‘Morbius’ Trailer Breakdown: Bats, Neo-Vampirism & Those MCU Surprises

     January 13, 2020

Sony just debuted the first trailer for Morbius and, my oh my, there sure is a whole lot to process in the midst of all that exposition. To get the basics out of the way, Morbius stars Jared Leto as the title antihero; a brilliant doctor born with a blood condition who spends his life obsessed with curing his ailment — but when he finally does, oopsie daisy, he turns himself into a so-called “Living Vampire,” with super-strength, hyper-speed, and an insatiable thirst for human blood.

But that’s not all. The trailer also dropped some unexpected Spider-Man cameos and connections that hint at possible MCU crossover and set the stage for Morbius to become a next step for Sony’s growing live-action Spider-Verse. The latest iteration kicked off with Spider-Man: Homecoming, ahead of Venom and Spider-Man: Far from Home, and thanks to that super-tricky and evolving Sony-MCU deal for Spider-Man, it’s never been exactly clear how much those movies could crossover, if at all. Until now. Kind of. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Starting from the top, we’re going to take a look at the new trailer and see what we learned.

Probably because Morbius isn’t a household name a la Spider-Man (or even Venom), the trailer acts as a pretty concise nugget-sized origin story for the character, Dr. Michael Morbius, from his childhood in Greece, where he was ostracized and bullied for his blood condition, to his rise to the top of his field as a Nobel Prize-winning career as a scientist.

But, haunted by the pall of his terminal blood disease, Morbius is determined to cure himself; a determination that leads him to the experimental procedure that turns him into a living vampire. In the comics, the procedure involves electroshock and a chemical compound pulled from vampire bat DNA. It looks like they might be spicing it up for the movie with a bit of cave adventuring and veritable shit ton of bats, but the key elements look the same.

But, of course, in the tradition of all great mad scientist-inspired lore, Morbius only succeeds in turning himself into a literal monster; a blood-thirsty pseudo-vampire “increased strength and speed, the ability to use echolocation, and an overpowering urge to consume human blood.” The trailer shows off all of his new abilities (and his requisite superhero movie bod, naturally) as well as a glimpse at his monstrous form. tomBut the Morbius trailer saved its biggest surprises for the final moments, which pack in two major Easter eggs that confirm the film is connected to Sony’s Spider-Man universe and raise some curious questions about where it sits in connection to the MCU.

The first is a direct visual Spider-Man reference, where we see the web-slinger on an alley wall behind Morbius with the word “Murderer” graffitied over him. The Spider-Man reference would be one thing, but the murderer tag seems to directly tie-in to the events of Far from Home, which saw Jake Gyllenhaal‘s villainous (and deliciously extra) Mysterio frame Spidey for all his wrongdoings, and re-edited the footage of Mysterio’s demise to make Spidey look like a killer.

What’s more, that film’s tag saw J.K. Simmons return as J. Jonah Jameson, raising some very curious questions about exactly what timeline and/or universe the Spidey-verse is taking in place in. If that wasn’t all confusing enough, the Spider-Man image seen in the Morbius trailer appears to be a reference to the 2018 PS4 Spider-Man game. (Side Note: This image is the sneak peak that had fans riled up over the weekend because it’s an almost exact pull from the comics and shows Leto in full beast-mode. It’ll be interesting to see how much of the movie he spends in his full vamped-out face and how the film approaches the extent of his transformation in general.) And if you weren’t already confused on which universe overlaps with what, none other than Michael Keaton makes a cameo at the end of the trailer, casually dropping a “What’s up, doc?” to Morbius. That’s not just a fun crossover alt-universe Batman/Joker crossover — it seems to be the return of Keaton’s Vulture, aka Adrian Toomes, who was last seen in prison at the end of Homecoming, and it has fans spinning out some Sinister theories about the future of the franchise.

So does this mean Sony’s larger Spider-Man verse is now a part of the MCU? Kind of. But not necessarily. It certainly means the two are sharing characters — something that was confirmed the moment Simmons popped up in the Far from Home post-credits scene — and they certainly seem to exist in some kind of shared greater Marvel universe, but I wouldn’t expect the crossovers to go too far.

If you recall when the Sony and Marvel deal nearly fell apart last year, Tom Holland was able to keep his beloved character in the MCU with some heartfelt calls, and in the aftermath, MCU boss Kevin Feige hinted there might be a bit more fluid crossover in the future.

“Sider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe,” Feige said at the time. “He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.”

We’ll have to see how this all shakes down, but given that Far from Home introduced the concept of alternate universes (and Avengers: Endgame ran with that concept full-speed ahead,) and the fact that Simmons’ presence already ties Sony’s ongoing Spider-Man films into a very Into the Spider-Verse esque blender of past and present characters (not to mention the proud comics tradition of alternate universes and timelines,) I’m putting my money on Sony & Marvel using that as their ticket to somewhat shared but still distinct cinematic universes.

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