The web of Sony's Spider-Villian universe continues to grow, with Jared Harris officially joining the cast of Morbius. Son of renowned, Oscar-nominated actor, Richard Harris, the British-born actor has amassed a wide and eclectic range of roles of his own over the last few decades. Most notably, he starred as Lane Pryce in AMC's Mad Men and as King George VI in Netflix's The Crown. He has also appeared on the big screen, with turns in The Man from U.N.C.L.E and the recent Poltergeist remake. Harris will be the second Jared on the cast, with Suicide Squad's Jared Leto set to play the titular role.
Created by Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane, Michael Morbius debuted in the 1970s comic book, The Amazing Spider-Man issue #101. A famed biochemist, Morbius attempts to cure a terminal blood disorder with an experimental serum derived from bats. As is usually the case of Spider-Man characters, things go awry and Morbius is transformed into a vampire-like creature. Though starting off as a villain, the character ultimately went on to become something of an anti-hero. Following the rampant success of Venom, Sony pushed rapidly forward with the next installment of their Spider-Villain universe, with filming already teased as underway in London.
According to Deadline, Harris has officially signed on to the film. With filming reported to wrap in May, the actor is a surprisingly late addition. He isn't the only one, however, with Doctor Who's Matt Smith in final talks to come aboard the project. As with Smith, the specifics and nature of Harris's role remain firmly under wraps. As of now, the only other character confirmed is that of Martine Bancroft, Morbius' love interest, played by Adria Arjona.
Based on a script written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Gods of Egypt) and directed by Daniel Espinosa (Life), Morbius is scheduled to hit theaters in July 2020. Should the film enjoy the same box office success as Venom, it could be a hugely successful summer for Sony, especially given that Ghostbusters 3 will release around the same time. Harris has a host of other series and films also in the works, including Robert the Bruce, a sequel to 2005's Braveheart.
Fans will no doubt enjoy speculating as to who Harris will be playing - and whether he will be friend or foe. It was previously suspected that Smith could be playing the film's reported antagonist: Loxias Crown. It could very well be, however, that the filmmakers intend to subvert expectations by going with an older, more cerebral villain for Morbius to combat, rather than the usual. Harris certainly has the pedigree for such roles - having previously planned Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and a villainous mastermind David Robert Jones in Fringe.
Given the commitment of superhero films to conclude with an epic fight between good and evil, it's more likely he'll be occupying another role. A good bet could be fellow scientist Emil Nikos - another comic book character reportedly featured in the film. With elements of his story being given to Crown's revised history, Nikos could instead be simply a friend and colleague - or perhaps even a mentor - that Morbius works with, and which later is drawn into the chaos. Whatever the case, more news is sure to be revealed in the coming months. Whilst it remains to be seen whether it indeed lives up to Venom's financial success, Morbius is certainly putting an interesting cast together.
- Morbius (2020) release date: Jul 31, 2020