Who is Adrian Toomes in Marvel? Who is Adrian Toomes? The superhero vampire movie Morbius is now available on Netflix. It’s an unremarkable movie (at best), but it’s gained notoriety through memes and bad reviews. But thanks to Netflix, more eyes will be on Matt Smith’s sexy dance moves and Jared Leto’s slow-motion, brushstroke-enhanced acrobatics than probably in the entirety of its disappointing theatrical run.
Morbius is a Marvel Comics character who has menaced Spider-Man on the page since 1971. The Morbius post-credits scenes involve Adrian Toomes, AKA the Vulture, who was last seen in the 2017 MCU movie Spider-Man: Homecoming. This could be confusing for some and it may have them asking whether or not Morbius is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, is it?
Who is Adrian Toomes in Marvel?
For those who have been playing along for the last 14 years, rolling your eyes at the title of this article and immediately jumping to the comments section, the answer is painfully obvious. But the thing is, it’s been 14 years. Not everybody is all caught up on the dozens of movies and TV shows, while understanding the knot of movie rights issues that have made Marvel (particularly its relationship to the Spider-Man franchise on screen) so complicated. Just because you’ve seen the second season of Iron Fist doesn’t mean everyone is caught up. Much like the Ultimate Marvel comics line eventually did, the MCU has become unruly over time and it’s occasionally hard to get a grasp on. This goes especially for newcomers who can’t tell Ronan from Ronin.
So just what is Morbius’ connection to the MCU?
It’s worth going back to the mid-1990s, where Marvel Entertainment was hurting for money and getting dangerously close to bankruptcy. An easy way to make money was to sell movie rights to willing studios. Marvel was years away from even considering making their own movies and they weren’t owned by Disney yet, so there was no drawback to selling the movie and TV rights to their characters to various bidders.
But those rights come with a clause that the winning bidder would have a limited amount of time to produce a film or the rights revert to their original owner. This goes for sequels as well, so if you complete some kind of trilogy and decide that a fourth movie isn’t worth the effort, then those rights will eventually go back to square one.
By the time Marvel released Iron Man in 2008, Sony had the rights to Spider-Man, 20th Century Fox had both X-Men and Fantastic Four, and there were some complications involving Universal and the Hulk that could take a whole other article to properly unpack.
As a result, the MCU couldn’t touch Spider-Man unless Sony allowed it (the actual logistics of how the two studios came to share Spidey are unimportant for the purposes of this article), so Peter Parker was off the table for years. Not that it hurt the MCU too much, as they were able to create a strong expanded universe containing comparatively less-popular superheroes and a feeling that everything was connected. Various movie studios, including Sony, learned the wrong lesson from this success and fumbled into disastrous attempts to recreate this formula. Sony wanted to make an expanded universe out of Spider-Man characters, but the sloppy Amazing Spider-Man 2 made that seem unattainable.
After the critical and commercial disappointment of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony allowed Disney to put a rebooted Spider-Man into the MCU. Tom Holland as Spider-Man was introduced in Captain America: Civil War and then appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he took on Michael Keaton as the Vulture. While this Peter Parker got to hang out with the Avengers, Sony still had the rights to a number of other villains and supporting characters who came with the Spider-Man rights. As a result, they decided to go with perhaps the most recognizable of those Spidey-adjacent characters and create a Venom movie…sans Spider-Man.
The Tom Hardy-starring Venom movie ended up becoming a pretty big success and earned a sequel (not to mention additional Spidey-less villain flicks like our pal Morbius), which ended with a confirmation that the movie took place in a separate continuity from the MCU.
The trailers for Morbius played it coy with where the movie and its title character fit in to the MCU. References were made to three different cinematic Spider-Man continuities, as well as the Venom movies. Almost all of those Easter eggs were dropped in the finished film. In the end, Morbius takes place in the same universe as Venom and Venom: Let There be Carnage.
Who is Adrian Toomes?
In Marvel’s comic-book lore, Adrian Toomes is the former owner of Bestman Salvage who lost everything in the Stark Industries takeover of salvaging operations in New York City.
In order to find his place again, Adrian recruited fellow co-workers and became an arms dealer on the black market, while assuming the identity of the Vulture after equipping himself with an exo-suit created from Chitauri technology.
Adrian’s illegal dealings soon appeared on Spider-Man’s radar, thus igniting conflict between the villain and hero.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Adrian Toomes made his first live-action appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming, played by Michael Keaton, which saw the villain being arrested at the end of the film.
Does Morbius have a connection to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy?
Yes, Morbius is connected to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy thanks to Vulture.
Not only does Adrian Toomes’ appearance automatically confirm a connection to Marvel’s universe, but the explanation of his arrival in Sony’s universe sets it in stone.
It is revealed during the post-credits scene that Adrian Toomes arrived in Sony’s universe via the Multiverse tear shown in Spider-Man: No Way Home, thus creating a direct link to Tom Holland’s web-slinger.
While Morbius and Venom are firmly rooted in Sony’s Spider-Man universe, the Multiverse has established a direct link between Sony and the MCU for them to co-exist.
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