Anyone who has been following the widespread email leaks from Sony and a number of other studios is well aware of the possible futures of some well-known cinematic properties. Everything from an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover movie to an animated Spider-Man film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller has been circulating online. None of the information has been confirmed or denied from the studios, but the leaks do warrant a fair amount of speculation.
Although writing about the possible interactions between the X-Men and Fantastic Four’s internet-troll version of Dr. Doom would certainly prove exciting, one of the more interesting bits of news to leak this past weekend was the internal discussion among the Sony hierarchy about a possible adaptation of “Kraven’s Last Hunt.”
Considered by many to be one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever written, “Kraven’s Last Hunt” tells the twisted tale of Kraven the Hunter and his defeat of “the arachnid.” After shooting Spider-Man repeatedly, Kraven buries his body and dons a copy of the wall-crawler’s black costume. Seeking to prove himself the superior “hunter,” Kraven captures the villain Vermin (an enemy Spider-Man was unable to defeat), who at that time had been preying on the many citizens of New York City. The final outcome of the book is both dark and disturbing in its depiction of Kraven’s mental state and obsession with Spider-Man. According to J.M. DeMatteis, the author of the comic, the book was said to be partially inspired by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and English poet William Blake’s Tyger.
One thing is certain; there is no doubt that an adaptation of this book would result in a huge tonal shift from the Spider-Man films that have been previously released. This is a story just as much about a mentally unhinged enemy’s greatest obsession as it is about Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s strained relationship and marriage. Those are the two central plots of the book, and even though alterations are always inevitable in regard to cinematic adaptations of works, neither of those two things should be ignored nor changed.
Sony Producer Jeff Robinov, one of the many victims of the widespread email hacking, is a proponent of adapting “Kraven’s Last Hunt” and spoke quite eloquently on the subject in one of the recently leaked emails. Usually, I would simply post the quote for all to read, but Sony’s recent threats of legal action against any publications printing of “original material” from the leaked e-mails has left me a little apprehensive. So, I will do my best to summarize Robinov’s quote.
According to Robinov, he believes “Kraven’s Last Hunt” has resonated with readers for decades because the story proves wearing a costume does not make a person a hero. He goes on to say that Peter Parker is “sensitive, passionate and connected” to those he interacts with on a daily basis as Peter and his superhero alter-ego. Peter’s powers are not what make him special, but are just a single part of what makes him who he is. Robinov says that it is Spidey’s personality, morality, lessons from Uncle Ben and love of his wife that make him such an interesting character. He finishes saying that “Kraven’s Last Hunt” is both “intense” and deals with very adult themes.
Robinov also seems to be taking the widespread criticisms The Amazing Spider-Man 2 received to heart, believing that it is time to present an adult version of the character, dealing with not only being Spider-Man, but also the responsibilities of being a husband and teacher.
As many avid comic readers know, Spider-Man was married to Mary Jane for years and worked at his former high school as a science teacher. However, due to the events of the universally reviled “One More Day” storyline, Peter made a deal with the devil to save the life of Aunt May. The devil, aka Mephisto, agrees to save her life on the condition that he gets to erase the existence of Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage and 30+ years of select Spider-Man continuity. It’s funny that Marvel Comics seems to be so adamant about keeping Spider-Man a teenager, even with a demand from both readers and executives like Robinov to see the character change and grow as a person.
Of course, none of these rumored plans could come to fruition. Perhaps, Sony will go ahead with their Sinister Six, Venom and Spider-Women movies, or maybe Sony will go back to the negotiation table with Marvel Studios over film rights and distribution. At this point, nothing is set in stone and only one thing is perfectly clear. Sony has no fucking clue what they’re doing with Marvel’s most beloved and cherished character, and that is both a scary and sad realization.
What about you reader? Would you want to see a cinematic adaptation of “Kraven’s Last Hunt?” What do you think of all these recent leaks? Let us know in the comments below!