Morbius is referencing all four Spider-Man universes – so where is it actually set?

The MCU, the Venom-verse, the Raimi-verse... fans are pondering where the Jared Leto vampire vehicle takes place.

Morbius trailer

Sony is slithering its way back into our lives as the Venom-Verse expands with Daniel Espinosa’s Morbius. The much-delayed Venom spin-off was due to unfurl its wings in July 2020, but with the Living Vampire being confined to the crypt, Jared Leto’s debut as Michael Morbius has been left to stew for a little longer.

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The latest Morbius trailer has come out of the gate hot and dismissed any assumptions that the next entry in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters will ‘suck’. While Morbius’ arrival looks like it will tie into a much larger SPUMC, fans are rightly asking which reality it takes place in. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe teeters on the edge of its own Multiverse, Morbius poses itself as a confusing outing.

Namely, Morbius has ties to all three Spider-Men, with Easter eggs linking to Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland’s dynasties. Do all of these further hit home that the terrific trio will share the screen in Spider-Man: No Way Home? Notably, Morbius includes a poster of the wall-crawling hero sprayed with the words “murderer” – hinting that Morbius will follow Mysterio setting Peter Parker up for his murder. The problem is, the Spidey featured on the poster seems to be wearing the Maguire suit. Elsewhere, eagle-eyed viewers have picked up on an apparent nod to Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man movies. 

The new trailer features a physical copy of the Daily Bugle. It bizarrely has the logo from Raimi’s days instead of the online version from Spider-Man: Far From Home. The banner for the Bugle mentions Rhino having escaped from prison and questioning whether Black Cat is “friend or foe” – Paul Giamatti played Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, while Felicity Jones portrayed Black Cat’s alter ego Felicia Hardy in the same movie. Both were expected to return in a third movie/Sinister Six spin-off, before these projects were shelved.

Morbius – Rhino / Black Cat Easter egg

Neither star is tipped to return in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but if the paper isn’t an Easter egg, it could confirm Morbius for either Raimi or Webb continuity. (The latter would definitely help Jamie Foxx’s reprieve as Electro in No Way Home.)

In terms of world-building, the Morbius trailer also includes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse at a skyscraper with the words OSCORP proudly displayed on the top. Norman Osborn had a small role in Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man movies (played by Chris Cooper) and more famously formed a major part of Sam Raimi’s acclaimed trilogy from the ‘00s, as portrayed by Willem Dafoe. Although we don’t get to see who is on the board at OSCORP, it throws up some tantalising opportunities.

Oscorp building in Morbius

It’s no secret that Dafoe is heavily rumoured to be reprising his role as Osborn from the Raimiverse. The first No Way Home trailer included a rolling pumpkin bomb and what sounded a lot like Dafoe’s goblin laugh. Norman Osborn is a figurehead of Marvel villains, so it was only a matter of time before he was cast in the MCU to help segue into the likes of the Dark Avengers. Whether Dafoe’s potential No Way Home cameo could lead to a more permanent return remains to be seen, but the tease of OSCORP could have huge consequences for the main MCU and the Venom-Verse.

Finally, Morbius has hinted it could be part of the main continuity of the MCU. Sony bigwig Amy Pascal has repeatedly hinted Venom and the rest are considered part of the MCU, whereas Kevin Feige has distanced himself from the idea. Way back when, jaws were on the floor when Michael Keaton seemingly stepped up to play Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture, once again. In the trailer, Toomes ominously says he and Morbius should keep in touch. If this isn’t a hint at some sort of Sinister Six team-up, we don’t know what is.

Venom wasn’t initially considered part of the MCU until Venom: Let There Be Carnage’s shocking post-credits scenehowever, Morbius tries to put the two antiheroes in the same continuity. There’s a brief mention of an incident in “San Francisco”, which just so happens to be where the events of both Venom movies took place. 

Unfortunately, we’re still no closer to deciphering which universe Morbius fits into – but at the end of the day, is it a big deal? It’s clear the likes of Loki, No Way Home, and the Doctor Strange sequel are in the process of blowing the doors off the Multiverse, meaning it doesn’t really matter which reality something is supposed to be set in – in effect, they’re now all one big universe anyway. In terms of crossovers and characters galore from the past and present of Marvel madness, we say the more the merrier – and to hell with the admin!

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Morbius hits cinemas on 28th January 2022 – visit our Movies hub for more news and features, or find something to watch with our TV Guide