On the same morning Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker earned him the nomination for Best Leading Actor at this year’s Academy Awards, the trailer for Morbius — a new superhero horror movie starring the last Joker, Jared Leto — released online. And in a twist, the film’s trailer reveals a shared continuity with Sony’s Spider-Man villain universe and the almighty Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On Monday, Sony released the trailer for Morbius starring Jared Leto. The film is based on the Marvel Comics anti-hero Morbius the Living Vampire, who debuted during the Roy Thomas era of Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man comics. In addition to Leto, the film also stars Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Matt Smith (!), and, as the trailer later reveals, Michael Keaton.
True to his name, Morbius is Dr. Michael Morbius, who grew up isolated as a child due to a rare blood condition. (In the comics he had a facial deformity, but in the movie it’s a physical disability.) But Morbius’ innate intellect allowed him to grow up to become a Nobel Prize-winning scientist.
Still, genius has limits, as Morbius’ attempt to cure himself only made his condition worse, giving himself the powers of a legendary vampire.
But while Morbius is all about the character’s dark transformation, the film’s trailer — which plays a stylized, modern remix of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” — reveals a very special spoiler: Michael Keaton reprising his role as Adrian Toomes, aka, the Vulture. “What’s up, doc?” Keaton’s Toomes says to Morbius. (Keaton is even wearing the same jumpsuit we last saw him in, all but confirming this is his MCU character and not someone new.)
This not only confirms the film takes place in the MCU continuity, but it seems that a very sinister group of villains are forging an alliance.
When fans last saw Toomes in the MCU (2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming), he was imprisoned for his lucrative black market enterprise of selling modified alien technology (leftover from 2012’s The Avengers) to criminals. In prison, Toomes confronted Scorpion (Michael Mando), which teased the creation of the infamous supervillain group the Sinister Six. Now, it seems the wait has paid off, as the Sinister Six may add Morbius to its ranks.
A Sinister Six movie was originally planned during the Andrew Garfield era. But instead, Sony collaborated with Marvel to include a new Spider-Man for the MCU.
Toomes isn’t the only major Spider-Man Easter egg. Notably, there is a shot where a graffiti of Spider-Man, labeled a “murderer” (perhaps due to his accused murder of Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home?) can be seen on a brick wall behind Morbius.
What’s funny is that the costume pictured isn’t of the MCU’s Spider-Man. Instead, it is the original “webbed” suit worn by Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi’s trilogy. Even more interesting is the actual asset appears to be one of the loading screen poses seen in the popular video game Marvel’s Spider-Man, released on the PlayStation 4 in 2018.
All of this is unexpected, and almost immediately Morbius has become the number one most anticipated superhero movie of 2020. What once seemed to be a weird project spearheaded by a frustrated Jared Leto is now a movie that could play an extremely pivotal role in the future of the MCU.
Morbius will release in theaters on July 31, 2020.