Sony Pictures is set to debut Morbius, another antihero from its half of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when the character’s movie drops this week. But apart from the live-action adaptation of the Living Vampire, the film has been gaining attention due to the hyped speculation that Tom Hardy might appear as the snarky symbiote as well. That definitely raises some big questions, primarily how Morbius is related to Venom and how the duo could possibly cross paths. Solving this mystery is not easy, especially given the film’s convoluted trailer, but the answers are all there.
The complicated Morbius trailer
Fans were expecting Morbius to stick to his own universe given Sony’s penchant for keeping its share of the Marvel characters in different realities. But the trailer only served to make matters more complicated, as it drops hints to all the four universes explicitly seen in the MCU so far — the one Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man exists in, Andrew Garfield’s Spidey’s universe, the MCU Earth, and the one in which Venom lives.
But the tantalizing clues that have sent Marvel fans haywire can be condensed into hints teasing only two different universes. For starters, while the Spider-Man graffiti seen on the wall with “Murderer” scrawled across it does look like it’s from Sam Raimi films, especially given the Spidey suit it showcases, it could simply be a call back to the events of Spider-Man: Far Away from Home where the world believed Tom Holland’s Spider-Man had killed Mysterio.
Then we have the Daily Bugle newspaper (which now exists in the MCU Earth as well) headline, which teases Rhino as well as Felicity aka Black Cat. While this is a very obvious reference to Garfield’s Spiderman’s world (the characters appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 2), remember we are trying to fit Morbius in one universe.
It’s possible that in all the time after the events of No Way Home, the MCU counterparts of these villains also cropped up. The same goes for the noticeably different Oscorp building, but with the similar logo from the second Garfield’s Spider-Man film. So far, staying in the Holland-verse makes sense. What further supports the theory is the presence of Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes a.k.a Vulture in the trailer who is hoping to join ranks with the Living Vampire.
But Morbius quoting Venom saps the strength of all these arguments. While engaging with a couple of goons, Jared Leto’s character replies to their query of who he is with a gruff “I am Venom,” only to later reveal that he is kidding.
So, how does Morbius know about Venom?
Even though it was a joke, the only way he could know the symbiote is if he exists in his universe. But the post-credits scene ofVenom: Let There Be Carnage confirms that Eddie/Venom lives in a reality different from the MCU, and as per the mid-credits scene of Spider-Man: No Way Home, no superbeings exist in his universe, as the antihero has never heard of any.
Also, Morbius director Daniel Espinosa has revealed that a version of Spider-Man exists in the vampire’s universe (could it be Andrew Garfield’s Spidey?). While Morbius could be a new addition, is Eddie/Venom that clueless that he’s never heard of a superhero prancing across New York shooting webs and beating up villains? Then, there is also the mind-boggling presence of MCU’s Vulture. How is he in Venom-land?
Well, sensible explanations aside, Morbius does exist in Venom’s universe. In a recent chat, the director confirmed that the Living Vampire co-exists in the same universe viewers saw Eddie exit at the end of Venom: Let There Be Carnage. This could mean that a lot of time has passed since the events of No Way Home, allowing alternate versions of supervillains like Rhino and Black Cat to rise, while Oscorp corporation is just getting its first debut in this universe.
Michael Keaton could be playing the other Adrian Toomes in this universe, though his seemingly sinister introduction in the film without a substantial backstory (like the one the original villain from Spider-Man: Homecoming has), does feel like a weak connection.
It is also possible that Doctor Strange’s botched everyone-forgets-Peter spell that whisked Venom, the alternate Spider-men, and the villains to their respective universes, somehow malfunctioned and landed Toome in Venom’s reality as well.
As to how the duo could possibly cross paths in the future, the Marvel comics could perhaps provide an answer.
Morbius and Venom’s comic book connection
While both antiheroes share common enemies (such as Spider-man and Carnage) Venom and Morbius hardly cross paths in the comic books, except in Venom: Enemy Within, where the duo teams up in an unlikely alliance against a goblin invasion in San Francisco.
In the comic book, the city’s future mayor, Charles Palentine, unleashes a horde of goblins on the city in hopes of instigating enough chaos that his ascent to power isn’t noticeable. Although he sealed them underground with a mystical necklace, they managed to break through, while being pursued by Venom, and even summoned the unsuspecting Morbius in hopes of making him their new leader.
Initially, Venom and Morbius are clueless about each either’s involvement with the goblin gang, but it soon becomes clear, and they join forces to beat them and end Palentine’s evil plan. But eventually, the Demogoblin (a version of the Hobgoblin, a villain MCU’s Ned Leeds is expected to end up becoming) emerges as the one who thwarts the threat.
Now, it is up to Sony Pictures to decide how to alter the story to fit their framework or perhaps cook up a new version to bring the two antiheroes together. Here’s hoping that the soon-to-be-released Morbius will resolve every speculation and erase all the questions the Living Vampire’s existence has raised.