Sony Pictures has a long history with Spider-Man and the other Marvel Comics characters the studio owns the big-screen rights to, but it wasn’t until the last few years that plans for an interconnected universe featuring those characters shifted into high gear. After the success of 2018’s Venom, Sony announced plans for more films based on characters connected to Spider-Man in Marvel’s comics canon, beginning with Morbius, the Living Vampire.
Set to star Jared Leto as the film’s titular, blood-craving antihero, Morbius is directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Life) and will introduce the popular character who has been both enemy and ally to Spider-Man over the years. Morbius is scheduled to hit theaters on July 31, 2020, so here’s everything we know about it so far.
There’s been no official word on the plot of Morbius at this point, but in Marvel Comics canon, Morbius was a brilliant biochemist whose efforts to cure his own rare blood disorder result in him acquiring powerful abilities along with an insatiable hunger for blood. He first appeared in a 1971 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man and is the creation of Roy Thomas and Gil Kane — giving him the distinction of being the first Spider-Man villain not created by Stan Lee.
Over the years, Morbius fought against and alongside Spider-Man at various points, often while struggling to control his vampiric hunger. Like Venom, he spent a considerable amount of time as a violent vigilante, often using criminals to sate his cravings for blood.
Jared Leto didn’t exactly win over comics fans with his supporting performance as Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad, but he’s getting a second chance with the lead role in Morbius.
An Academy Award winner, Leto was cast in the film’s lead role in June 2018. Nearly a year later, we got our first look at him on the set of the film, courtesy of an animated image he posted on Twitter.
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) April 4, 2019
The photo was accompanied by a cryptic caption that hinted at the film’s dark tone: “Because no one else will walk this path … this place of shadows, where we do what must be done, no matter the cost.”
The supporting cast
Joining Leto in the film’s cast will be a host of familiar faces. Good Omens actress Adria Arjona will play a fellow vampire, Martine Bancroft, who also becomes Morbius’ love interest.
Former Doctor Who star Matt Smith (pictured above) will play Loxias Crown, an established Marvel Comics character who’s had his history tweaked for the film, and will now reportedly be a former friend of Morbius who suffers from a similar blood disorder. He’s joined by Chernobyl actor Jared Harris, who will play a mentor role to Morbius, as well as Tyrese Gibson, who will play FBI agent Simon Stroud.
Morbius will reportedly be set in the same universe as Venom, making it likely that the events in the latter film could be referenced in the former, and that the upcoming Venom sequel could also connect both films narratively in one way or another.
Along with the two aforementioned franchises, Sony also has several other film projects in the works based on Spider-Man’s allies, enemies, and supporting characters. Those include the villain team-up movie The Sinister Six, as well as films based on the character Madame Web, Black Cat, Silver Sable, and Kraven the Hunter, among others.
Although Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man and all of these characters are connected to the famous web-slinger, it’s unknown whether Spider-Man will ever appear in or other be overtly referenced in any of the films. However, the brief feud between Sony and Disney-owned Marvel Studios that saw Spider-Man temporarily leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and the introduction of the “multiverse” concept in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Far From Home) suggests that Sony’s vision for the wall-crawler could bring him into the world of Venom and Morbius at some point.
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