Jared Leto Absent from DC’s New Birds of Prey Movie but Forms New Marvel Connection

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When Jared Leto starred as the Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad, it was rumoured that the actor would go on to play the villain in a standalone film. Or at the very least, he would reprise the role in any future sequels.

No more Joker for Leto

Fast forward four years and the only new Joker film that has materialised is director Todd Phillips’ dark and twisted 2019 version which landed Joaquin Phoenix an Oscar for best actor. That movie likely spelt the end for Leto’s Joker. He was not cast in the newly-released Suicide Squad spin-off Birds of Prey, and he will not feature in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad movie, due in 2021. And to be fair, after investing so much effort in the character for very little recognition, he might not relish the idea. Especially in the wake of Phoenix’s acclaim.

Switch to Sony’s Marvel Universe

It is fair to say that Leto’s first foray into the superhero world did not pan out as he may have expected. But it hasn’t put him off, and someone at Sony must’ve seen some value in his Joker performance as they recruited him to play Morbius in the upcoming Marvel-associated movie of the same name.

In the movie (directed by Daniel Espinosa), Leto plays biochemist, Michael Morbius, whose attempt to cure himself of a rare blood disease goes horribly wrong and leaves him with vampire tendencies. Morbius, the Living Vampire first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man No. 101 comic book released in 1971. He went on to become something of an anti-hero with his own series of comics. Tortured by his predicament, Morbius spent a lot of time trying to cure himself – he even formed an alliance with Spiderman at one point.

The character is set to join Sony’s Marvel Universe which works in association with Disney’s own Marvel Universe. This collaboration produced Spider-Man: Homecoming and the 2019 release Spider-Man: Far From Home. The studio also released Venom as a standalone film in 2018.

First trailer already released

The first trailer has drawn mostly positive reactions with Leto taking a more sombre approach to the character. With further movies planned, we should get to see a full development story along the lines of Batman Begins. In fact, bats play a big part in Michael Morbius’ transformation from a weak and withering genius into a living pseudo-vampire.

Never-ending demand for vampire material

On the subject of vampires, it appears that our appetite for these blood-sucking creatures never goes away. The demand for vampire-related pop-culture has transcended generations and it is no wonder that Hollywood producers, authors and video game developers keep feeding this desire.

Dracula is probably the most famous vampire of them all. The Transylvania resident began life in Bram Stoker’s novel and has featured in countless video games, movies and TV shows. More recently, the BBC revived the character for a mini-series aired over the New Year. The story begins in the traditional style but takes many unexpected twists and turns on its way to the finale – as should be expected from the creators of Sherlock.

There is a variety of online games that pay tribute to the vampire world including the slot classic Immortal Romance which features four vampire characters in a five-reel format. Each character has their own supernatural powers such as the ability to see in the future, so it fits well into what Betway describes as “the fantastical world of online slots”. The game uses the familiar themes of romance, tragedy, power and pleasure, common vampirical tropes, while its excellent visuals secure its popularity with blood-lusting players on all devices, including desktop, mobile and tablets.

While most vampire stories provide a grim atmosphere, 2014’s movie What We Do in the Shadows offered a more light-hearted look at the lives of these blood-drinking creatures. The film gives a behind-the-scenes documentary-style glimpse into the everyday lives of a group of vampire flatmates in New Zealand. The film received rave reviews and spawned a TV spin-off ordered by FX in the USA. Series One aired in 2019 with a second series commissioned for 2020.

With that in mind, the anticipation ahead of Morbius’s release will be huge and we can only hope that it lives up to expectations.

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