With mere days before its global rollout, Black Panther is already received widespread critical acclaim, and appears poised to become a commercial success. But if not for the tangle of rights deals that give other studios control of some Marvel Comics characters, director Ryan Coogler reveals it might have turned out a different film -- one in which Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter played a central role.
A Marvel Comics fan, Coogler initially wanted to bring to the screen the fight between Black Panther and Kraven from writer Christopher Priest's influential run on the series.
“Being a Marvel fan, you want to grab all the characters," Coogler, who co-wrote the film with Joe Robert Cole, told Yahoo! Movies UK. You realize there’s contractual things. You don’t have that character. 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.’ He was one where I thought ‘Oh, man.’ But I don’t even know if he would have worked in the movie we ended up with. This was the early days.”
Of course, Coogler isn't the only one who likes Kraven: Fans have hoped for years that the big-game hunter would make a prominent appearance in Sony Pictures' Spider-Man series. His big-screen debut may be on the horizon, however, as the studio is said to be plotting a Kraven solo film as part of its expansion of the franchise that begins with Venom and Silver & Black.
Opening Feb. 16 in the United States, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, Winston Duke as M’Baku and Forest Whitaker as Zuri.