SPOILER WARNING: Do not read if you have not seen “Morbius,” currently playing in theaters. This story discusses movie’s post-credits scenes.
After nearly two years of pandemic delays, “Morbius” has finally opened in theaters, expanding Sony’s universe of Marvel characters and growing the web of Spider-Man villains getting their own origin stories.
“Morbius” — starring Jared Leto as the biologist-turned-vampire from Marvel comics — was originally supposed to debut in July 2020, before “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, turned the world, and studio release calendars, upside-down, which is how “Morbius” wound up hitting theaters this weekend.
And yet, there are a couple brief references to the “Venom” sequel in “Morbius,” and the two post-credits scenes bring Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes — a.k.a. the high-flying villain Vulture, a villain within the Marvel Cinematic Universe was incarcerated in 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” — into the world of “Morbius” and Sony’s Marvel Universe (or SMU, for short).
In the first “Morbius” post-credits scene, the effects of Doctor Strange’s spell during the ending of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” ripple into the SMU. Toomes magically appears in an empty jail cell, unsure of how he got there. In the second scene, Toomes, somehow reunited with his Vulture suit, is released from jail and meets up with Morbius. He theorizes that Spider-Man is responsible for his universe-hopping predicament — marking the first time the web slinger’s name is spoken in the SMU after he appears on a TV in the ending of “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” Toomes proposes that he and Morbius team up and “do some good,” to which Morbius replies “intriguing.”
Sony’s next Marvel film is “Kraven the Hunter,” starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the ferocious, big-game hunter who sets his sights on Spider-Man in the comics. With so many Spidey villains getting their own movies, many comic books fans are theorizing that some kind of Sinister Six team-up movie could be in the works.
But in an interview with Variety, “Morbius” director Daniel Espinosa doesn’t say much more about what’s in store for the future of Sony’s universe — other than “they have a plan.”
Espinosa did have more to say about those post-credits scenes, a Spider-Man reference that was cut from the movie and who Morbius and Vulture should team up with next.
What does Vulture’s proposal of teaming up with Morbius mean? What are they building toward?
Ever since they released “Venom,” Sony’s confidence has built. With “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” much to the credit of those writers and directors, it’s one of the best comic book movies ever made. It also changed the cinematic universe and the way that Sony, in that movie, took up this idea of all these parallel timelines. Now they’re making “Kraven,” so I think they are looking into the future. But I don’t know much about exactly where they’re heading. They would kill me if I said something, but I don’t know much. I just know that they have a plan. And they said that there are certain things that are going to be unearthed, like all these questions that exist. Does there exist a Spider-Man in their universe? Who should it be? There is an answer coming, apparently, and I’m looking forward to it.
Is there a Spider-Man in this universe?
You know, because you read the comics, in all these universes there’s a spider because he’s a totem. He’s a fundamental being; there’s always a spider on Earth.
In one of the trailers, there was a poster of Spider-Man with “murderer” written on it, but it wasn’t in the final cut of the movie. What happened to it?
I make the movie and then some people make the trailer. When I make the movie, everything that I include in the movie, it’s included. If it’s not in the movie, it’s because I don’t think it should be included. So no, that’s not in the movie.
Were there any other scenes between Morbius and Vulture that you shot that didn’t make it in the final cut?
There was a moment where we were playing more with this idea that it would be more intricate of how people saw each other. When you make movies, you have all these different ideas, and then we made the decision to make it pure and put it toward the end because it’s clearer. That’s what people do. There’s not much more, but there’s always a bit on the cutting room floor.
When was the final scene between them originally shot?
Many of those Vulture scenes were shot from the beginning. What had to be changed was the physiology of how to move between worlds. The idea of moving between worlds was invented by Sony, not by the MCU. They did it and then I had to adjust. That’s the thing with the Marvel universe, in the comic books it’s always expanding. There are rules you’re slowly setting up together, but the creators are different. The whole idea of the Marvel universe is you have to create the collaboration so they function together. If you have Chris Claremont who’s working on X-Men and he spoke to Steve Ditko, there are clearly different perspectives, and if J. Michael Straczynski gets involved, they have to collaborate to make those rules.
If they team up with other people, are Morbius and Vulture more of the muscles or the brains?
I think they’re pretty brainy, both of them. Vulture is pure mechanic ingenuity. Morbius is regarded as one of the five big geniuses of the Marvel Universe. As a biologist, there are very few other people that have the same strength, maybe Hank McCoy as Dark Beast. Wasn’t it a Spider-Man comic where Aunt May was sick? And he gathers Reed Richards, Tony Stark, all the geniuses, and in there is Michael Morbius.
Who should Morbius and Vulture team up with in the future?
I think Norman Osborn would be very interesting. That’s a whole different idea, that’s like if you go away from the idea of Sinister Six and you’re going into something different. There are other possibilities, because it’s been made for so many years. For me, what Kevin Feige made so brilliant was the way they took many of the mythologies and chose different parts of them and the realization that it doesn’t have to start just like the comics started. You don’t have to go from the ’60s and the ’70s and then to the ’80s and ’90s. You can take from the 2000s, which was like Civil War, and mix them with other concepts of characters that are from earlier parts of the comic book universe.
This interview has been edited and condensed.