Morbius: Everything We Know About The Dark Spider-Man Spin-Off
Marvel Studios owns an incredible number of legendary superheroes, and last year's Disney/Fox deal has given them even more. But while the X-Men and Fantastic Four can now join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fact remains that the movie rights to one of the most famous and popular Marvel superheroes of all time--Spider-Man--is owned by Sony. A deal between Sony and Disney has ensured he's currently part of the MCU, but Sony also owns a large number of other characters from Spidey comic books.
The first movie based on one of these characters was 2018's Venom. The film starred Tom Hardy as journalist Eddie Brock, who is taken over by the titular alien symbiote. It was a big success, with a worldwide gross of $856 million, and has ensured that more Spidey-related films are on the way.
Next up is Morbius, based on the character of Morbius, the Living Vampire, a dark anti-hero created by Marvel writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane in 1971. Morbius was initially introduced as a Spidey villain, but like Venom, was quickly outgrew his supporting status to headline his own comics. While he never quite achieved the iconic status of Venom, he's remained part of comic book pop culture over the years, with appearances in Spider-Man: The Animated Series and a variety of video games.
The Morbius movie was originally set to hit theaters in July last year, but like virtually every big movie in 2020, was delayed. It held a March 2021 release slot for some time, before moving to October, and then finally to January 2022 . So while we wait, here's our guide to everything we know so far about Morbius.
When is Morbius released?
Morbius is scheduled to hit theaters on January 21, 2022. This is the fourth release date the movie has held, but hopefully it's now far enough away that we'll actually see the movie then.
Who's in it?
Jared Leto plays the lead role of Dr Michael Morbius. This is Leto's second high-profile comic-book role, following his appearance as the Joker in 2016's Suicide Squad. The cast also features Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Loxias Crown, Adria Arjona (Good Omens) as Morbius's fiancée Martine, and Jared Harris (The Terror) as his mentor. There are also roles for Tyrese Gibson (the Fast & Furious series) and comedian Al Madrigal as FBI agents on Morbius's trail.
Morbius is directed by Daniel Espinosa. The Swedish filmmaker previously made the 2017's sci-fi horror movie Life, which starred Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson, and the Denzel Washington thriller Safe House.
What's the story?
As in the comic books, the Morbius movie focuses on Dr Michael Morbius, a biologist with a rare blood disease. In an attempt to cure himself, he performs an experiment involved vampire bat DNA but--inevitably--he ends up with many of the characteristics of a vampire. These include super-strength and heightened senses, but also a lust for blood and rather unfortunate changes in his physical and mental wellbeing. The movie's villain is Loxias Crown, Morbius's former friend, who in Marvel's comics becomes the evil vampiric Hunger.
Is Morbius part of the MCU?
With Spider-Man currently on loan to the MCU, Sony is pressing ahead with its own shared universe of Spidey heroes and villains, including Morbius, the upcoming Venom sequel, and possible movies focusing on Silk, Madame Web, and Jackpot.
However, the recent Morbius trailer has caused some confusion, with a poster of Spider-Man and the appearance of Spider-Man: Homecoming actor Michael Keaton implying that the film also takes place in the MCU. And while this seems unlikely, given Marvel's tight rein on its stories and characters, this isn't the first time there has been confusion like this. We'll finally (hopefully) find out in March.