Spoilers for Morbius and Spider-Man: No Way Home
The end-credits scene for Morbius is perhaps the most confusing post-credits scene produced by a superhero movie yet. Characters are hopping between multiverses. Good guys are turning into villains. There’s a lot to unpack.
The movie itself serves as an origin story for vampiric villain Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto). But in order to understand his conference with another comic book character named Vulture (Michael Keaton) at the end of the film, you need to be caught up on the status of Spider-Man, Venom (Tom Hardy), and which studios currently own the rights to which Marvel characters.
Though Tom Holland’s Spider-Man recently fought alongside Marvel Cinematic Universe character Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, all those Spidey villains I just listed—Morbius, Venom, and now Vulture—live in different, burgeoning cinematic universe, clunkily but officially titled the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters. As of now it’s a small cinematic universe made up of just two Venom films and now Morbius. But it’s growing: Another Spidey villain, Kraven the Hunter, is set to make his big screen debut next year.
Why so many universes? Well, Sony is currently disentangling its most popular character from the Disney-owned MCU (which is probably why Spider-Man: No Way Home effectively rebooted the Spider-Man story at the end of the film). Presumably, at some point, Holland’s Peter Parker (or another, recast version of the character) will make his way to Morbius world so the webslinger and vampire can face off in a clash of creepy creatures.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Morbius end-credits scenes, Sony’s universe of Spidey characters, and what’s next for Peter Parker.
What’s up with Sony’s cinematic universe?
It’s tough to remember, now that we’re in a moment of obsessing over Andrew Garfield, but the Spider-Man movies he starred in from the early 2010s were not good. After those movies faltered at the box office, Sony and Marvel Studios struck a deal: The two studios would collaborate on a trilogy of new Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland: Homecoming (2017), Far From Home (2019), and No Way Home (2021). Marvel Studios would also get to borrow Holland for the occasional MCU team-up movie, like Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.
For awhile, it looked like Sony was destined to rely on Marvel Studios for profitable Spidey content. But then in 2018, Sony solo produced a hit: The Oscar-winning animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse. That movie introduced the concept of a multiverse to a wide audience and featured a team-up of several Spider-beings from different worlds (including Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and the pig Spider-Ham). The formula worked so well, that Sony decided to use a similar multiverse conceit in its next live-action Spider-Man movie, No Way Home (except with three white dudes playing all the Spider-Men instead of a diverse array of actors, which was kind of a bummer).
The success of Spider-verse no doubt gave Sony the confidence that they could take back the live Spider-Man and build an entire universe around him and his villains. So No Way Home had another corporate mandate: Extricate Spider-Man from the MCU.
When did we last see Spider-Man?
Last we saw Holland’s Peter Parker, he was teaming up with two other Spider-Men to fight a cohort of villains in Spider-Man: No Way Home. In the previous film, Far From Home, the villain Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) revealed Spider-Man’s secret identity to the entire world. The revelation turns Peter’s life upside down and Spider-Man’s antics bar his friends from getting accepted at M.I.T. Peter asks Doctor Strange to make the entire universe forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. (Before you ask, no, the movie never stopes to unpack why Peter is so arrogant as to think he and his friends were guaranteed a spot at M.I.T.)
Peter screws up Doctor Strange’s spell. Several villains who know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man from other universes suddenly come flooding into the timelines of No Way Home. Eventually Garfield and Maguire’s Spider-Men show up, too. All three Spider-Men work together to cure the villains of the various mental or physical problems that made them evil in the first place before sending them home. Garfield catches Zendaya when she falls off the statue of liberty. The internet goes wild.
Unfortunately, the multiverse is still cracked open and other bad guys want in. The only way to stop the flood is for Doctor Strange to cast a spell so everyone forgets who Peter Parker is—including Peter’s girlfriend (Zendaya, the reason you probably bought a ticket to the movie). At the end of the film, nobody knows who Peter is. He moves into a sad apartment, buys a GED textbook, and starts crimefighting from scratch. Now, if he disappears from the MCU, no one will miss him.
What happens in Morbius?
Dr. Michael Morbius and his rich buddy Milo (Matt Smith) are both born with a rare, vague blood disease, and Morbius will do anything to fix it. He splices bat DNA with human DNA and ill-advisedly uses himself as a guinea pig. The result is predictably disastrous. Morbius immediately turns into a vampire and kills a ton of mercenaries to suck their blood. But he’s a good guy, so he decides he needs to control his lust for humans. Luckily, he’s also invented an artificial form of blood that’s blue, and drinking that down like a marathoner desperate for water sustains him for a bit. But day by day its effects wear off faster and faster. Morbius calculates at some point he will have to drink human blood to survive. The movie then immediately drops this moral dilemma and never returns to it. Does he ever have to drink human blood? Who knows. Is he slowly turning into a bad guy? No one cares.
Meanwhile, Morbius’ buddy Milo injects himself with the vampiric formula without Morbius’ knowledge. He also turns into a vampire, and he is feeling himself. In the only fun part of the movie, Milo dances in front of a mirror, flexing his new muscles and then heads to a Wall Street bar to suck the blood of some bankers. It’s all very Buffy. The police chasing Morbius (Al Madrigal and Tyrese Gibson) assume that Morbius is the killer and arrest him. They tell him that while it’s fine he killed a bunch of mercenaries on a boat (it is?!), but it’s not cool that he’s now killing New York citizens. Oh, and briefly the cops allude to a murderous “incident” in San Francisco. So we know Venom and Morbius exist in the same universe. That will be important later.
Morbius escapes from prison in order to put an end to Milo’s killing spree. Milo kills Morbius’ mentor (a criminally underused Jared Harris) and Morbius’ co-worker/girlfriend Martine (Adria Arjona). Morbius is forced to suck Martine’s blood to survive. Morbius and Milo fight. Morbius kills Milo. Martine predictably wakes up and is probably a vampire now too.
A short sidebar: Both Venom and Morbius are “good guys” in their movie runs. They work to control their blood thirst, protect the innocent, and hunt down other aliens or vampires who are abusing the same powers for evil. Why superhero movies can’t just make movies about villains in which the villains are actually villainous is unclear, but it feels like this will be a problem when they pit Morbius and Venom against Spidey later. I guess, based on No Way Home, Sony is just aruging that all bad guys are good guys that had something bad happen to them? Like, falling into a vat of eels like Electro or screwing up an experiment on oneself like…every other Spider-Man villain. So then presumably Spidey is just going to spend all his time brewing up scientific cures for their ailments on top of fighting them. Sounds exhausting.
What happens in the Morbius end-credits scenes?
In the first post-credits scene, the villain from Spider-Man: Homecoming, Vulture (Michael Keaton) finds himself transported from a jail cell in the MCU (where Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has been fighting crime) to a cell in Morbius’ universe. Vulture (whose real name is Adrian Toomes) makes a crack that he hopes this prison is better than the last one. You would think he would be upset about being transported to a different universe since his whole schtick in Homecoming was how much he loved his family. But he doesn’t seem too bummed about being separated from his daughter forever. Because the jailers in Morbius’ universe have no record of an Adrien Toomes in their jail, they set him free.
In the second scene, Morbius drives out to a field in the middle of nowhere to meet Vulture. Vulture, whose suit has gotten fancier since we last saw it, tells Morbius, “Thanks for meeting me, Doc. I’ve been reading about you. I don’t know how I got here … something to do with Spider-Man. I’m thinking of putting a team together. Do some good.”
Morbius simply replies, “Intriguing.”
This exchange heavily hints at the creation of a villainous group called the Sinister Six.
Why does Morbius care about fighting Spider-Man? Does Spider-Man even exist in this universe?
No, as far as we know, Spider-Man does not exist in Morbius’ universe. So Morbius should probably be asking Vulture a lot of followup questions like, “Who is Spider-Man?” and, “Why do I care about him?”
Also, Morbius has been the hero of the movie up until this point. He took down a bad vampire. He resisted drinking human blood. Why he would want to join a group of supervillains?
Wait, how did Vulture end up in the Morbius/Venom universe?
When the multiverse cracked open during that final battle in Spider-Man: No Way Home, apparently Vulture just got zapped from the MCU universe to the Sony universe. Why? No explanation. Did anyone else from the MCU get transported to a random universe? Not that we know of. Call it corporate mandate magic.
Wasn’t Vulture cool with Spider-Man at the end of Homecoming though?
Yeah, Vulture didn’t seem that mad at Spider-Man for throwing him in jail at the end of Homecoming. Spider-Man saved Vulture’s life. And in the end-credits scene for that movie (sick of end-credits scenes yet?) Mac Gargan (a.k.a. Scorpion) approached Adrien Toomes in prison to ask about Spider-Man’s true identity. Toomes claimed he did not know who Spider-Man was. It’s unclear if Adrien was trying to protect Peter or just wanted to kill Peter himself when he got out of prison.
Wait, I’m so confused, what universe is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in?
He’s still in the MCU. After Doctor Strange cast a spell so that everyone would forget who Peter Parker was, everyone in the MCU forgot his identity, but Spider-Man didn’t get zapped to a parallel universe. In order to fight Morbius, Venom, or the Vulture, Spider-Man is going to have to traverse the multiverse.
It’s possible that a different Spider-Man does exists in Sony’s universe. They could recast the role, and that new Spider-Man could fight all these baddies. After all, Holland has said he’s unsure whether he’ll play the webslinger again. Such a switch-up would require even more plot gymnastics: Why, for example, would Vulture want to fight a different Spidey he has no beef with? But that’s a problem for another movie.
Maybe Sony will seize this opportunity to finally, finally feature Miles Morales’ Spider-Man in one of its live action movies instead of casting a fourth Peter Parker. After all, the other Miles headlined Into the Spider-Verse, arguably the best Spider-Man movie of all time.
What’s the deal with this Sinister Six team I keep hearing about?
Multiple times in the Spider-Man comics (and the recent, very fun Spider-Man video game), a group of Spidey villains have teamed up to try to take down the webslinger and called themselves the Sinister Six (or, on occasion, the Sinister Seven if their numbers well). It looks like Sony is setting up just such a team.
This version will likely consist of Morbius, Venom, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, and two other yet-unknown villains. If Scorpion was also zapped from the MCU to the Sony universe, he could be a fifth team member. And maybe there’s a parallel universe version of the now-dead Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) who could show up.
Is Tom Holland returning as Spider-Man? And, if so, when?
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