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As we close in on the February 16 release of Black Panther in theaters across the country, director Ryan Coogler is starting to peel the curtain back on his creative process. In a new interview with Yahoo Movies, he says he originally wanted to include a cameo from Spider-Man villain Kraven The Hunter in the film.
"Being a Marvel fan, you want to grab all the characters," Coogler explained. "There was a Christopher Priest run that was pretty heavy, there’s a big scene where Panther’s fighting Kraven The Hunter."
Unfortunately, due to the complicated nature of creating a film that must fit in with everything else happening in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe, he wasn't allowed to use Kraven in Black Panther. "I’ve always loved Kraven the Hunter in almost every iteration," Coogler said. "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."
Coogler makes it clear that beyond minor cameo decisions like that, however, none of his creative decisions were restricted by Marvel.
Asked if he was denied the chance to do anything because of Avengers: Infinity War (which will arrive in theaters this summer), Coogler responded, "No, not at all. That never happened. It was possible, maybe if I wanted to kill T’Challa or something. But nothing I wanted to do creatively came into conflict with what Joe and Anthony [Russo] were doing with their film—and I wasn’t encouraged to do anything that strayed from that by the studio either. It was a beautiful situation."
Judging on the overwhelmingly positive reviews that are already pouring in, we assume the film didn't suffer too much by missing out on a Kraven cameo, but we have to admit it would have been fun to watch him fight Black Panther. If you're unfamiliar with Kraven The Hunter, he first showed up in The Amazing Spider-Man #15 back in 1964 but has never appeared in a Spider-Man film. Check out the video below for more on his origin story.