The first official trailer for Sony Pictures’ Morbius has arrived and not only has it been warmly received, but it has also caused quite a stir amongst fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). You see, while the trailer offers up a good understanding about who and what Morbius is about it has also raised a few questions regarding the film’s status as a Marvel movie.

Is Morbius part of the Sony Marvel Cinematic Universe? Or is Morbius part of the MCU?

Prior to the release of the Morbius trailer, it was largely understood that this film was to exist within the Sony Marvel Cinematic Universe – a separate universe from the MCU. The Sony Marvel Cinematic Universe – which is also home to 2018’s Venom – is effectively an alternate cinematic universe not directly connected to the MCU.

However, this new trailer has delivered a couple of significant surprises which have caused a little confusion surrounding Morbius. These surprises have hinted that maybe, just maybe, Morbius is part of the MCU after all.

If you have not watched the trailer for Morbius yet, now is the time to check it out.

For the most part, the trailer is dark and moody and looks as if it fits into the same universe already established by Venom. There are scenes involving labs, there’s flashes of body horror – this is very much in keeping with the tone and themes of Venom.

But then two-minutes-and-nine seconds into the trailer and the character Michael Morbius can be seen walking down an alley-way, bypassing a poster of Spider-Man. The poster has ‘MURDERER’ graffitied across the image of Spidey.

This brief nod to Spidey suggests two things:

  • Spider-Man is very much part of this universe, even though he did not appear in Venom.
  • The ‘MURDERER’ tag could be a reference to the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, where Spidey was accused of murdering Mysterio.

I’ll come back to both of these points in a moment.

The trailer then continues, once again highlighting the movie’s dark aesthetic, before it serves up a glimpse of Morbius in full vampire mode. And then just as it appears the trailer is over, at the two-minute-thirty-seven mark there is one final surprise: Michael Keaton aka the Vulture puts in an appearance.

BOOM

Mic drop. Shocked faces. Questions, questions, questions.

Last time Keaton was seen in a Spider-Man movie it was in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming – a film that was very much a part of the MCU.

So, if the Vulture is making an appearance in Morbius, then this must mean that Morbius is an MCU movie, right? This can’t simply be another entry in Sony’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, this has to be an MCU entry.

Or does it?

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The multiverse

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Studios/Disney

Here’s what we know.

Since 2008, Marvel Studios has been developing a series of inter-connected films under the banner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This collection of films includes Spider-Man tales featuring actor Tom Holland in the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

Since 2018, Sony/Columbia Pictures has been developing a separate series of inter-connected films under the banner of the Sony Marvel Cinematic Universe. This collection of films (for now) largely focuses on characters who share a connection to Spidey, i.e. anti-heroes, villains, rather than Spider-Man himself.

At some point in the not too distant future, the two separate movie universes will unite, with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man crossing from the MCU into Sony’s new movie universe. This will happen because of contracts, deals, and issues surrounding the real-world ownership of the character.

We also know that Holland will cross between the two movie universes because Kevin Feige confirmed as much himself. In a statement regarding Spidey’s onscreen future, Marvel Studios’ said: “Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero who story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.”

So, we know that Spider-Man will be moving across to the Sony-verse soon(ish). It is being plotted out now and will play out in cinemas over the next few years.

We also know that both Sony and Marvel are developing the concept of a multiverse – i.e. a series of universes which are similar, yet different. Imagine that there are multiple versions of you, all existing in alternate universes and you’ve pretty much understood how a multiverse works.

Sony already established such a concept with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which explored the idea that multiple Spider-characters exist, all in different universes. Marvel will deliver its take on the multiverse in 2021 via the film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

By setting up these multiverses, Marvel Studios can tell alternate universe stories with all of its characters, while Sony can do what it wants with all of the Spidey characters. And when the time is right, Tom Holland can cross between the two universes.

It is unclear how Holland will bridge the two universes, but it will happen. But how does Morbius fit into all of this?

Does this mean that the two universes have already crossed over? Is Morbius showing us that Sony’s Marvel Cinematic Universe and the MCU have already merged?

Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s go back to those two teases in the trailer.

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The Morbius trailer teases

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

In the first tease we see the Spider-Man poster with the word ‘MURDERER’ written across it. We instantly presume this is a reference to the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home – and why wouldn’t we think this? It fits in with when we last saw Spidey onscreen, so it kind of makes sense.

But look at the poster again and you will see that the image does not depict the Tom Holland version of Spider-Man. The Spidey suit is more inline with the one worn by Tobey Maguire in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy (2002 – 2007).

So, if the Spidey seen in the poster is not the Holland Spider-Man, then the word ‘MURDERER’ may not have anything to do with the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home or the MCU.

It is possible that in the universe that Morbius lives in (i.e the Sony-verse), there is a version of Spider-Man who is a wanted criminal. Until it is confirmed or denied, it can be assumed that the poster has nothing to do with the MCU Spider-Man.

And if this poster has nothing to do with the MCU Spidey, then it suggests that Morbius *does* exist in a different universe. Of course, this does leave the problem of the second trailer tease – how is the Vulture on screen with Michael Morbius, if this film does not exist within the MCU?

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

Well, there could be multiple explanations for this:

  • The Vulture we see in the trailer could be the Vulture of the Sony Marvel Cinematic Universe and not the MCU version – they are just played by the same actor.
  • He is the MCU version of the Vulture, but he used some alien tech (that he salvaged in Spider-Man: Homecoming) to move between the two universes.
  • He is the MCU version of the Vulture and he has been transported to the Sony Marvel Cinematic Universe by some other means – which will be detailed in a future film.

Just because we see Vulture in the trailer it does not necessarily mean that this is the MCU Vulture. This could be a bit of misdirection.

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Is Morbius the beginning of the multiverse?

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

When Sony cut this trailer together the studio put those two little teases in for a reason. Either to whip everyone into a frenzy (which it achieved rather well – well done) or to start developing the idea of a live-action multiverse.

Morbius looks set to be the next step in the multiverse(s), but is the film part of the MCU? I’d say no.

Sony and Marvel Studios have made it clear that establishing a multiverse is the direction they are both taking, and it is a direction that can work for each company as they navigate their partnership over Spider-Man. But until Holland is officially moved from the MCU to Sony’s Universe (most likely via the Doctor Strange sequel), then view Morbius as yet another entry in Sony’s offering.

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Thanks for stopping by Don’t Tell Harry to read this post about Morbius and the film’s place within the MCU/Sony-Verse. Should you want to know more about the Spider-Man movies, such as ‘Why is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 considered a bad movie?’ or ‘Who is Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse?’ then click on the highlighted links. Alternatively, check out one of the recommended reads below.

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