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Jared Leto's Morbius: Everything You Need to Know

Jared Leto's Morbius: Everything You Need to Know

(Updated 03/08/2022)

VENOM was a monster success, and that helped put another horror-tinged Spider-Man spinoff on the road to movie theatres. This one is oriented around a very different but equally beastly character: MORBIUS.

Long-time fans of Spider-Man comic books already know the vampiric title character, but if you're looking for a primer on the spring release, we're here to help. Jared Leto stars as the dark anti-hero in a movie by LIFE director Daniel Espinosa. It's a mix of sci-fi, superheroes, and horror, with a healthy dollop of action. MORBIUS looks like a notable successor to VENOM in the extended Spidey universe. Let’s get to know the latest character from the wider world of the web-slinger.

The Morbius Release Date

Morbius movie release date

After a longer-than-usual wait, MORBIUS comes to theatres on April 1, 2022.

Daniel Espinosa directs MORBIUS from a script by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Espinosa's previous film, LIFE, was also released by Sony — and, amusingly, prior to release, that film was jokingly theorized to be a "stealth prequel" to VENOM. LIFE is not, in fact, related to VENOM in any way, but it's fun to know that Espinosa was thought to be linked to a Spider-Man spinoff long before he actually directed one.

Watch the New Morbius Trailer!

The first MORBIUS teaser trailer (see it here) had a lot going on, and if not for the "in association with Marvel" logo at the beginning, you might not even know this is technically a superhero movie for the first half of the trailer. You might also not know that it is technically a vampire movie!

This final trailer does a lot more to explain the overall scenario in which Jared Leto's character finds himself. In short, a reckless search for the cure to a rare disease essentially turned him into a vampire. He has amazing powers, but they are fueled by blood — and if he does not drink the red stuff, he'll die.

Meet Marvel’s Morbius

Morbius in Marvel Comics

As with some of the best comic book villains (see also: Venom), Morbius began as a straight-up bad guy but eventually turned into a fascinating anti-hero with a tragic story. The character's full name is Michael Morbius. He was a brilliant biochemist stricken with a rare blood disorder. In an effort to cure the disorder, Morbius underwent an experimental treatment of his own design.

Rather than cure him, the treatment gave Morbius superhuman abilities similar to those of a vampire, earning him the name “Morbius, the Living Vampire” – even though he’s not technically an actual vampire, at least not in the supernatural sense. He still has an irresistible craving for blood, but he’s not immortal. Most of the Marvel Comics stories focus on Morbius’ attempts to cure himself while struggling with his vampire-like alter-ego.

There was also a rather dark storyline in which Morbius became a violent vigilante. And yes, of course, he had run-ins with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Meet the Movie Morbius

Jared Leto as Morbius

Jared Leto, star of SUICIDE SQUAD and Oscar-winning co-star of DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, plays the title role in the new Spider-Man spinoff. Taking a page straight from the comics, Michael Morbius’ origin story is pretty much the same: He’s a brilliant scientist with a rare blood disorder who becomes afflicted with vampire-like attributes following a failed experimental treatment. But instead of playing an outright villain from the get-go, this Morbius is more like Tom Hardy’s Venom: He’s an anti-hero whose human and vampiric alter-egos are at odds with one another.

In the trailer above, we see Matt Smitth's character encouraging Morbius to embrace the role of villain. Will he do so? Probably not, but Morbius's battle with his own nature is where the drama lies.

What Does This Have to Do With Spider-Man?

Sam Raimi's Spider-Man in Morbius

As with VENOM and its sequel, we originally thought that MORBIUS would take place in a world divorced from the MCU. But the appearance of Michael Keaton in the trailers makes us wonder.

That image above, from the first teaser, paints Spider-Man as a murderer, which could tie to the end of SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME… but that looks like the suit from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies rather than any of the costumes worn by Tom Holland in more recent films. Does that mean this movie is linked to a different timeline than the Tom Holland films? This was shot before the release of the multiverse-linked SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME, and we don't know if this movie related in any way. Heck, we don't even know if that image above will still be in MORBIUS at all!

Since the Spidey image above is reportedly sourced from the PlayStation 4 Spider-Man video game, perhaps that is just a stand-in image that will eventually be replaced. Then again, it was in the trailer that debuted in January 2020 and almost two years later it turned up in another trailer.

Regardless, don't expect to see Tom Holland’s Peter Parker swinging by. Since Marvel Studios is collaborating with Sony on the new Spider-Man movies, they have a big say in where and how Spidey appears. It's probably best to think of VENOM and MORBIUS not so much as spinoffs, but stories that take place in the same world. It’s just a darker, more grown-up world that young Peter Parker isn’t a part of just yet.

Will Morbius Feature Other Spidey Characters?

Will Venom be in Morbius?

In the comics, the treatment Morbius creates to cure his blood disorder contains the DNA of bats. When the treatment failed, that bat DNA combined with Morbius’ human DNA, creating a hybrid of sorts – not unlike Spider-Man and some of his other notable villains, including Lizard (who has yet to appear in a Spider-Man movie). If MORBIUS honors this part of the comic book story, it’s possible that we may see him interact with other Spider-Man villains like the Lizard, or even Venom.

And Matt Smith's character is a guy named Loxias Crown, better known in late '90s Spidey comics as Hunger. The character reportedly suffers from the same disease as Morbius, while in comics stories he was a former Hydra agent who is transformed into a "living vampire" by Morbius himself.

Who’s Who in the Morbius Cast

Michael Keaton in Morbius

Adria Arjona, who appeared in Amazon’s "Good Omens" series, plays Morbius’ fiancee, Martine Bancroft. In the comics, Martine helps Morbius create an antidote, but it only cures people infected with the vampiric virus – not Morbius himself. Our anti-hero will also have a little help from his mentor, played by veteran British actor Jared Harris, who appeared in HBO’s critically-acclaimed series "Chernobyl."

Aside from former "Doctor Who" star Matt Smith, mentioned above, we round out the main cast with FAST & FURIOUS favorite Tyrese Gibson. He plays Simon Stroud, an FBI agent investigating Morbius. Will he eventually partner with Morbius to take on Loxias Crown, or will he stand in his way?

And then, of course, there's Michael Keaton, whose precise role in MORBIUS is unknown. We assume that he is playing Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture in SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING. There's even a line in the trailer that seems to reference Sony's long-standing concept for a SINISTER SIX movie, which would team up Spider-Man villains. We can't wait to see what's really going on with Keaton's character — maybe this is a new version of the actor playing the same character in otherwise unrelated movies, as when he played Ray Nicolette in both JACKIE BROWN and OUT OF SIGHT!

Morbius opens on April 1!

All images courtesy of Sony Pictures.

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