Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Morbius.After what feels like an eternity, Sony’s antihero origin story Morbius has finally been released. The film was first announced in November 2017, with writers Matt Sazama spirit Burk Sharpless attached to conceive of an origin story for the Marvel character. The announcement came shortly after Sony announced plans to create its own shared universe, which has subsequently been referred to as Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU). Jared Leto became attached to the titular role early on, and a release date was set for July 2020. Morbius was pushed back due to COVID-19 multiple times before a January 2022 release date was officially scheduled. After the box office success of Spider-Man: No Way Homeits release was pushed again to January.
Morbius is the third film in the SSU, following 2018’s Venom and its 2020 sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage. It tells the origin story of Dr. Michael Morbius (Leto), a brilliant medical researcher who has developed groundbreaking insights into blood transfusions. Despite his achievements, Morbius suffers from a critical blood disease, and consumes blood from a vampire bat during a failed experiment. He gains vampiric powers, setting up Leto’s future within the SSU.
Although Tom Hardy‘s Venom does not appear in Morbius, the two franchises exist within the same reality. The upcoming film Kraven the Hunter will introduce Aaron Taylor-Johnson as another one of Spider-Man’s main antagonists. Although none of these characters have met yet, Sony has hinted that there may be plans for a team up project in the future. Sony has claimed two release dates for untitled Marvel projects on June 23 and October 6, 2023. It’s unclear what these films will be; a third Venom film, a Morbius sequel, and a Spider-Woman film from director Olivia Wilde have been discussed.
Both Morbius spirit Venom: Let There Be Carnage have teased connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Prior to the new shared rights agreement between Sony and Marvel Studios, Sony had been developing plans to create a unique universe that was completely separate from the MCU. Sony planned to use The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to launch several spinoff projects featuring Spider-Man villains and supporting characters, including a team up event with The Sinister Six. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 previewed appearances by other villains, but the plans were subsequently scrapped.
Marvel Studios was given creative control over the future Spider-Man films, and Andrew Garfield was replaced by Tom Holland for a new trilogy set in the MCU. However, Sony still has the ability to develop other films based on the Marvel properties at its disposal, and thus the plans for the SSU that were scrapped are in the works again.
At the end of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock discovers the existence of multiple realities within the multiverse. In the MCU film Spider-Man: No Way HomeDoctor Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) opens up the multiverse, explaining the appearances by villains from both the Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire universes. Although the film concludes with Holland’s Peter Parker returning to the MCU timeline, a post-credit scene teased the future when Hardy briefly flashes in and out.
The post-credit scenes for Morbius explores a further connection between the SSU and the MCU as a result of the multiverse. In the first post-credit sequence, Michael Keaton‘s character Adrien Toomes (also known as “The Vulture”) was transported into a prison cell as a result of the rift within the multiverse. Toomes had been sent to prison at the end of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. However, the characters in the SSU timeline are unaware of his crimes, and he’s released from prison. In the second post-credit sequence, Toomes approaches Morbius with a proposal to join a team he’s developing. This would indicate the creation of the Sinister Six, which could combine villains like Morbius, Venom, and Kraven together.
It remains unclear how Spider-Man will factor into this universe. Although Holland’s Spider-Man is firmly within the MCU timeline for the time being, the possibilities of the multiverse indicate that he could show up at some point in the SSU. Whether Sony plans to move Holland back to the SSU, include him simultaneously, or introduce another version of Spider-Man is unclear. In a December 2021 interview, Marvel Studios producer Kevin Fiege and Sony Pictures Chairperson Amy Pascal announced their intent to create a fourth film starring Holland. Given the record-breaking success of Spider-Man: No Way Homewhich at nearly $ 1.9 billion is now the sixth highest-grossing film of all-tie, it’s likely that we’ll be getting news soon.
The future of Morbius within both the MCU and the SSU is still unclear. Leto has expressed interest in crossovers with both Hardy’s Venom and the upcoming MCU reboot of Blade starring Mahershela Ali. However, a Morbius sequel has not officially been announced with, and the role in which Leto factors into the future of the SSU may come down on to the film’s box office performance. So far, reviews have not been kind to Morbiusso we will have to wait and see.
‘Morbius’ Review: Jared Leto’s Turn as a Marvel Antihero Leaves Much to Be Desired
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