Matt Smith Is Likely Joining Jared Leto's Morbius Movie

Matt Smith at the 70th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California
Matt Smith at the 70th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

Remember when we all scoffed at the idea of a movie about a Spider-Man villain without Spider-Man, then Venom happened—and suddenly Sony’s Spider-Man-adjacent film universe didn’t seem so foolish? Another movie in that realm, the Jared Leto-starring Morbius, has inched closer to the screen with the announcement that Matt Smith is joining the cast.

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Variety broke the news that Smith—of Doctor Who and The Crown fame, and soon to be seen in Star Wars: Episode IX—is in “final talks” to join Morbius, which will be directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Life) and star Leto as the scientist-turned-accidental-bloodsucker, a villain who’s battled Spider-Man over the years but most notably in a mid-1990s comic series titled Morbius, the Living Vampire.

Smith’s role was not revealed, nor was any other information, like when the movie might start filming for instance—though given this news, it seems like this Leto-centric comic-book film might be moving along at a faster clip than his oft-rumored standalone Joker project.

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DISCUSSION

When I was a kid growing up in New Zealand in the 70s and 80s, I read comic books that were shipped from the UK. I read odd silly comics for kids with names like Whoopee!, Buster! or Whizzer and Chips!, each title usually ending with an exclamation mark. Then as I got older I read a fantastic sci-fi anthology comic book called 2000AD, where characters like Strontium Dog, Rogue Trooper and Judge Dredd fought against fantastical enemies across spectacular worlds in futuristic settings.

Meanwhile America seemed to almost be universally concentrating on superheroes. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Hulk, and then I lost track as they became less known to me. From my point of view I couldn’t figure out what it was about superheroes that American kids liked so much, they seemed so narrow a focus, and always conclude with big punch-up fisticuff fights. That just seemed incredibly limiting and boring to me. 2000AD seemed to open up possibility, while superhero comics seemed to be the same thing over and over and over*.

I was of course wrong, there was more subtlety and variation in superhero comics than I gave them credit for, but I still think they were very narrowly focused.

And though I now am enjoying the Marvel output in movies and TV, everything else that is superhero based just loses me because the same thing from my childhood is happening; It’s the same idea retold over and over and over with very little variation and all ending in a big punch-up over a New York skyline.

I am completely exhausted with superheroes. Can we stop revisiting this well and have more genuinely new and original stuff please? Time to move on.

*It really annoyed me how many 2000AD creators seemed so desperate to go to America and make superhero comics