Michael Keaton, who played Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, also appears in Morbius.

The Living Vampire has awakened. Jared Leto’s role as the titular Spider-Man antihero has been unveiled in the first official Morbius trailer, arriving as an added surprise on the day the 2020 Oscar nominations were announced.

After playing Joker in DC’s Suicide Squad, a role that seems less and less likely to be reprised, the Oscar winner now takes on the Spidey-centric Marvel character in Sony’s lineup of movies that are based on Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery. Tom Hardy’s Venom, which is getting a sequel, was the first.

In the trailer, Dr. Michael Morbius is a scientist who, in an attempt to cure himself of a rare blood disease, infected himself with a strain of vampirism, turning him into the superhuman creature of the night. That comes with enhanced strength and speed, echolocation, and “an overpowering urge to consume blood.”

Morbius found himself at odds with Spider-Man in the comics, but the film sees him more as an antihero. Daniel Espinosa directs Morbius, which also stars Adria Arjona, Tyrese Gibson, Jared Harris, and Matt Smith.

With Venom, Sony set out to make Marvel movies set around characters from Spider-Man’s comic book world but that were separate from what Disney’s Marvel Studios was doing with Tom Holland‘s Peter Parker and the Avengers. However, in a surprise turn, the finale stinger to the Morbius trailer sees Michael Keaton popping up to say, “What’s up, doc?” Keaton portrayed Marvel villain Vulture in Disney’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, which teases a larger connection between these movies.

Is this the early makings of Sony’s Sinister Six? At one point, Sony had plans to make a Sinister Six movie about a team-up of Spidey’s biggest enemies after Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man 2, but those plans faltered amid lower-than-expected box office turnout. Then the studio came to an understanding with Disney’s Marvel Studios for Holland to be Spider-Man and plans changed. After a brief but major speed bump, Sony struck a new deal with Disney that would secure a sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home and put Holland’s Peter in a future Marvel Studios movie, co-produced by Sony.

Jared Leto in 'Morbius'
| Credit: Sony

In another fun callout, the Morbius trailer features a nod to Tobey Maguire‘s Spider-Man days: a scene shows Leto’s Morbius walking down a street in an orange jumpsuit, while the camera shows graffiti of what appears to be Maguire’s web-slinger on the wall. Unless this is a connection to what happened at the end of Far From Home.

Morbius is produced by Matt Tolmach, Avi Arad, and Lucas Foster, with a script by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. The film is scheduled to hit theaters on July 31.

Related content:

  • Movie