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As Tom Holland's Spider-Man continues leaving his mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony Pictures has been developing its own series of Spider-Man spinoff films separate from the MCU. Venom will kick off this franchise, and one of the other projects in development is centered on longtime Spider-Man foe/anti-hero Morbius the Living Vampire. Now this spinoff has taken a couple steps further, as Jared Leto has been cast to play Morbius himself.
According to Variety, Jared Leto has been "loosely attached" to the Morbius movie for a while, but he wouldn't commit to the project until he knew it was heading in the right direction. Now he's fully on board, as he had a productive meeting with Safe House's Daniel Espinosa, who is now attached to direct the movie. Leto already has a little comic book experience under his belt playing The Joker in Suicide Squad, but Morbius reportedly isn't expected to interfere with him reprising the Clown Prince of Crime in future DC Extended Universe movies. Lost in Space duo Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama penned Morbius' script, and Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach and Lucas Foster are attached as producers.
Clearly Jared Leto was keen on dipping his toes into another comic book franchise beyond the DCEU. Last year, it was reported he was being eyed to play the lead in Bloodshot, Sony's other planned superhero movie franchise that draws on the Valiant Comics mythology. That didn't up working out, and Vin Diesel got the Angelo Mortalli role instead, but now Leto gets to play Michael Morbius instead. Introduced in 1971's The Amazing Spider-Man #110, Michael Morbius was originally a Nobel Prize-winnin biologist who suffered from a rare blood condition. In an attempt to cure himself, Michael inadvertently became a pseudo-vampire. He's now gifted with special abilities like super strength, flight, hypnotism and accelerated healing, but like "regular" vampires, he has to invest blood to survive, although it's rare his victims also turn into vampires. Morbius can also move about during the day, although he becomes weakened when struck by natural light. Outside of the comics, he's appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six, and he was also in consideration to be the villain for Blade II.
As mentioned earlier, Morbius is just one of several Spider-Man-centric spinoff movies Sony has in development. Silver and Black was originally supposed to be released next February, but it was recently taken off the schedule to allow more time to work on the script. It's also been reported that Spike Lee is attached to direct a Nightwatch movie, and news broke days ago that a movie based on Cindy Moon, a.k.a. Silk, is in the works.
Morbius does not have an assigned release date yet, but supposedly production is expected to begin sometime this year. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates, and in the meantime, Venom will drop on October 5.