While fan attention has been squarely focused on Spider-Man: No Way Home and the case of its missing second trailer, Sony has started to highlight another upcoming release: Morbius.
After falling victim to a myriad of delays, the vampire-starring flick will debut in theaters on January 28, 2022. The next official entry in the SSU received a short featurette that offered new glimpses at the film and teased interesting connections to several Spider-Man characters.
After teasing fans with the Jared Leto-led featurette, Sony unleashed a brand new Morbius trailer packed with even more Easter eggs and references to dissect. The "web of opportunity" does not seem to exclusively link to Tom Holland's current wall-crawler, as hints towards The Amazing Spider-Man universe, Venom, and more tease various other opportunities for Morbius to cross paths with Spider-Man and his multitude of amazing friends.
The Morbius trailer seems to conflate a whole host of Spider-Verses, so here's every tease and what it means for the Living Vampire's home universe.
Morbius didn't shy away from its fellow SSU entries Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, including a few subtle, and one less-than-subtle, allusions to the fan-favorite symbiote.
The least overt Easter egg came in the form of the Daily Bugle's logo, which is a direct match for the one seen briefly in Venom's second solo outing. Interestingly, this is also the very same graphic as the one used during the Raimi trilogy, creating an even deeper through-line between these Sony films.
For those that may be wondering whether Morbius could take place in Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man universe, the next reference may dash those hopes. While investigating a crime scene, Al Madrigal's Alberto Rodriguez mentions that they "haven’t had anything this good since that thing in San Francisco," a direct callback to the events of either Venom or its sequel.
This not only places Morbius in the same universe as Venom but also indicates that the film's events will occur sometime after Eddie Brock's lobster-eating, symbiote-fighting antics. Despite that, it's still a bit unclear whether Venom has hopped over to the MCU by this point.
The line that cements the connection between Michael Morbius and Eddie Brock arrives when Leto scares an opponent by stating "I am Venom" with a vampiric snarl, a nod to the symbiotic anti-hero's "We are Venom" catchphrase. Word must have gotten around that a creature was roaming the night and uttering this line to criminals, else Michael Morbius wouldn't have been able to reference it.
Or who knows? Perhaps the Venom films are available on Blu-ray in the Morbius universe, and the doctor stole the line from one of his favorite Sony-produced movies.
Ultimately though, it seems that Morbius is firmly set within the same universe as Venom, which may make some other Spider-Man nods a tad more confusing.
The Amazing Spider-Man Connections
Venom and Carnage aren't the only Spider-Man rogues present in Morbius' universe. Two of the web-slinger's enemies are mentioned in the Daily Bugle headlines, with "Rhino on the Loose: Zoo Hoax Fools us All" referencing Aleksei Sytsevich and "Black Cat: Friend or Foe?" hinting at Peter Parker love interest Felicia Hardy.
But this creates an issue. Neither of these characters has been established in the Venom universe, in which Morbius seems to be set. So what gives?
The only time Rhino and Black Cat made their way onto the big screen was in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, with Paul Giamatti and Felicity Jones filling out their respective roles. So does that mean Morbius, and by extension the Venom films, exist in the same universe as Andrew Garfield's web-head?
It's possible. Rhino was only briefly seen suited up at the end of the Amazing Spider-Man sequel and Felicia Hardy never even got the chance to assume her alter ego. Perhaps this universe picks up several years after the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, where both characters have had a bit of time to take on their comic book counterpart's identities.
Given that Venom was able to travel to the same universe as Tom Holland's Spider-Man, it seems logical to assume that the SSU operates by the same set of spatial and dimensional rules as the MCU. This could mean that Variants are on the table, opening up the possibility that this Rhino and Black Cat are instead Variants of the ones seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that are just a bit further along than their other universe's counterparts.
Speaking of Variants, one of the buildings seen in the New York City skyline seems to be an alternate version of one seen previously. The Oscorp building reappears in the Morbius trailer, sporting the very same logo as the company had in The Amazing Spider-Man films. The skyscraper itself is noticeably different though, dropping the large spikes in favor of a more rectangular silhouette.
This could be another Oscorp tower or the company may have had some remodeling, but there is a chance that the previous Variant joke might not be so ridiculous; the Oscorp building might be a Variant. Perhaps Oscorp exists in the Morbius universe in a different form, explaining why the corporation has a different headquarters.
Whether Morbius is truly connected to the Amazing Spider-Man universe or not, it is clear that Sony is cherry-picking aspects of its previous Spider-Man franchise to hopefully save for the future.
Raimi Trilogy Connections
In addition to the returning Daily Bugle logo from the Sam Raimi trilogy, another piece of Raimi imagery reappears from a previous trailer in a way many fans would not have expected.
Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man suit can be seen plastered on an NYC wall, with the word 'murderer' splayed over it. If that didn't turn heads already, the image used is a render from the PlayStation game Marvel's Spider-Man, which is an entirely separate universe from the Raimi-verse.
Does this mean that Morbius exists in a version of Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man universe instead, where the Rhino and Black Cat have also become villains and Oscorp has inexplicably changed its corporate identity? Or is it possible that Morbius actually takes place in a live-action version of Marvel's Spider-Man video game where that universe's Peter Parker chooses to wear the Raimi suit? And would this mean Rhino and Black Cat are the versions from the game as well? But then, why would Oscorp suddenly change their brand from Oscorp Industries to the same one as The Amazing Spider-Man's? Does this all sound crazy?
Take a deep breath everyone.
A simple explanation for this imagery could be that the wall art in-universe is an artistic interpretation of Spider-Man, which so happens to resemble the Raimi suit. Alternatively, the Spider-Man present in Morbius' universe may be a Variant of Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man or a web-slinger that also designed a suit that resembles the one seen in Sam Raimi's trilogy.
With Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios keen to get along, it's no surprise that Morbius ties directly to the MCU. Michael Keaton shocked many when he reared his head at the end of the first Morbius trailer and reappears here surrounded by police officers before telling Dr. Michael Morbius that they "should stay in touch."
Many doubted whether Keaton would actually be reprising his Spider-Man: Homecoming role, with some initially theorizing that the actor would be portraying an entirely new character altogether. Venom: Let There Be Carnage's post-credits sequence seems to heavily suggest that this is indeed the Vulture, but what is he doing crossing paths with the Living Vampire?
If Venom was able to traverse time and space to the MCU, perhaps Doctor Strange's miscalculation accidentally sent Spider-Man's villains to other universes too. The Vulture may have been flung through the interdimensional cosmos, left to consult help from Morbius.
Though the clip is brief, Keaton's character appears to be getting arrested as Morbius bids him farewell, as indicated by the flashing police lights. But why would Toomes be taken into custody for crimes committed on another Earth? Free from the shackles of prison, Toomes might not have been able to help himself from partaking in some grifting upon his arrival in this other universe.
Alternatively, there is the chance that this is simply a Variant of Adrian Toomes. If other Spider-Man adversaries already exist on Morbius' Earth, who's to say another Vulture isn't out there in the Multiverse?
So...Which Universe Is Morbius In?
So many conflicting Spider-Verses at play certainly creates a lot of confusion, as Morbius doesn't seem to neatly fit into any one universe. The most likely answer is that the Living Vampire exists in the same universe as the Venom franchise, but this doesn't seem to explain the various references to other Spider-Man properties.
Rather than continuing one of Sony's pre-existing Spider-Man universes, perhaps Morbius exists as an amalgamation of the best parts of the web-slinger's cinematic tenure. While this creates some initial confusion, it would allow the studio to build upon the best parts of their previous attempts while unburdening themselves of their missteps.
Rhino and Black Cat were underutilized beforehand? Now they get another chance at redemption. The Amazing series was bogged down by Peter Parker's secret agent parents? Forget about it, that's nowhere to be seen. Fans love the Raimi suit? Now it's back in all its pre-rendered glory.
This would enable the studio to usher in a new Spider-Man or make use of a pre-existing one. If a scenario arises where Marvel Studios is intent on keeping their web-slinger to themselves, Sony Pictures may have crafted a universe where it's possible to bring in a previous web-head to headline instead.
Unexpected runaway successes at the box office, a Kraven the Hunter movie led by a previous MCU star, and now a Morbius trailer littered with all sorts of web-slinger references make Sony's Spider-Man Universe a truly unpredictable beast. Hopefully, these decisions will pay off and lay the groundwork for another Spider-Man universe for fans to fall in love with.
Morbius creeps into theaters on January 28, 2022.