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Easter Eggs You Missed In Morbius

Sony is expanding its own Marvel Universe on the big screen with "Morbius," which follows Jared Leto's titular doctor as he turns into a living vampire while trying to cure himself of a fatal blood disorder. The antihero's monstrous transformation is thanks to his experiments on a rare species of bat that's found in South America, and he quickly realizes that he must feed on human blood to keep himself alive. Not only that, but Morbius has to go up against his former friend, Milo (Matt Smith), who has also turned into a blood-thirsty monster.

The early critical reactions to the film weren't exactly kind, with reviews blasting it for its poor story and misaligned post-credits scenes ... ouch. But whether you enjoyed the supernatural romp through New York or not, "Morbius" hides some clever nods to the wider universe — albeit without a version of Spider-Man to tie it all together. Nonetheless, it does take place in the same world as Tom Hardy's "Venom" because Sony is clearly setting the stage for some kind of Sinister Six team-up. The studio is currently working on Aaron Taylor-Johnson's "Kraven the Hunter," and there are also plans for a "Madame Web" movie, which is set to star Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney.

But how does the latest entry into the Sonyverse reference the wider world? Here are the Easter eggs you missed in "Morbius."

A School for Gifted Children

The film's opening scenes establish Michael Morbius' tragic origin story, as he grew up in a medical facility with other children who have the same rare blood disorder as him. It's where he meets Lucien, who takes on the nickname Milo, for the first time, and they quickly become best friends. But when Milo's blood dialysis machine stops working, without a nearby nurse or doctor around to fix it, it's up to Morbius to save the day. Thankfully, he manages to replace a conductive part in the machine using a spring from a ballpoint pen, which somehow gets it back to working order — yay!

But when Dr. Nikols (Jared Harris) realizes how intelligent Morbius is under his moody exterior, he explains that he might be able to send him to a "school for gifted children" in New York where he can hone his talents. Anyone familiar with Marvel comics or the "X-Men" franchise will probably recognize that phrase because Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters is the private school in Westchester, New York, where mutants go to get an education — as well as to get a grip on their growing abilities.

"Morbius" probably isn't implying that a version of the X-Men exists here, mainly because Marvel Studios has the rights to mutants, while Sony can only use Spider-Man, his related characters, and his villains. This is just a subtle reference to the iconic team. But when the X-Men eventually do return to the big screen, they'll be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not the Sonyverse. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige previously explained that the mutants won't come to the MCU for a very long time, so X-Men fans will have to wait a little longer.

A Russian Gentleman

Okay, stay with us on this one. An early conversation between Nikols and Milo sees the wealthy villain explain that he recently crossed paths with a "Russian gentleman" and that's why he's hired bodyguards to look after him. Well, it seems likely that this mysterious baddie is actually Kraven the Hunter. Sure, there have been a few different Russian villains to grace the pages of the "Spider-Man" comics over the years, but considering Sony is working on a "Kraven the Hunter" movie, it seems likely that this is a reference to the iconic hunter.

Kraven's real name is Sergei Kravinoff, and he's been a longstanding "Spider-Man" villain, first going up against the Wall-Crawler back in 1964's "Amazing Spider-Man" issue #15. Kraven has gone after the Spider for decades, and he even dons the costume himself in the iconic storyline "Kraven's Last Hunt" to prove that he can best the hero by being a better vigilante than him.

The "Kraven" movie started production in London in March 2022, as fans spotted Aaron Taylor-Johnson filming a car chase through the streets. The film is currently slated for a January 13, 2023 release, so it'll be quite some time before fans get an official look at the spinoff movie. However, it's likely he'll be a morally ambiguous anti-hero, rather than a full blown bad guy. The film is also set to star "Possessor" star Christopher Abbott as an unknown villain, while legendary star Russell Crowe and Ariana DeBose also have roles alongside Taylor-Johnson.

Horizon Labs

One of the key locations in the film is Horizon Labs, where Morbius looks after children with the same blood disorder that he has — while also carrying out his research into curing the condition. But Horizon Labs has been a huge part of the "Spider-Man" comics in the last decade, as Peter Parker worked there during Dan Slott's run on the character. It's a place for gifted scientists to work on the most cutting-edge technology and ideas, without the restraints of having to pitch them to a board of directors. Horizon Labs first appears in "Amazing Spider-Man" issue #648, and it's run by Max Modell, one of Peter's personal heroes in the scientific community.

Morbius also works for Horizon in the comics, and he's the one who creates a serum that saves everyone in New York when the events of "Spider-Island" turn everyone into giant arachnids. But he's not the only villain to grace the laboratory's halls.

Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, also works for the company after he transfers his consciousness into Peter's brain in "Amazing Spider-Man" issue #700 — and he uses Horizon as a way of developing new technology for his own heroic career. Although don't worry, non-comic readers, Otto eventually surrendered Peter's body back to the hero's consciousness. It's also worth pointing out that the Horizon also has a floating laboratory on a boat — called the Zenith — so they can also operate in international waters. But it's got a different name in "Morbius."

The good ship Murnau

A key sequence in the film sees Morbius undergo his experimental procedure with the help of his love-interest-slash-colleague Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona) on a huge ship way off the coast of Long Island. This is because the procedure isn't approved by the United States Food and Drug Association, so they won't be prosecuted just for carrying it out. Anyway, it all goes south when Morbius transforms into a bloodsucking monster and slaughters the gang of mercenaries they've hired to protect them. Awkward.

But the ship itself is called the Murnau, a neat reference to the famed director F.W. Murnau, who helmed the first-ever vampire movie: 1922's "Nosferatu." The German silent film is an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," using similar story beats to the original story, including scenes where Count Orlok (Max Schreck) kills the crew of a ship as he travels from Transylvania to Germany. In the original story, Count Dracula kills the crew of the Demeter on his way to England, and he arrives in the coastal town of Whitby.

Although "Morbius" isn't a traditional vampire story, it's good to see an homage to the very first cinematic vampire from director Daniel Espinosa and writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless.

That Thing in San Francisco

Just in case it isn't clear that "Morbius" takes place in the same universe as the hugely successful "Venom" franchise, the film spells it out for the audience a couple of times over the course of Morbius' adventure. When the authorities first find the Murnau with a horde of exsanguinated bodies onboard, FBI Agent Rodriguez (Al Madrigal) notes to Agent Stroud (Tyrese Gibson) that they haven't had a weird case like this since "that thing in San Francisco."

It's an obvious reference to Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and Venom because the symbiotic anti-hero isn't exactly a secret on the streets. The Lethal Protector gets into even more trouble in the 2021 sequel, "Let There Be Carnage" when he goes up against the twisted Cletus Kasady. And when Morbius takes over an underground lab used by a counterfeit gang, he jokingly intimidates one of them by saying, "I am Venom."

This means that news about Venom has spread across the country — although it's not quite clear what the public knows about the symbiote other than the fact that he occasionally eats criminals in San Francisco. It'll be interesting to see whether Venom and Morbius will ever share the screen together, but Sony seems dead-set on delivering a Sinister Six movie at some point — so it's definitely possible.

You won't like me when I'm hungry

Writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless clearly enjoy having fun with their wider Marvel references, because they manage to squeeze a Hulk reference into the one-hour, 44-minute runtime. Although Morbius' transformation cures him of his blood disorder and grants him enhanced speed and strength, as well as a unique echolocation ability, it also means that he has to feed on blood so that he doesn't revert back to his sickly self. He manages to sustain himself on artificial blood for a little while, but it just doesn't last as long as the good stuff.

And when Morbius finds himself wrongfully locked up in the Manhattan detention facility for the murder of a nurse at Horizon Labs, he starts to get very, very hungry. In fact, the hero makes it clear to Rodriguez and Stroud how desperate he is for blood, saying, "You won't like me when I'm hungry." Oh yes. For anyone not grinning or eye-rolling at the joke, it's a callback to "The Incredible Hulk" TV series from the 1970s, starring Bill Bixby as Dr. David Bruce Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the titular green monster.

"You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" is Banner's catchphrase in the series and has since become synonymous with the character in general. However, the MCU has its own version of the iconic line, as Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) says "I'm always angry" in 2012's "The Avengers."

Rhino gets loose

The Daily Bugle also shows up throughout the film — just to reassure fans that it's still "Spider-Man" related — and it holds several Easter eggs on its front pages. The first one talks about a Rhino getting loose in a zoo hoax. Now, this doesn't exactly confirm that Alexei Sytsevich exists in the Sony Universe, since the headline sounds like it involves a literal rhino rather than the supervillain of the same name. The Rhino is another of Spidey's famous villains in the comics — known for his brute strength and the fact that he dresses up in a Rhino costume. The villain first shows up in 1966's "Amazing Spider-Man" issue #41 when he kidnaps John Jameson.

Since then, the Rhino has shown up a number of times in the various animated "Spider-Man" shows, before smashing his way into live-action in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," where he was played by Paul Giamatti. This take on the villain reimagines Sytsevich as a gangster, and he eventually suits up in Oscorp's hulking mechanical Rhino suit to fight Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) in the street. He would've probably been in the original "Sinister Six" movie that Sony was developing with Drew Goddard before "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" was canceled.

But it'd be interesting to see what a new version of Rhino would look like in Sony's Marvel Universe — and whether the studio would keep the mech-suit idea, or if they'd try a different approach.

Black Cat

The second reference on The Daily Bugle's front page reads "Black Cat: Friend or Foe?" — which seemingly confirms that Felicia Hardy exists here, too. The character previously appeared in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," played by "Rogue One" star Felicity Jones in a minor role. She briefly shows up as one of the assistants working at Oscorp, before Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) notices her and hires her as his personal assistant. She was presumably going to have a larger role in that universe before Sony scrapped the third installment completely.

Black Cat is an iconic character in the Spider-Man mythos, largely because she's one of his frequent love interests, alongside the likes of Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy. The burglar first appears in 1979's "Amazing Spider-Man" issue #194 when she hatches a plan to break her dying father out of prison. It also establishes that anyone who crosses her falls foul of her bad luck, a theme that riffs off of the common superstition regarding real black cats.

It's entirely possible that Black Cat will show up in a future film, and Sony has already looked into the idea of exploring Felicia Hardy on the big screen. The studio was originally planning to use the femme fatale alongside mercenary Silver Sable in a team-up adventure titled "Silver and Black," from director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Unfortunately "Silver & Black" was canceled when Prince-Bythewood left the project to work on Netflix's "The Old Guard" instead. However, the director told Looper in 2020 that she'd love to return to the characters with the script she wrote.

Chameleon's great escape

But wait, there's a third Daily Bugle headline referencing yet another member of Spidey's rogue's gallery! "Chameleon's Great Escape" suggests that Dmitri Smerdyakov has already had a brush with the authorities and has even managed to escape prison if it's on the front page of the Bugle. Although many of the web-slinger's villains take inspiration from animals, Chameleon doesn't actually dress up like the reptile he's named after. Instead, he's a master of disguise and can impersonate anyone he likes to carry out robberies and assassinations.

Surprisingly, fans have already seen a version of Chameleon in live-action — because he shows up in "Spider-Man: Far From Home" as one of Nick Fury's (Samuel L. Jackson) associates. He's played by Numan Acar in the MCU, but he doesn't actually get to do anything comparable to his comic book origins. Chameleon first shows up in 1962's "Amazing Spider-Man issue #1" where he steals highly classified missile plans and frames the titular hero for the crime.

The white-mask-wearing-villain will next be seen in the "Kraven the Hunter" solo movie, played by Fred Hechinger alongside Aaron Taylor-Johson. It's worth pointing out that Chameleon is actually Kraven's half-brother, so hopefully that dynamic gets the spotlight in the 2023 movie.

Full Dracula

Finally, we've got an on-the-nose reference as Morbius promises Martine that he won't go "full Dracula." Obviously, this is another reference to the classic vampire story by Bram Stoker. But why didn't we include it in that Murnau section? Well, that's because Dracula actually exists in the Marvel universe — yes, really.

He first appears in 1950's Suspense #7 as part of the anthology comic book, but he's since gone on to be a big villain for Blade and the Avengers. He's got a very similar origin to the typical story, except that he's also fought Earth's Mightiest Heroes over the years. Most recently, Dracula has set up his own kingdom of vampires in the ruins of Chernobyl.

Dracula probably isn't going to show up in a "Morbius" sequel — if Sony wants a sequel, that is — but there's a very good chance he'll arrive in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because a "Blade" reboot is in development, starring Mahershala Ali. The titular vampire hunter first debuted in 1972's "Tomb of Dracula" issue #10, so who knows, we might see someone else going "full Dracula" in the future.

Martine Bancroft becomes a vampire

It just wouldn't be a comic book movie if the big bad didn't go after the hero's love interest in the dramatic finale — and "Morbius" is no exception. Unfortunately, Milo catches Martine Bancroft and forces her to cry out for her moody vampire beau in a bid to kickstart the predictable final battle. A hero and a villain? With the same set of superpowers? Groundbreaking. Anyway, he ultimately leaves Milo bleeding out on a rooftop for Morbius to find her — and she lets the good doctor drink her blood so he's fully powered to kill Milo. What a generous sacrifice.

But before she dies, a drop of Morbius' own blood drips into her mouth, and she licks her teeth with it. Weird, but hey, she's dying, so we won't judge. One of the final moments of the film sees Martine wake up with bright red eyes, implying that she's returned as a vampire ... Interesting. Well, in the comics Martine is turned into a vampire in "Fear" #30 by one of the other bloodsuckers who had framed Morbius for various deaths near Mason Manor.

Although she becomes a Living Vampire like Morbius, her newfound abilities made her aspire to be a "True Vampire" like Dracula. Oh, dear. Hello Martine Vampcroft.