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The Question Marvel Fans Have About Morbius' Infamous Fake Catchphrase

Just from following the memes and viral influence that the film "Morbius" has had online, you may have been led to think that the vampire-themed superhero movie is actually the most influential piece of media ever produced, up there with the likes of "The Godfather," "Casablanca," and "Gone with The Wind." Unfortunately, "Morbius" is far from a cinematic masterpiece, and has been absolutely savaged by critics — the movie scored an abysmal 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it hasn't exactly earned dividends on ticket sales either, earning around $163 million against a $75 million budget.

Coincidentally, the one thing that "Morbius" has done effectively is inspire the denizens of the internet to craft the aforementioned internet jokes. So prevalent are these memes that Sony, the studio who created "Morbius," decided to re-release the film, presumably based on the amount of chatter still being generated on the internet. Unfortunately, the re-release of "Morbius" proved to be even more disastrous, and according to Vulture, only made $85,000 across 1,000 screens on Friday, June 3, 2022. 

Sony's failed attempt to hijack the success of the memes is an interesting look at the disconnect between fans, sarcasm, and movie executives. Also interesting, though, is the question of just where the most prominent Morbius meme of all — the fake catchphrase "It's Morbin' time!" which a fanged Jared Leto does not say in the film — originated from, and fans have two competing theories.

Some fans think Morbin' Time comes from the Power Rangers

The mere mention of "Morbius" causes an incredible deluge of meme-inspired comedy on every message board the living vampire touches. However, on the subreddit r/OutOfTheLoop, u/robskoo asked what was up with all of the "Morbius" memes — and while the topic immediately devolved into the standard "Morbius" nonsense, some fans took a deeper look into the question of how "It's Morbin' time" came to be. Most notably, u/sterling_mallory commented, "What I want to know is if people recognize this as a Power Rangers joke – both the people who are using it and the people who are asking if it's actually said in the movie."

As a refresher, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" was a popular television series that got its start in the 1990s, depicting the adventures of super-powered "teenagers with attitude" that, when pressed into combat, would shout "It's Morphin' Time!" as they proceeded to (wait for it) morph into their superpowered alter-egos. At first glance, this would indeed seem like the obvious inspiration for the Morbius catchphrase, because while "Power Rangers" is still a massive media franchise — and one with a surprisingly complex timeline — the original series was a major cultural behemoth back in its heyday. According to Time, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" television show averaged around 4.8 million daily viewers in the first season, and 6.9 million during its second season, which is an absolutely bombastic reception. The show managed to generate around $1 billion in merchandise in 1995, and that was just in the United States. 

Considering just how popular the "Power Rangers" were, it would make sense for them to be the driving force behind "Morbin' time." However, there's another very likely place that the phrase might originate from, and it's straight from the Marvel Universe.

Perhaps 'Morbin' time' actually comes from the Fantastic Four

As theorized on Reddit by u/squishedgoomba, "I thought it was a reference to The Thing's catchphrase 'It's clobberin' time!'" 

The Thing, aka Ben Grimm, is the popular Marvel superhero known for his rocky exterior, immense strength, big heart, and his penchant for yelling the above phrase when he's ready for action — something he's been doing ever since "Fantastic Four" #22, per Comic Book Resources. The Thing, and the rest of the Fantastic Four, have been an even greater cultural influence than the Power Rangers, as it was the creation of this flawed family of superheroes by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1961 that saved Marvel Comics, established a new breed of superhero, and cemented the format that would lead to characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men.

To date, the Fantastic Four haven't yet translated into a well-received movie — something that will hopefully change, with a reboot lined up for the MCU — but the phrase "It's clobberin' time!" has stood the test of time. It's been used as a headline for publications like The Detroit Metro Times. It's been referenced by movies, television shows, and the professional wrestler CM Punk. It's a format for memes. It's a part of American cultural history. And with "Clobberin' time" having been in the modern-day lexicon since the early 1960s, perhaps that's what actually inspired "Morbin' time."

Or maybe both influences played a part. Either way, "Morbin' time" doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

The first use of Morbin' Time has been found

Considering the questions surrounding the origin of the phrase "It's Morbin' time," some internet sleuths managed to track down the first usage of the phrase. According to The Gamer, it turns out that Twitter user @rhidaneelolivaw was the very first to coin the phrase in November 2021, way before the actual release of "Morbius." Showing off just how potent of a meme the 'Morbin' has become, even Jared Leto himself had to toss his hat into the ring. On June 3, 2022, Leto posted a video of himself on Twitter that showed him being asked what script he is reading, and the camera pans over the title — "Morbius 2: It's Morbin' Time." Unfortunately (or fortunately), this joke is highly unlikely to become a reality.

Whether the phrase was taken from Fantastic Four's the Thing character, or from "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," chances are that shouts of "It's Morbin time!" will continue to blast the internet in this bizarre and ironic fashion ... though no amount of memes will translate into a world where "Morbius" is ever taken seriously.