The first official trailer for Sony’s superhero vampire film Morbius debuted this morning, and while fans have been gnawing on the meat of the nearly-three-minute preview ever since, one clip in particular has captured the meticulous attention of the Internet. In the teaser’s final moments, Dr. Morbius briefly encounters a man played by none other than Michael Keaton, who quotes Bugs Bunny’s catchphrase to him by asking: “What’s up, Doc?”
As most viewers recall, Keaton played Adrian Toomes, also known as the Vulture, in the 2017 film Spider-Man: Homecoming, which indisputably takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by virtue of the appearance of Tony Stark. Toomes ended that film defeated and, as revealed in a post-credits scene, imprisoned with at least one of his former criminal associates, MacDonald “Mac” Gargan.
Hours after this morning’s trailer premiered, MCU_Direct Tweeted a side-by-side look at that post-credits scene and a still-frame from Keaton’s Morbius cameo. The comparison demonstrates that he is, in fact, wearing the exact same short brushcut and white button-down shirt over a grey T-shirt in both clips, thus putting to rest any doubt that Keaton is once again playing Adrian Toomes in Morbius.
Keaton’s matching outfits may also, then, provide some insight into the placement of Morbius in relation to other events within Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters. If Toomes is still a prisoner when he encounters Dr. Morbius (the flashing police lights imply he may be being transferred), then that sequence likely takes place soon after Spider-Man: Homecoming, while Morbius passing by a graffiti painting of Spider-Man scribbled over with the word MURDERER indicates that later scenes are meant to take place following the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, similar to the way that early scenes of Doctor Strange took place a year or more before the bulk of that film.
The voice-over immediately preceding it – in which Toomes asks Morbius if he “got tired of doing the whole good-guy thing” – is then likely an entirely separate conversation, and one that many believe may occur much later in the film, possibly in a post-credits scene, to set up the formation of Sony’s version of the Sinister Six that producer Amy Pascal mentioned not long ago. However the seeds being planted now may pay off beyond 2020, it’s become apparent that Sony is weaving its own integrated universe of Spider-Man characters alongside, and occasionally intertwined with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Morbius arrives in theaters on July 31st, 2020, followed by Venom 2 on October 2nd and Marvel Studios’ third joint Spider-Man project on July 16th, 2021.