Morbius is potentially bad for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In order to explain that thought, we need to look at a few things. It is no secret that I despise Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures. I think they are the quintessential old fashioned Hollywood studio that operates as a bunch of know-it-alls in big offices but they don’t get the audience.
Ghostbusters 2016 and the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife show a perfect example of this. Fans hated the emasculating improv free-for-all. But instead of looking for how to bring back the blue-collar dry humor, they looked at WB’s IT and Netflix’s Stranger Things and said: “Gee willikers, people really love kids messing with the supernatural, let’s do that with Ghostbusters!” I’m fairly confident that’s an exact quote from someone there. Feel free to use this as a source.
Anyway, lest us forget Sony’s other mistakes. At one time, they thought we would love a Sinister Six movie without Spider-Man. They wanted to make a film with Silver Sable and Black Cat. Even worse…they think we want a Madame Web movie!!!
They don’t get it, and Spider-Man suffers because of this. In 2016 we found out that Disney and Sony made a deal that would bring Spidey into the MCU and allow him to play in the world Stark built. The deal was great for both parties. Spidey could play with the Avengers and Marvel would make money off of those while Sony would get nearly 100% of the profits (minus 5% first dollar profits) on the solo Spider-Man films like Homecoming and Far From Home.
With the success of Spidey in Civil War and Homecoming, everyone expected a new deal to come… Then Venom came out in 2018 and it changed the game of who gets the Spider.
Venom made over $800 million worldwide, the majority being made overseas and the biggest chunk of that being from China. In North America, it brought in a paltry $213 million with a 29% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes but a surprising 80% from fans. This score came before RTs new verification standard for audience scores.
Venom gave Sony confidence that they could make money off of Spider-Man properties. This scared me. I figured this would give Sony the idea that they can make a good Spidey film. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was critically acclaimed but made modest profits. Even for an animated film, its returns were low, $190 million domestic and $375 million worldwide. However, that too gave Sony confidence.
I have been saying for a while now that Sony has always intended to let Marvel “fix” Spidey and then take him back for good. Venom and Spider-Verse gave Sony confidence, and these fears seemed to be confirmed during last year’s D23 convention when word came out that Spidey would be leaving the MCU, that no new deal had been made.
For weeks, we had rumors that ranged from “no deal at all” to “merging the two universes” (MCU and Sony) and everything in between. Finally, after MASSIVE outcry from fans, Sony relented and agreed we could have Spidey in one more MCU solo film and one other MCU film as a “crossover,” much like his role in Civil War, we assume. This deal, I believe, is to allow Spider-Man to be written out of the MCU and see him fully integrated into Sony’s monstrosity.
Enter the Living Vampire
That brings us to Morbius, I know it’s taken me a while to get here, but I had to lay all of that groundwork. Morbius is the origin movie for Michael Morbius, the Living Vampire. This character is a lesser-known Spider-Man villain, but got some love in the old 90s animated series.
The recent trailer surprised us with a poster featuring our favorite wall-crawler and a cameo featuring Adrian Toomes, aka The Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming. That means this movie is connected to the MCU’s Spider-Man (yes, that poster wasn’t Holland’s Spidey, but bigger lies have been spun in trailers). That means we may have to acknowledge some of the things happening in this film in the next MCU Spider-Man film. They’re already laying the foundation to continue spinning Spidey deep into their pocket universe.
If Morbius makes $500 million or more, it will solidify, in Sony’s mind, their ability to make money off of the Spider-adjacent properties and embolden them to take back full control of Spider-Man.
This will ruin the MCU.
The Future of the MCU
Spider-Man is what the MCU needs moving into the future — a bright young mind that connects the new generation to the old. He is the perfect middle-man between surviving members of the Avengers and the upcoming heroes like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Shang Chi, and even the younger X-Men.
Taking Spider-Man out of the MCU takes out the heart of the franchise. Yes, there are Raimi stans that hate Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, but most people feel that the MCU has given us the best combination of Peter, Web-Head Tony (Iron Man), and Steve (Captain America). To remove him from this universe would be devastating. Think back to the fact Sony wants Madame Web and Kraven to have their own movies… do you really want them to have Spidey again?
If Morbius tanks, it’ll prove that Sony doesn’t get it and that Venom soared on his name alone. Even worse, if it does well, it’ll embolden them even further to split from Marvel Studios.
And speaking of Venom soaring on his own name, he didn’t even really soar here. Venom benefited the same way the Transformers franchise did… from foreign markets, including China. And, hey, maybe they like it there, but I’m not sold. Granted, they are in their rights. China clearly likes the approach Sony has taken with their character, and the capitalist in me screams “YEAH! PROFITS! MARGINS! MONEY!” but the geek in me is screaming: “Oh my God! This is so wrong. GIVE THE RIGHTS TO MARVEL!”
As a fan of the comic book continuity, this kills me inside.
Spider-Man is the perfect fit for the MCU. Losing him will be a massive blow to the universe. On the other hand, if Sony decides to offer to merge their universes… It’s a price I’d be willing to pay, but not happily.
What do you think about the semi-merged universes around Spider-Man? Do you think losing Spider-Man will hurt the MCU? Let us know in the comments below!
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