Sony is ransacking one Dark Universe for another.
For the next installment in Sony’s dark Marvel Cinematic Universe of Spider-Man villains, the studio has trapped Russell Crowe in another anti-superhero movie, Kraven The Hunter. Crowe is no stranger to Dark Universes, having starred as Dr. Jekyll in the failed franchise-starter The Mummy.
Scheduled for a January 2023 release, Kraven The Hunter will star Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the classic Spider-Man villain Kraven, who debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man#15. Kraven is a Russian big-game hunter who comes to New York to pursue the most dangerous of prizes: Spider-Man. This proto-Predator character’s most famous run, though, came in the 1980 Spider-Man arc “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” in which Kraven seemingly kills Spidey, buries him, and assumes the role of Friendly Neighborhood web slinger.
Sony may have given up Spider-Man to Kevin Feige, but that will not stop them from putting together an adjacent MCU made entirely of Spidey’s villains. Following the success of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and, we assume, Morbius, Sony is filling out its universe with Kraven and the recently announced Madame Web starring Dakota Johnson.
It’s still unclear, though, whether audiences will bite for Morbius. Like Joker, Venom had the benefit of centering on one of the most famous and beloved comic book characters ever. Whereas Kraven, Morbius, and Madame Web are, well, significantly less popular. Venom: Let There Be Carnage also had the added benefit of featuring a scene where Venom cooks Eddie Brock’s breakfast, but we digress.
Morbius’ release date jumped from the January dumping ground to April, a move set in motion by the outrageous success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which connected both universes. The latest Spider-Man movie has made more than $1.3 billion thus far—a staggering figure considering the dismal pandemic box office.