Jared Leto now finds himself on a small list of actors with a resume featuring multiple superhero film roles. Along with Tom Hardy and Ryan Reynolds, Leto now boasts of playing both DC Comics and Marvel Comics characters. Leto, the new Joker of the DC Comics Extended Universe recently signed onto the Spider-Man spinoff project Morbius. Morbius, the Living Vampire might not be the most well-known Marvel anti-hero, but that won’t matter. Superhero movies equal significant ticket sales. Morbius can’t miss at the box office unless the feature turns out to be awful. And even an appalling superhero movie can make big money.
Add Michael Morbius to the litany of Spider-Man characters Sony acquired when the studio licensed the rights to all the wall-crawler’s universe. The forthcoming Venom movie marks the first spin-off movie. All indications point to Tom Hardy’s horror-hero film should be a hit. Sony originally planned on a Sinister Six super-villain ensemble and a Black Cat movie. Morbius got the nod to go into production before those projects.
Morbius originally debuted in the 1970s when Marvel’s line of horror comics did well on the spinner racks. Michael Morbius wasn’t a supernatural vampire though. Morbius was a scientist who made himself into a “vampire-like” creature. Initially, the character played a sympathetic villain role. Over time, Morbius became an anti-hero. Morbius books never sold particularly well, but the character remains a cool one. A lot of box office potential exists with the science-based bloodsucker.
The casting of Leto sent shockwaves through fandom. Leto’s multi-picture contract with Warner Bros. locks him into The Joker role. The deal didn’t bar him from starring in any other comic book projects for competitors. DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Leto’s financial rewards for serving as a “comic book movie icon” will be massive.
Leto will play The Joker in a solo project for the DCEU as well. His Joker film marks the second Joker solo project. An “Elseworlds” Joker origin film moves forward under the supervision of Martin Scorcese. Leto did not gain much acclaim for his work as The Joker, but his debut in Suicide Squad did do well at the box office. That’s all that matters in the end.
Leto’s Morbius should get a modern day makeover in the upcoming film. The 1970’s look of Morbius won’t cut it. The current bland comic book version of Morbius needs some changes as well. Sony probably has exciting changes in store for the Living Vampire.