We’ve been hearing about Jared Leto transforming into the vampy Spider-Man villain Dr. Michael Morbius for more than two years. On Tuesday (Nov. 2), after a pandemic pause, the Thirty Second to Mars frontman and Oscar-winning actor stormed back as the sickly scientist who transforms himself into a “pseudo-vampire” in the search for the elusive cure to his rare blood disorder.
The three-minute trailer serves as a kind of mini origin story for the farm league Spidey villain, with a limping Morbius limping out of a helicopter and telling a voice off-screen “I am a doctor,” when asked if he needs professional medical attention. “I should have died years ago,” a raspy-voiced Leto says as a montage of Morbius as a crutches-using child and hands-on adult doctor scrolls by.
Like all great scientific minds, Morbius searches high and low for a cure, slashing his hand and welcoming an attack from a swarm of bats in the hopes they might have the answer. As the Doors’ ominous “People Are Strange” bubbles up, we find out that Morbius disappeared for two months and was found on a ghost container ship that washed up on Long Island.
In a classic comic book tale of the 98-pound weakling transforming into a ripped, super-strong otherworldly creature with perfect abs and menacing zombie eyes, Morbius emerges with “some sort of bat radar” and the ability to literally fly through the subways. At one point we see Morbius in full half-man, half-vamp fangs-out mode as he struggles with the pull between the city wanting him dead and nefarious characters seeking to harness his power.
For Marvel maniacs, the trailer has a few tasty Easter eggs that have further fanned the flames of a debate over whether the film is part of the larger MCU. The bits include a wink-wink cameo from Michael Keaton’s Vulture, as well as some nods to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and even a morbid joke from Morbius about another killer baddie in a scene where he menacingly flashes his teeth and teases a victim that he’s actually Venom.
“Are you here to heal the world… or to destroy it?” asks his mentor (played by Jared Harris) of the latest anti-hero in the Marvel-adjacent universe. Morbius was originally slated for release on in July 2020, the delayed throughout the pandemic as movie studios kept their powder dry while waiting for theaters to re-open. The Daniel Espinosa-directed drama is now set to open wide in theaters on Jan. 28.
Leto also posted a one-minute vignette teaser in which he narrates the story of the “brilliant” doctor with “unique powers” that appear to be out of his control. “I loved the opportunity to do something transformational,” he said, adding that it was a very physically intense shoot and expressing pride in bringing the supervillain to screen for the first time. He even threw in an MCU joke, smiling, “there’s a web of opportunity.”
Watch the trailer below.