After a handful of blunders, Sony Pictures has once again established itself as a powerful player in the realm of comic book movies, with a number of recent hits to its name.
In collaboration with Marvel Studios (which continues working on its own slate of upcoming Marvel movies) the company has restored the Spider-Man film franchise to its former glory, with recent rumours suggesting that Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire could be returning soon.
Meanwhile, Sony are forging ahead with their own adjacent cinematic universe populated by classic Spidey villains, which got off to a strong start with Tom Hardy’s box office juggernaut, Venom.
Cult favourite character Morbius, often referred to as The Living Vampire, is about to join the party with a solo origin film starring Suicide Squad‘s Jared Leto.
The project sparked much online chatter with its intriguing teaser trailer at the start of the year, which seemed to suggest a more direct connection to the MCU than most fans had expected to see.
Since then, Morbius has been hit with a major delay as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but we’re now only a few months away from its new release date.
Read on for everything we know so far about Morbius.
When is Morbius released in cinemas?
Morbius originally had its release set for 31st July 2020 in both the UK and the United States, but was one of many films to be delayed as a direct consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, the film is expected to arrive in cinemas on 19th March 2021 – although it’s possible this could be pushed back again depending on the latest COVID-19 developments.
The movie began filming in England at the end of February 2019, with Leto marking the start of production with a Twitter post of a week one clapperboard:
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) March 5, 2019
His co-star, Matt Smith, was also spotted on set in Manchester during filming before production shifted to Atlanta, where work was completed in 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.
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.
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 said he was persuaded to join a superhero movie by his former Doctor Who co-star, Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: “She told me that she really likes it, making those movies. That was enough for me.”
Also appearing is Jared Harris (The Crown) as 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 so-called living vampire.
Fans had speculated that Jared Harris might also be playing iconic Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus, aka Dr. Otto Octavius, but he flat-out denied the claims.
When Variety asked Harris if his character might be the iconic 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. It’s yet to be confirmed whether he’ll be reprising his Spider-Man role as Vulture, but there’s certainly a strong possibility.
What is the plot of Morbius?
Based on the trailer, it looks like we’ll be seeing a very dark take on the superhero genre. In the teaser, we meet Michael Morbius (Leto) as he attempts to fight a rare blood condition – going so far as to experiment with bat DNA in an attempt to cure himself, which transforms him into his vampire-like form.
Is there a trailer for Morbius?
Yes! Sony has now released a teaser trailer for fans to get their fangs into…
Will Tom Holland’s Spider-Man make an appearance?
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 Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This raises a lot of questions as Venom and Morbius exist in a cinematic universe Sony has created to sit separately from the one portrayed in Disney’s MCU films, where Tom Holland’s version of Spidey currently exists.
If Keaton is indeed reprising his Vulture role, it could open the door to Sony and Disney’s distinct universes merging at some point down the line – but that is merely speculation at this point in time.
For now, Tom Holland is not expected to appear in Morbius or Venom, with Sony only featuring the superhero in animated form, releasing the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018 (with a few sequels and spin-offs on the cards).
Sony has been hard at work on its superhero stable, which currently includes Morbius, a Venom sequel and an exciting project by Olivia Wilde which is rumoured to introduce Spider-Woman.
Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.