Sony is steadily building its Marvel universe after a failed attempt to launch one with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Following the release of Venom (which has been a box office hit, despite negative reviews) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the next outing in Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters (SUMC) – official name – is looking like it will be Morbius, the Living Vampire starring Jared Leto as the titular character.
Michael Morbius is a biologist who attempts to cure his rare blood disorder with vampire-bat DNA which instead – surprise, surprise – transforms him into a vampire-like being forced to drain the blood of others to survive.
Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane in 1971, Morbius started off as a villain in the Spider-Man universe, but morphed into an anti-hero – and sometimes selfless hero – in the Marvel Comics world.
But what can we expect of his big-screen debut? Here's everything you need to know about the Morbius, the Living Vampire movie.
Morbius movie release date: When can we expect it?
The movie will be directed by Life's Daniel Espinosa and has been written by Lost in Space reboot writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless.
We don't have an official release date yet, but producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach recently revealed that they're hoping to start filming "more or less [in] February" next year. "Yeah, the plan is early part of next year. We're still working on it," Tolmach added.
Sony has scheduled 'Untitled Sony/Marvel' for July 10, 2020 which is looking likely to be the movie's release date, barring any production delays.
Morbius movie cast: Why Jared Leto?
Jared Leto hardly gained critical acclaim for his portrayal of the Joker in the much-derided Suicide Squad, so it could be seen as a tricky prospect to hang an entire movie on him.
But apparently, much like Tom Hardy with Venom, Morbius is a character that Leto loves and wants to do justice to. "This is the great thing for us now, that an actor like him, and an actor like Tom wanted to have their own character. But the character they love," Arad told Collider.
"Both of them, very hard to get them to do a movie. You actually cannot get them. We went in, we sat with them, and everybody told us, 'Oh, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba'. Nothing. That's what he wanted to do... Good actors want to be different than what they are."
He's been preparing for the role by shaving off his beard.
Leto is the only name confirmed so far for Morbius, so it's just speculation at the moment whether it will feature his usual comic book foes such as CIA agent Simon Stroud, Vic Slaughter, Doctor Paine or Bloodbath.
It's unlikely that Blade will feature in the movie, although Wesley Snipes has been teasing upcoming Marvel projects for his vampire hunter.
Morbius movie plot: Will we see Spider-Man?
For now with nothing known about the plot, we'll have to assume that the movie will be an origin story for Morbius, much like Venom turned out to be.
Anyone hoping that Morbius will feature a Spider-Man cameo from Tom Holland may be disappointed, though, as Spidey is still currently very much a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Spider-Man: Far from Home scheduled for release on July 5, 2019.
As far as we know from watching the movie, Venom exists in a continuity separate from the MCU and potentially as part of the wider Spider-Verse instead, meaning that it's likely Morbius will exist within the same timeline and that, therefore, would mean no appearance from Holland.
That means that the most likely cameo at this point would be Tom Hardy as Venom or even from Woody Harrelson as Carnage, given that in the comics, Spider-Man, Venom and Morbius team up to take on Carnage. We think it's unlikely though unless, for some reason, Venom 2 arrives before Morbius.
Who knows, maybe some of the voice actors from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse could reprise their roles, only in live-action, for Morbius.
At this point, it's anyone's guess.
('You Might Also Like',)