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Get your first look at Jared Leto as Morbius

Sony Pictures is sharpening up its fangs and pressing its finest velvet cape in preparation for this summer's most sinister comic book movie. Our first (but not quite official) glimpse at Jared Leto as Morbius the Living Vampire has just emerged on the internet — and to a surprising amount of excitement and approval. 

TheWrap reported on the leaked image, the source of which can't be confirmed as of this writing. Sony hasn't addressed the matter yet, so it's always worth taking in things of this nature with a pinch of salt.

All necessary caveats having been given, let's talk points of interest.

In the photograph, Leto retains little of his normal appearance. The film, about the Marvel Comics character Dr. Michael Morbius and his transformation into Morbius the Living Vampire following his attempts to cure his rare blood disease, appears to be taking a more stylized, fully-realized monster-esque look for the ethically questionable doctor after his accidental metamorphosis. He's been given a bat-like nose, a deeply wrinkled brow ridge, and waxy, gaunt skin. And the teeth — they're huge, unmistakeable, and tastefully grimy. The limited crop of the photo, however, makes it a bit difficult to tell for sure if this is practical makeup, CGI work, or perhaps a combination of both. 

Part of the origin story for Morbius includes a heaping helping of self-loathing over his post-transformation features, so we're pleased to see that the film is really looking to lean into that even to the point of cartoonishness. Comic adaptations shouldn't necessarily feel a demand to be hyper-realistic just because the story is dark.

This picture qualifies as a leak, but the timing is extremely curious. Sony and/or director Daniel Espinosa may not have to say anything at all if they have something to show instead.

The Morbius hype train is leaving the station

Additional leaks suggesting the first trailer for Morbius was imminent arrived just a day after this picture surfaced online. The photo emerged on Saturday, January 11 — and on Sunday, January 12, Tyrese Gibson, who portrays FBI Agent Simon Stroud in the movie, confirmed on his Instagram account that the Morbius trailer will arrive on Monday, January 13. (The Oscar nominations will be announced the same day at 5 AM PST, so perhaps it'll drop after that hubbub has died down.) 

This lends some credibility to the authenticity of the mysterious photo. There's no point in Sony getting upset about a leak if its legitimacy will be almost immediately proven or disproven. Plus, there's long existed the argument that some story and image leaks across the superhero film genre may be intentional for marketing purposes.

In Morbius' case, the waters are muddied even further because this is by no means a guaranteed money-maker for Sony's Marvel movie franchise. The Living Vampire is a niche character even by die-hard comics fan standards, and in a lot of ways, Morbius is second fiddle to several other spooky personalities. There's effort to be made to sell any potential audience on this particular movie — at least Venom has, you know, a measurable amount of pre-established fans. This is the golden hour in which to begin marketing a movie for the summer (it opens in theaters on July 31) that might need an extra bit of juice for gaining interest momentum — especially for a month in which a Christopher Nolan film, the long-anticipated Bob's Burgers feature-length film, and a new Ghostbusters sequel all are released. Sony desperately wants and, frankly, needs this franchise to work, and all evidence suggests the studio willing to put in the work and faith required for that to happen.