to his mastery of disguise, which was originally achieved by masks before surgically and mutagenically becoming an innate ability. Both of them were born in Russia (Chameleon’s real name is Dmitri Nikolaievich Smerdyakov), they have each made enemies with Peter Parker’s alter ego, and they also have the same father. Yes, Kraven the Hunter and the Chameleon are actually half siblings, which is why I have a good feeling that this origin story will also mark the live-action, cinematic debut of the shapeshifting thief as well.
Kraven’s hatred for Spider-Man stems merely from his appetite for the hunt, but a powerful force that would drive him further and further into an enraged pursuit of the webslinger was the mystical power of Calypso Ezlii. Calypso is a Haitian-born, psychopathic Voodoo priestess who can bring people back from the dead and manipulate people into doing whatever she chooses (even from beyond the grave) - a trick she would often pull for her own personal amusement on Kraven, with whom she has shared an occasional loving relationship with. To see a glimpse into the hunter’s romantic side is just one of the many reasons why including Calypso in the film would be magical.
Speaking of magic, the stunning abilities of Dr. Edward Lansky might be easily mistaken for the mystic arts, but that was not actually the case, at least before he was associated with Kraven. The former Vice Chancellor of Empire State University would don a suit of his own creation that harnesses the power of light to give him various abilities, including flight, which helps him carry out his own despicable deeds under the name Lightmaster. At one point, the villain would recruit the help of Kraven the Hunter and Tarantula - another one of the many unique Spider-Man villains - to help kidnap a trio of government officials, which actually resulted in him accidentally becoming a being a pure light - an interesting story that the film could recreate to potentially tease a solo movie for Lightmaster in the future.
Kraven has made all kinds of different creatures his prey, save the few beastly beings he has been able to call an ally, such as Martin Blank, who is often referred to as Gibbon for his unique mutant physiology that causes him to have an appearance and various abilities similar to that have a primate. Despite their mutual hatred toward Spider-Man for disparate reasons, Gibbon’s animalistic features almost makes his collaboration with Kraven the Hunter against Spidey somewhat ironic. However, the unlikelihood of their partnership is exactly why I believe he deserves a spot in the film as it is a story I think would be fascinating to explore.
Speaking of fascinating and unlikely, Kraven the Hunter does not seem like the type of person who would ever keep a pet, but that is not necessarily an inaccurate way to describe his relationship with Gog. This member of the part-reptilian, part-mammalian alien race known as the Tsiln (which actually have a look and some features similar to The Thing from the Fantastic Four) crash-landed in a cargo ship on Earth and was discovered by Kraven, who named him after the biblical term known as “Gog” and raised him as his own. Despite the fact that he would eventually use the creature as a criminal ally, focusing on Kraven’s more fatherly persona would be a great opportunity to earn the audience’s empathy, something that we know from Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker is important when crafting a villain origin story.
Of course, the primary reason why anyone will be interested in seeing a Kraven the Hunter movie is to see the criminal mastermind in action, but I would not push my chips toward any chances of seeing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man involved in those fight sequences just yet, at least. However, I think the perfect consolation to that for now would be the appearance of Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, leading to an epic brawl between the hunter and Venom. Not to mention, I think the storyline existing from the Earth-19529 continuity of the Marvel Multiverse in which Kraven becomes bonded with the Symbiote would be a pretty interesting thing to pay homage to in some capacity.
On the other hand, if there is one other Spider-man villain who absolutely, positively needs to appear in the Kraven the Hunter movie, it has to be Dr. Otto Octavius - better known as Doctor Octopus to Marvel fans. The main reason I stress the importance of the hunter and the “eight-armed” criminal mastermind crossing paths is that this film seems to be one of the latest steps that Sony is taking toward the long awaited cinematic debut of the Sinister Six, a team of villains that Kraven has been a part of that was originally created by Doc Ock. Now that we know that Alfred Molina is returning to that iconic role (which he first played in director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 in 2004) for the highly anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home, the likelihood of at least a cameo is not looking bad.
Overall, I believe it is most important that this film fills us in on as much as there is to know about Kraven the Hunter as possible, but the possibility of seeing any of these Marvel character appear is still a pretty exciting thought. If you had to pick just one character to see in the upcoming solo movie, who would it be?