We are a week away from the arrival of Black Panther, Marvel’s latest film in their cinematic universe. The film is getting attention from all over the world, and has already been “certified fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. Reviews are praising virtually everything about the film. Its look, its style, its lead in Chadwick Boseman, its supporting cast, and surprisingly, its villain, Kilmonger. The MCU hasn’t had the greatest track record when it came to its villains, but this film seems to be breaking that trend in a big way.
That’s good to know for sure, for if it’s true, it’ll make the film that much more enjoyable. However, you might be surprised to hear that Kilmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) wasn’t set to be the villain at first. Instead, according to director Ryan Coogler, Kraven The Hunter was going to be the villain of the film. Now, this wasn’t a “random” inclusion, there was a Black Panther comic run that featured T’Challa going up against Kraven, and that made an impression on Coogler:
“There was a Christopher Priest run that was pretty heavy, there’s a big scene where Panther’s fighting Kraven, Kraven the Hunter. I’ve always loved Kraven the Hunter in almost every iteration. So there was a moment — ‘Can I grab Kraven?’ — and they were ‘Nah, you don’t have Kraven.’
Kraven, of course, is a major part of Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery, and is arguably one of the most well-rounded and intimidating villains he’s ever faced. He’s a big game hunter, and much like Batman, uses his skills and knowledge to defeat his foes. With Sony owning the rights to Spider-Man characters, it’s no surprise that Kraven wasn’t available.
However, that doesn’t mean Kraven can’t appear in live-action form. Rumors persist that he could be the villain in the next Spider-Man film. Or, Sony could make him the story of his own film like Venom is about to have.