Jared Leto may be done playing his much maligned take on the Joker in the DC Extended Universe, but thankfully there’s no shortage of comic book properties for him to latch onto. The latest is Morbius, part of Sony’s Marvel Universe (a.k.a., the scraps the studio was left with after making a deal to keep Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). The first trailer has today been revealed, and it looks like there’s a shot this relatively obscure B-character could make good on the silver screen.
Leto plays the title character, a.k.a. Dr. Michael Morbius, a Noble Prize-winning scientist who attempts to cure his own rare blood disease with an experimental procedure involving bats. Technically it works — although the side-effect turns him into a pseudo-vampire; think Blade’s “all of their strengths, none of their weaknesses,” except Morbius looks like a vampire and needs to ingest fresh blood to survive.
Standing on the opposite side of the darkness is Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Loxias Crown, another neo-creature of the night known in the comics as Hunger. (He’s also a mutant in the books, but Marvel has all those X-Men rights back now.) Morbius also stars Adria Arjona as Leto’s love interested, Martine Bancroft, and Tyrese Gibson as the F.B.I.’s vampire hunter, Simon Stroud. Jared Harris also has a role as Morbius’ close confidant.
What’s more, the trailer reveals some incredibly close ties to the MCU’s existing Spider-Man series. In the background of one scene is an image of Spidey from the Tobey Maguire movies with the word “MURDERER” scrawled across it. Many have speculated this is in reference to the ending of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which (spoiler) finds Spider-Man publicly accused of killing Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). (They probably used the Maguire version because Marvel still owns all the rights to the Tom Holland take.) This seems to be all but confirmed by a surprise cameo that appears near the end of the Morbius trailer — by the Vulture himself, Michael Keaton.
Of course, Morbius was made while Sony was under the impression they’d be getting full rights to the Spider-Man franchise back, something that changed when star Tom Holland helped convince the studio to strike a new deal with Marvel. Exactly how the SMU will be able to connect to the MCU has always been up for debate, but it looks like we’ll be getting an interesting answer when Morbius claws into theaters on July 31st.
Check out the trailer below.
Morbius will mark the second entry in the SMU following 2018’s critically panned but commercially blockbuster Venom. Andy Serkis is directing returning star Tom Hardy in the follow-up, expected out October 2nd, 2020. A number of other films have been teased in various stages — including Silk, Nightwatch, Silver & Black, Kraven the Hunter, Jackpot, and most recently Madame Web — but none seem to be making much progress. Sequels and spin-offs for the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse seem like real possibilities, however.