Morbius’ first trailer has arrived, and while it mostly focuses on laying out the origin story of its titular vampire, it also suggests that the movie’s going to have some rather direct and significant ties to Spider-Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and... perhaps Sony’s excellent Spider-Man game. It’s all a little confusing, but really, when haven’t comic book movies been kind of messy?
Toward the end of the trailer, we get our first good look at Matt Smith’s villainous Loxias Crown who (spoiler for the comics I guess), like Michael Morbius, ends up with vampire-like abilities that make him a lethal threat to humanity. But before Crown shows up, there’s a brief shot of Morbius wearing what appears to be a prison jumpsuit as he’s walking through an alley. The image just so happens to feature a picture of Spider-Man on the wall next to him with the word “murderer” spray-painted across it.
While Morbius is one of Spider-Man’s classic foes, the hero’s appearance (even just as a piece of graffiti) in Morbius is significant because it marks the first time that any of Sony’s Spider-Man spin-off movies seemingly acknowledge where this burgeoning cinematic universe all began.
Even more interesting than Spidey’s cameo in the trailer, though, is the fact that the webhead’s been labeled as a murderer in a piece of street art, something that implies that the sentiment is somewhat widespread. It’s also kind of weird that even though the graffiti is made to simply look like Sam Raimi’s version of Spider-Man, it’s more specifically a recreation of the Raimi Spider-Man suit that was featured in Sony’s recent Spider-Man video game. Given that Spider-Man’s generally beloved by the public, the graffiti raises the question of what the hero could have done to turn them against him.
Morbius could easily be set in a part of the multiverse we were introduced to in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, one where Tobey Maguire’s Peter was the web-slinging hero. Or perhaps even an alternate universe where Spider-Man is merely a popular comic book character who’s starred in multiple video games (though it seems unlikely that Sony would waste such an epic tie-in just to get people interested in a year-old PS4 title).
Putting aside the Raimi reference, the easiest and most obvious answer would be that Morbius is simply set in the MCU at some point in time after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home when Mysterio ultimately framed Spider-Man for the drone attack on London and exposed his secret identity. The final moments of Far From Home made it clear that the world was about to become a much more hostile place for Peter Parker, and if Morbius does end up being connected with the film, then the graffiti makes a lot more sense.
Michael Keaton as... who knows?
Things get even more intriguing, though, in the trailer’s final moments when Michael Keaton, who played the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, pops up to say hello to Morbius and comments on his getting “tired of doing the good guy thing.” Keaton could very well be playing a completely new character, and it wouldn’t be the first time that actors have played multiple characters within the MCU – both Alfre Woodard and Gemma Chan have done the same. But given that Keaton played a character with such strong ties to Spider-Man, it seems highly unlikely that Sony would cast him in another Spider-Man adjacent film unless it was actively trying to troll Marvel Studios.
Keaton’s quip to Morbius could mean nothing, but it could also be a nod to the Sinister Six film Sony’s still got in production – something that would, again, tie Morbius into the larger MCU in a way that Venom never even attempted to. It’s strange to think that Morbius, of all movies, might be the one to really begin stringing all of this stuff together, but this is the beginning of a wild new decade and pretty much anything’s a possibility at this point. We’ll know more when it opens on July 31.