Morbius was flying under the radar for many fans as the Marvel Comics character has never been what is referred to as a top tier hero. The character who exists largely in the Spider-Man stories, serving as a vampire of sorts, is getting a self-titled movie from Sony Pictures which dropped its first trailer on Monday. Now, Morbius is demanding the attention of Marvel fans as it is clearly linked to stories from Spider-Man movies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are two ways for this to play out: Morbius is outright a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or it is only loosely tied to it through a multiverse theory which would launch a Spider-Verse in live action.
By now you’ve seen the Morbius trailer and you know that a picture of Spider-Man was on a wall, labeling the hero as a murderer seemingly tying it to the post-credits scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home where Peter Parker was framed as the villainous killer of Mysterio. You also know that this Spider-Man suit is from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies where Peter Parker is played by Tobey Maguire but also that it is the suit as it appeared in the PS4 video game.
You also, also know that Michael Keaton is in the trailer as Adrian Toomes, also known as the Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming, wearing the same prison jump suit he was last seen in in the post-credits seen from that movie.
To quote a late, great artist: if you don't know, now you know. And we can get started.
It is very clear that Sony wants to wisely use these connections to build hype for Morbius and, so far, it has worked. Everyone is talking about the trailer and debating the connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it all boils down to two theories.
Theory One: This is an alternate universe tied to the MCU but independent of the events of MCU, meaning a true Marvel Cinematic Multiverse exists. It's similar to what the CW just did with Crisis on Infinite Earths, tying its movies into the TV shows as the multiverse clashed. Comic fans are familiar with alternate universes, and Sony’s Marvel universe could very well be some alternate world which Tom Holland’s Peter Parker ultimately travel to, as was widely seen in the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and anything that happens to him or the world here would not impact movies like Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, or other Avengers sequels.
This theory gets some credence based on the picture on the wall being a Spider-Man suit that is not Tom Holland’s Spider-Man suit. This might just be a lazy Easter egg where the Morbius movie didn’t create a new suit image and Sony simply elected to use an image they, as a studio, have full legal rights to use. In which case Theory #2 will be more accurate, but if this is an alternate universe where Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker is still Spider-Man, this could be an awesome launch to a massive Spider-Verse event.
Sony might actually be building to a live-action Spider-Verse movie where Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland all crossover as their respective Spider-Man’s, similar to what we saw in the animated Spider-Verse movie. They could add any other version of Spider-Man they want while they’re at it and building to this over the course of several movies could be Sony’s Spider-Man equivalent to an Avengers movie, maybe even their Avengers: Endgame-level event.
This would mean that Adrian Toomes from this trailer is an alternate Toomes because this is an alternate universe. While he might have some strong similarities, he is a different character. For exampe, Tony Stark might still be alive here -- or not exist at all -- although Sony would not legally be allowed to name him or "Iron Man" without an agreement with Disney.
Imagine this world where Garfield's Peter Parker encounters Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy from another universe and she is Spider-Gwen. The cuts for fans who watched Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man movies could payoff in dividends -- and by dividends, I mean box office billions.
Theory Two: This is the same big screen world as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Sony is just doing their own, more isolated thing, pulling from the events of the MCU movies and operating adjacently with loose ties, at best. In this case, there’s really nothing Disney or Marvel Studios can do to halt such a move so long as Sony don’t mention key words like Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and so on. Perhaps, it was part of the new deal which brought Holland's Spider-Man back to the MCU for another couple of movies?
Pending the execution, this could work despite small details like Pym Tech was not in San Francisco for the Venom movie. If you can get past some minor continuity hiccups, there’s potential. In Marvel Comics, Spider-Man and his villains like the Sinister Six (which this seems to be building towards) have their events in New York City and the rest of the Avengers are often unbothered. Spidey could have his feuds in Sony-made movies in New York City or other corners of this world while the MCU can just go on without mentioning them.
Which theory do you like better? Do you want to see the Multiverse become a factor to give us a live-action Spider-Verse bringing back the actors who played Spider-Man in the past? Or do you want to see these Sony Spider-Man movies operating with loose connections to the MCU but in the same universe? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram.
Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man 3 is set to hit theaters in July of 2021. Morbius releases on July 31, 2020.
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