Russell Crowe Joins Kraven The Hunter, Sony's Next Marvel Movie

"Kraven the Hunter" just received a huge boost in star power.

Sony's unique corner of the Marvel universe (although it's now referred to as "Sony's Spider-Man Universe," may we #NeverForget the original placeholder title "Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters," or "SPUMC" for short) continues to round into shape. After "Venom" and its sequel, Marvel and Sony's collaboration on "Spider-Man: No Way Home" went even further in legitimizing these movies as being loosely connected to Tom Holland's adventures as Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Today brings the surprising news that the "Kraven" film, following the traditional Spider-Man villain with a taste for hunting animals and certain animal-themed heroes, is adding Oscar-winner Russell Crowe to the cast. The Crowe casting comes courtesy (say that five times fast, I dare you) of THR, with the movie star joining Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the eponymous villain/antihero — which we covered when that news broke back in May of 2021. Should you mistakenly believe that this sort of role might be beneath him, Crowe has shown no misgivings about adding his talent to blockbusters in the past, having appeared in movies like "Robin Hood" (a Crowe/Ridley Scott reunion after starring in 2000's "Gladiator," of course), Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel," and, of course, his instantly iconic and not-at-all forgotten role as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in 2017's "The Mummy," the grand introduction to (and, uh, only installment of) Universal's Dark Universe.

Russell Crowe Joins Kraven the Hunter

Let's get weird, people. Though many comic fans would argue that a "Kraven the Hunter" film can't really work when divorced from, you know, Spider-Man himself, Sony is clearly pulling out all the stops to make this film as much of a hit as "Venom." Russell Crowe's casting only makes that ambition even clearer, although the THR report doesn't include any story details or information on just who Crowe may be portraying in the film. That said, the original article does include the nugget that "many of the main characters are said to be Kraven's family members," possibly adding a mentor angle or even a fatherly connection between Crowe's character and Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Kraven.

"Kraven the Hunter" is directed by J.C. Chandor ("Margin Call," "All Is Lost," "A Most Violent Year," "Triple Frontier") and comes from a script written by Art Marcum & Matt Holloway and Richard Wenk. The news of Crowe's casting comes on the heels of yet another Sony production involving Marvel characters, as Dakota Johnson recently boarded "Madame Web." This will actually be Crowe's second major Marvel project, having already joined Taika Waititi's "Thor: Love and Thunder" as the god Zeus. In case I even have to say it, he's in all likelihood playing a completely different character in "Kraven," as much as I'd like to see Kraven the Hunter go up against the pantheon of Greek gods.

"Kraven the Hunter" is scheduled to release on January 13, 2023.