Spurred on by the commercial success of Tom Hardy’s Venom, Sony is adding to its Spider-Man spin-off shared universe with Morbius – a new take on the Marvel antihero with vampiric tendencies and superhuman abilities.
His co-star, Matt Smith, has also been spotted on set in Manchester.
Production is next expected to shift to Atlanta – the filming location of many Marvel films – and conclude at the end of May 2019.
Who is in the cast of Morbius?
Jared Leto (known for his Oscar-winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club and as Thirty Seconds to Mars’ frontman) is playing the titular Morbius, created in 1971 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane as Morbius the Living Vampire.
Going by the name of Michael Morbius, the Nobel Prize-winning biochemist tried to cure his own blood disorder but instead turned himself into a pseudo-vampire with superhuman abilities. He started out as a villain in the comics before morphing into more of an anti-hero.
Morbius is not Leto’s first foray into superhero movies – his much-hyped Joker appeared in 2016’s Suicide Squad but, despite its commercial success, the film garnered negative reviews and Leto is not expected to return for the sequel (with Joaquin Phoenix having providing Warner Bros’ next take on the role in the award-winning Joker).
Matt Smith joins him in Morbius, playing Loxias Crown – the film’s villain and Morbius’ best friend who suffers from the same blood disease. Smith has previously said he was persuaded to join a superhero movie by his former Doctor Who co-star, Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers movies: “She told me that she really likes it, making those movies. That was enough for me.”
Also starring are The Crown’s Jared Harris playing Morbius’ mentor, Adria Arjona (True Detective) as the film’s main love interest, and Tyrese Gibson (Fast & Furious) as an FBI agent trying to hunt down the living vampire.
Fans had speculated that Jared Harris might also be playing iconic Spider-Man villain Doc Ock, aka Doctor Octopus, aka Dr. Otto Octavius, but he flat-out denied the claims. When Variety asked Harris if his character might also be the villain, the Chernobyl actor answered: “No. I love the imagination that the fans have, it’s exciting for me to think about the imagination that fans have. But yeah no, it’s not.”
And in something of a surprise move, Michael Keaton was confirmed to be making an appearance in the film after featuring in the teaser trailer – will he be playing a character we’ve met before?
Is there a trailer for Morbius?
Yes! Sony has now released a teaser trailer for fans to get their fangs into…
What is the plot of Morbius? Will Tom Holland’s Spider-Man make an appearance?
Details on the exact plot of the film are being kept under wraps for now, but – based on the format of 2018’s Venom – we expect it to be some sort of origin story for the titular character.
Based on the trailer, it looks like we’ll be seeing another very dark, gritty take on the superhero genre. In the trailer we see a doctor, Michael Morbius (Leto) attempt to come to terms with a rare blood condition – going so far as to experiment with bat DNA in an attempt to cure himself, which turns him into his vampire-like super-villain form.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the trailer is the appearance of Michael Keaton – with many fans speculating that he is sure to be playing Vulture, the same super-villain he appeared as in the MCU film Spiderman: Homecoming.
Despite appearing in the comics with Spider-Man, Venom and Morbius exist in a cinematic shared universe Sony has created to sit separately from the one portrayed in the Marvel films (which are owned by Disney) where Tom Holland’s current version of Spidey exists. A deal between the two studios previously allowed Spider-Man – a Sony character – to enter the MCU, and there he’ll stay for the meantime.
Sony has been hard at work on its superhero stable with Morbius in production, a Venom sequel in the works and development on further films Silver & Black and Nightwatch.