As it turns out, we won't be seeing the long-awaited return of Doctor Octopus to the world of live-action in Morbius. Following the release of the movie's first trailer, there was some speculation that actor Jared Harris would be playing the fan-favorite Spider-Man villain. Now, Harris has addressed the suggestion and confirms that he's not starring as Dr. Otto Octavious. So who is he playing?
Jared Harris is currently making the awards season rounds for his work on HBO's Chernobyl. At the 2020 SAG Awards, the actor was asked about the Doc Ock possibility, which was at the very least not impossible, since Sony still owns the big screen rights to the character. However, Harris flatly said "no" and was quick to shoot the whole thing down. Here's what he had to say about it.
"There are a lot of crazy ideas out there... I love the imagination that the fans have, it's exciting for me to think about the imagination that fans have. But yeah no, it's not."
In the trailer, there are a couple of shots of Jared Harris as a doctor. Given the lack of context, certain fans ran wild with it. Since Doc Ock is one of the most famous doctors in the history of Marvel Comics, and since this takes place in Spider-Man's world, it would have made some sense.
Interestingly, the actor described Morbius as a "Spider-Man universe spin-off" which is, in itself, telling. The first trailer showed us Jared Leto as the Living Vampire but, more than that, it revealed that Spider-Man, though probably not Tom Holland's Spider-Man, exists in that universe. For the time being, we have far more questions than answers about how that's going to play out, especially given that Michael Keaton cameo. But Spidey is a factor in the world these characters inhabit. Jared Harris refused to give up any details about the movie, but expressed that he was impressed by the trailer.
"That part is always a surprise because there's always so much there that wasn't there at the time, and that's always impressive."
Morbius is the second entry in Sony's Spider-Man spin-off universe after 2018's Venom. It centers on Michael Morbius, who is dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder. Determined to save others suffering his same fate, he attempts a desperate gamble. At first, it appears to be a major success, but soon reveals itself to be a cure that may well be worse than the original disease. The cast also includes Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Adria Arjona (6 Underground), Al Madrigal (Night School) and Tyrese Gibson (The Fate of the Furious).
Alfred Molina previously played Doctor Octopus in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 in 2004. That remains the only time he's appeared in live-action, though The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hinted he was going to appear in that universe, had things continued. More recently, Kathryn Hahn voiced a version of the character in the animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Morbius is set to hit theaters on July 31. This news comes to us via Variety.