Morbius movie explained: Who is Jared Leto’s Spider-Man Spin-Off character?

Most of the time, vampires are the villains in Hollywood movies. They are portrayed as soulless bloodsuckers who pose an existential threat to all of humanity. But sometimes even a vampire can be a hero. That’s the case with Morbius, a Marvel hero who will be portrayed by Jared Leto in Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man spin-off movie.

The first trailer for Morbius revealed an unexpected Spider-Man connection, and the second trailer has now arrived. Here’s everything you need to know about the man they call “The Living Vampire”.

Morbius explained: The basics

Dr. Michael Morbius was a respected biochemist suffering from a rare and deadly blood disease. Desperate for a cure, Morbius performed dangerous experiments on himself using vampire bat DNA and inadvertently turned into a “living vampire”. Although he was not actually bitten by one of the many vampires living in the Marvel universe, Morbius’ condition has many of the same symptoms. He has an infinite thirst for blood and must live forever separated from human society.

Is Morbius a villain?

Despite the cruel hand life has given him, Morbius does his best to use his knowledge and his vampire cracks for good. He has proven himself to be one quite a few times, both as an ally of Spider-Man and as a member of teams like the Midnight Sons. Yet his dark side always threatens to devour him.

Morbius’ Powers and Abilities

Although Morbius is not a vampire in the traditional, supernatural sense, he has many of the same abilities. He possesses superhuman strength and speed, limited flight and the ability to hypnotize others. He also has a Wolverine-like healing factor that allows him to recover from otherwise fatal wounds. Morbius can sometimes infect his victims with “pseudo-vampirism”, although this only happens in rare cases.

Morbius also possesses some traditional vampire weaknesses. He has a constant need for human blood, a need that he does his best to satisfy by using serum rather than taking human sacrifices. Morbius has developed a special formula using Spider-Man’s blood that quenches his thirst for extended periods. His skin is also susceptible to burning in daylight, though not to the same extent as most vampires. Morbius also lacks traditional vampire weaknesses for crosses, garlic, holy water, etc.

Morbius: Origin and background

Morbius was created by author Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane and debuted in 1971’s Amazing Spider-Man # 101. That number was actually the first that was not written by co-creator Stan Lee.

The character was conceived after the Comics Code Authority lifted certain restrictions on the use of vampires and supernatural beings in comics. Morbius’ status as a “living vampire” both made him unique and helped make him more marketable as a hero. The character was inspired by Thomas ‘love of classic science fiction films, while Kane specifically modeled Morbius’ appearance on actor Jack Palance.

Initially, Morbius was cast as a tragic villain. His own story was intertwined with the Lizard story, another Spider-Man villain who inadvertently turned himself into an ugly monster while trying to cure a physical ailment. It did not take long, however, before the character branched out by itself. He became a recurring player in anthology series from the 70s such as Vampire Tales and Adventure Into Fear. The latter series established Morbius’ long-standing feud with the vampire hunter Blade.

However, it was not until 1992 that Morbius got his own solo series in Morbius the Living Vampire. That series was one of several supernaturally-focused books launched from a crossover called “Rise of the Midnight Sons.” During this period, Morbius’ adventures were closely intertwined with the adventures of supernatural heroes such as Ghost Rider, Hellstorm, Jennifer Kale and Werewolf by Night.

After the completion of Morbius’ solo series at number 23, the character continued to play a recurring role throughout the Marvel universe. For example, he appeared in Marvel Zombies 3, where he worked with other heroes to prevent his universe from being infected by the zombie plague that had ravaged other universes. He also appeared in a Punisher story called “Frankencastle”, where he helped bring Punisher back to life as a Frankenstein-like beast after the character’s fatal clash with Daken.

Recently, Morbius played a central role in author Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man race, where he was revealed to be secretly working at Peter Parker’s new workplace, Horizon Labs. Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man paved the way for yet another short-lived Morbius comic in 2013, written by Joe Keatinge and drawn by Rich Elson.

Morbius Movie: Beyond the Comics and More

Given his vampire traits, Morbius has proven to be a difficult character to adapt to Marvel’s other multimedia projects. The character made his animated debut in 1994’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series (pronounced by Nick Jameson), in which he is depicted as a scientist transformed after being bitten by a vampire bat that had drunk Spider-Man’s irradiated blood. Due to strict censorship standards, this version of Morbius was only allowed to be depicted as draining blood through suction cups on his hands, and his dialogue emphasized his need for “plasma” rather than blood.

    Morbius gets one "family friendly" animated makeover.

Morbius gets a “family-friendly” animated makeover.

Morbius later appeared as a recurring character in the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six (pronounced by Benjamin Diskin), in which he was rethought as a Hydra scientist specializing in symbiots. Morbius eventually turned into his living vampire form on the series, with the biggest difference being that he absorbed the vitality of others instead of consuming blood.

Morbius has appeared in several Marvel video games, including a supporting role in Maximum Carnage from 1993 (based on the comic book story of the same name) and certain versions of Spider-Man 3 from 2007. He has also appeared as a playable character in Marvel: Avengers Alliance, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 and Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.

A visual story about Spider-Man costumes

Morbius has yet to appear in live-action form, though there have been rumors of a Morbius movie for most of the last two decades. At one point, the character was considered the main villain in 2002’s Blade II. In fact, an alternate version of the ending for the first film contains a masked character who was destined to be revealed as Morbius.

Instead, the character will make his film debut in Sony’s upcoming Morbius movie. Jared Leto plays Dr. Michael Morbius, where Daniel Espinosa directs and Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless write the script. The film may take place in the same shared universe as Venom from 2018 and its sequel from 2020. Thanks to the first Morbius trailer and a cameo appearance from Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, it seems that these films also have a connection to Marvel Cinematic Universe somehow. We will no doubt learn more about Morbius and Venom’s connection to the wider MCU when the film hits theaters in January 2022.

Morbius trailer: 58 images from the Jared Leto Marvel movie

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