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Morbius Characters Who Mean More Than You Think

After endless delays, "Morbius" finally landed. Directed by Daniel Espinosa and starring Jared Leto as the Living Vampire, the supernatural comic book movie is an origin story about the bloodsucking anti-hero created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane for "The Amazing Spider-Man" #101 in 1971 (Via Marvel Database). Naturally, the core focus of the film is all about Michael Morbius and how he deals with his curse, prompting the existential debate of where one separates man and monster.

While "Morbius" is important since it marks the live-action debut of a seminal Marvel character, the fang-tastic one isn't on his own here. In fact, the film is a key vehicle for several characters — both new and old. It might not be on the grandiose level of something like "Spider-Man: No Way Home," but it's an important puzzle piece that further unlocks both the vision for Sony's Spider-Man Universe and where everything fits into this complicated multiverse. So let's cover our necks, put out the garlic, and explore the "Morbius" characters who mean more than you think.

Agent Simon Stroud

Agent Stroud isn't the first name that pops out in "Morbius." While Tyrese Gibson adds some star power to the role, the character comes across like the hard nosed, stubborn, and distrusting law type that's become a movie trope over the years. However, Agent Stroud actually owes a debt of gratitude to Michael Morbius, whose invention of artificial blood saved his arm in the past. More importantly, Gibson announced on his Instagram account in March 2019 that he's signed a three-picture deal to reprise the role, which signifies that Agent Stroud has a bigger part to play in this overall storyline.

For those unfamiliar with the comics, Simon Stroud has a complex history with Morbius, having been both friend and foe to the Living Vampire. Stroud was also a spy in his previous life and became close friends with Black Widow before deciding to leave the espionage business altogether to become a cop for the NYPD (via Marvel). He might not be an instantly recognizable A-list character in Marvel Comics, but he's been a pivotal supporting character to some key storylines, especially those involving supernatural elements. While it's still unclear which universe (or universes) Morbius is allowed to play in, it's evident that Agent Stroud will be along for the ride for the foreseeable future.


Wait, do the X-Men exist in Morbius' universe? Who knows. After Spider-Man and Doctor Strange decided to "Barry Allen" the multiverse, no one really knows which universe is which anymore. That said, Dr. Nicholas (Jared Harris) heavily alludes to the presence of Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in the film. After he discovers that a young Morbius solved a medical problem by using a spring from a pen, the doctor tells the boy genius that he believes he could get him signed up to a school in New York that's designed to help gifted youngsters.

There's no doubt that Dr. Nicholas is referring to the X-Men here, which poses another interesting question apart from the multiverse conundrum: how long has Xavier's team been in existence here? The conversation between Dr. Nicholas and Morbius took place 25 years before current events, which means the mutants have been around for some time now. But which version of the team is from that era? Is this similar to Fox's version of the X-Men films, where they don't seem to age at a normal rate? Or is this more like the comics, where canon is entirely optional and everyone lost track of what's happening with the X-Men back in the '90s? Alternatively, this could have simply been a nod and wink to another Marvel property with no intention of setting up anything further.

Horizon Labs

Look, the name "Horizon Labs" sounds like the most generic name for a laboratory ever (even more so than the blandish STAR Labs from the DC Universe). What it lacks in name, though, it more than makes up for in purpose. In "Morbius," it's the place where the titular character tinkers with the cure for his blood disorder. It might seem inconspicuous as a location, since one would expect scientific experiments to take place in a lab; however, this is where many of the film's crucial turning points take place.

In the comics, Horizon Labs has become a mainstay feature since 2010 when it was introduced in "Amazing Spider-Man" #648, by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos (via Marvel Database). Founded by Peter Parker's science hero Max Modell and considered the place to be for innovation, it's also the spot where our friendly neighborhood arachnid created many of his spec-tech-ular costumes. While the "Morbius" film didn't feature the other residents of Horizon Labs, it certainly paves the way for other famous Marvel scientists to make their debuts down the line.


Knock, knock, let the devil in. Well, Morbius listened as he welcomed everyone's favorite chicken-loving symbiote from outer space into his story. Initially, the first reference of Venom in "Morbius" occurs when Agents Stroud and Rodriguez discuss the incident in San Francisco — a callback to the destruction and massacre from "Venom: Let There Be Carnage." But that wasn't the only mention of Eddie Brock's BFF ... Morbius then scares off a few individuals by declaring that he's Venom as either an elaborate joke or letting the poor symbiote take the fall for his actions. It isn't too surprising to see the link here, especially since both Morbius and Venom fall under Sony's Spider-Man Universe, where it was always likely that they'd be part of the same continuity.

What is intriguing, however, is the role that Venom and Morbius might play in the subsequent films. There's the potential for them to be allies or even foes, depending on the direction that Sony wants to go with both of these anti-heroes. However, their fates might be directly tied to a winged character who looks set to define the trajectory of Spidey's supporting cast.

Adrian Toomes (Vulture)

The presence of Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes in the "Morbius" trailers was a major talking point for fans. It all but indicated that he'd play a role in the film. Surprisingly, those trailer clips didn't even make it into the final cut of the movie, but there were other scenes filmed with the man known as Vulture. In all likelihood, the reason for this shake-up was due to the delayed release of "Morbius," which resulted in it taking place after "Spider-Man: No Way Home" — a film that had wide-spreading consequences for the multiverse.

With that said, Toomes' arrival in this new universe offers some chin-stroking permutations. His slate is now clean and no one seems to be aware of his controversial past. As a result, it's easier for him to convince others to join his cause and paint out Spider-Man to be the bad guy, like he did with Morbius. One could argue that his conversation with the Living Vampire lays a serious foundation for the formation of the Sinister Six — a project that Sony has wanted to release for ages now.

Martine Bancroft

Marvel comic book fans must have been delighted when the news broke that Martine Bancroft, as portrayed by Adria Arjona, would appear in "Morbius" as a supporting character. As per Marvel, Bancroft was introduced as Michael Morbius' love interest and secretary, who was entirely devoted to her husband-to-be. Even after he turned into a vampire, she never gave up on him — eventually becoming a bloodsucker herself.

The version of the character introduced in the film is significantly different from the comics. For one, she's Dr. Bancroft here, an established and respected scientist that works side by side with Morbius. And second, their romance is downplayed for the most part until the end. Yes, she wants to help her friend and there are definitely sparks between them, but she isn't being led around by her heart. Despite these tweaks to her personality, Dr. Bancroft's outcome in "Morbius" is the same as in the comics, when she turns into a vampire in the end. The question is, will she align herself with the Living Vampire or become a new adversary for him? The comics explored both paths, and maybe the same will be toyed with in the film universe.


According to The Hollywood Reporter, Matt Smith was originally intended to portray the character of Loxias Crown in "Morbius." Crown was better known as Hunger in the comics, a mysterious figure who used Morbius' cure to become his own powerful vampiric creature. Unlike Morbius, however, he feels nothing about his bloodlust and embraces his villainous side. Think Deacon Frost from the "Blade" movie with less cool hair.

For some reason, "Morbius" changed Smith's character's name to Milo, though it's revealed that his real name is Lucien when he's introduced as a child. Undoubtedly, this is still the tiniest of odes to Loxias Crown, as Lucien sounds phonetically closer to Loxias than Milo does. Smith's Milo also behaves in exactly the same sort of manner as Hunger from the comics: dastardly, menacing, and giving Morbius sleepless nights. Villainy aside, there's simply no denying that Milo comes across as a flamboyant character, perhaps even likeable in parts, such as where he enjoys a dance in front of the mirror. "You need to like your villains, you kind of want to hang out with them," Smith told Digital Spy. "You want to hang out with Hannibal Lecter a bit, don't you? Well I do anyway." Considering that Milo and Hannibal both want to drink the blood of their victims, that's a rather apt comparison that Smith made.

Dr. Nicholas

Jared Harris' announcement in "Morbius" spun the Internet forums into a frenzy, especially since his character's name wasn't initially revealed. The big question was, who exactly was Harris playing? At first, everyone seemed convinced that he was portraying Otto Octavius, but the actor himself shut down the rumors before they grew eight legs. And no, he wasn't set to play Mephisto, either, as that character is more elusive than a good "Fantastic Four" film.

In "Morbius," Harris portrays Dr. Nicholas — a father figure to the Living Vampire and Milo. However, his role isn't what anyone would deem sizable and it appears like some of his scenes might have been cut before release. Judging by how this film has rearranged the names of several characters, though, Dr. Nicholas could be a subtle tribute to Emil Nikos from Marvel Comics. Nikos was a fellow scientist and friend to Morbius, who worked with him to cure his blood disorder. When Morbius turned into a vampire, he ended up in the biting line and eventually turned as well. There are several similarities between Dr. Nicholas and Nikos in the film, as he deeply cares for Morbius and tries to help him live with his disorder. However, there is still one lingering question about Dr. Nicholas that was briefly touched upon earlier: how does he know about the X-Men's existence? Could he possibly be a mutant as well?


Much like the rest of Sony's Spider-Man Universe films, which don't have the word "Spider-Man" in their title, there's no Spidey cameo in this movie. Yet, his presence is felt throughout the movie, even if he doesn't swing into the picture. Not only are there callbacks to iconic New York locations that are tied to the Web-Head's history, such as Horizon Labs, but the post-credits scene with Vulture also sets up the possibility of something amazing.

While Morbius' position in the multiverse might appear confusing at first, it can be simplified as follows: One, Vulture left Tom Holland's Spider-Man universe after Doctor Strange's spell and arrived in Morbius'. Two, Venom exists in Morbius' world. And three, Tobey Maguire's Web-Slinger already dispatched of his pesky symbiote infestation in "Spider-Man 3." So, by the process of basic elimination, it appears as if Morbius, Venom, and Vulture are a part of Andrew Garfield's "Amazing Spider-Man" universe — or potentially a fourth Spider-Man. A word of warning, though: the continuity of Sony's Marvel characters in and out of the MCU seems to be fluid and ever changing, so while it might seem obvious here and now, that doesn't mean the linear path will be the one followed. However, fans can still dream, since there's been a massive online push to see "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" enter production and it'd be fantastic to see Garfield's Spidey return to square off against these characters.

The Daily Bugle and its staff

Is it really a Spider-Man universe without the Daily Bugle? "Morbius" answers this question with an empathetic no. Throughout the film, the hottest fictional newspaper in town pops up to showcase what's troubling New York's citizens on the day. For those who have the time and patience to zoom in on the paper's contents, there are a few Easter eggs scattered on the front page, such as the existence of Black Cat here and even a cheeky wink to Rhino.

The Bugle's presence presents an interesting conundrum, since J. K. Simmons has played J. Jonah Jameson in both Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland's respective universes. Will Simmons make it a hat trick by playing him here? Alternatively, there's the possibility that Sony's Spider-Man Universe could decide to shift the focus to Robbie Robertson, another long-time editor and wordsmith associated with the Bugle in the comics. Robertson hasn't been seen in a live-action "Spider-Man" film since the days of Sam Raimi so why not promote him to editor-in-chief here?