Warning: This article contains spoilers for Morbius.
Vulture’s appearance in Morbius‘ after credits scenes is the worst testament to Marvel’s post-credits problem. Morbius promised the arrival of a new Marvel Legend character, and, of course, the another of Spider-Man’s villains to the Venom universe. Following both Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Morbius is the third installment in Sony’s so-called Spider-Man Universe, thus far focusing on villains traditionally associated with Marvel’s web-slinger.
Superhero movie post-credits scenes have been a staple of the genre since Marvel’s MCU became the biggest franchise in movie-making. They had existed previously, of course, but with the release of Marvel Studios’ Iron Man in 2008, and the evergrowing success of the MCU, post-credit scenes begin to be utilized as universe-building techniques with greater and greater value. Since then, other Marvel franchises such as the X-Men franchise, as well as Sony’s earlier efforts with The Amazing Spider-Man franchise have employed this technique to set up future films in their respective franchises.
However, superhero post-credits scenes have gone too far. They are too high a currency in blockbuster film-makign and comic book movies more specifically. And as the multiple Marvel franchises and Warner Bros. DCEU have increased their use of post-credits, the problem of devaluing movies in the interest of a cheap but populist pay-off have got worse. It should come as no surprise that Morbius has two post-credit scenes that build to a future that is completely separate to the movie and immediately starts the audience looking ahead. And while there’s an excitement factor to that, it’s also a problem, because of the nature of how Sony have framed Morbius‘ post-credits scenes.
The MCU’s Post-Credits Problem Explained
The main criticism levelled at Marvel’s post-credits scenes is that they are only used to drive anticipation forward for the newest releases. While it’s undoubtedly effective, itcomes at a considerable cost to the movie attached to the stinger. Regardless of how that movie plays out, the post-credits scenes often tend to disregard it and solely focus on setting up the next installment featuring the characters of the film.Going to an even further extent, sometimes post-credit scenes may be used to set up a character or story thread that isn’t even a part of the film the scene is attached to. Eternals did it twice with the introductions of Blade and Harry Styles’ Eros, and No Way Home‘s MCU Venom tease undermined the ending that had happened mere minutes earlier.
While it would be wrong to say that Marvel Cinematic Universe movie post-credits scenes should be scrapped, there is clearly a problem with focusing too much on the future of a franchise at the cost of the film that comes before it. Oftentimes, post-credits scenes do have the intended effect and increase excitement based on huge character reveals or new story beats, but the culture around them has given rise to a situation where the post-credits themselves can end up being more hyped than their respective movies. Sadly, Morbius falls into this category.
Morbius’ Spoilers Reveal Ruined Its Credits Reveal
Morbius’ post-credit scenes are something of an anomaly in the wider world of superhero cinema. While they follow the convention of a big reveal, with Michael Keaton’s Vulture appearing and a set up for the Sinister Six movie, the fact that every important detail in the scenes was spoiled before the film’s release is on a new level. Granted, this has happened in a few specific examples before, such as with Marvel Studios Eternals in 2021, but it’s never been done by the studio as part of the marketing campaign. Morbius was not merely spoiled by a critic who got the see the film early or through leaks released online, but the film’s own director giving a Q & A about the scenes a week ahead of release.
As mentioned before, post-credits scenes do sometimes have the intended effect when done correctly, but their success somewhat relies on the magic of the exchange. And all of the potential magic of Morbius’ end-credit scenes was stripped away not only by the director but also by the very first trailer. Vulture only appears in Morbius’ credit scenes, which would typically be something held back for the release reveal. In this case, Sony chose to reveal his involvement as a more explicit link to Spider-Man’s movie success, which makes sense, but rather undermines the magic.
On top of that, in a Twitter interview with Cinemablend, Daniel Espinosa answered fans’ questions, seemingly without limits on what could be spoiled. He discussed how Vulture got to the Sony SpiderVerse universe, revealed that there’s a Spider-Man active in that same universe, and teased Sinister Six’s future. Hype-building aside, it is mystifying why Morbius‘ director would come out and spoiled the end-credits scene over a week before the film’s wide release and why the studio would seemingly sign off on it. Surely it would have been better to allow the audience to experience these things live?
Why Morbius Spoiled So Much Ahead Of Release
So why did Sony spoil so much of Morbius‘ valuable post-credits scenes before release? Morbius was delayed a massive six times before release, which could well have presented difficult marketing obstacles. Studios purposefully delay tangibly marketing a movie months ahead of release and Morbius‘ advertising campaign started well outside of that usual window. Espinosa’s interview was clearly designed as a hype building exercise to counter any stagnation, but it went too far.
Another reason behind these spoilers could well tie to the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home. That movie was heavily praised by fans and critics alike, also pulling in a major $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office. Sony’s insistence on spoiling the fact that a Spider-Man exists in the Morbius universe could have simply been the studio wanting to capitalize on the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home’s multiverse story. The existence of a separate Spider-Man to the MCU is major news and a good way to generate column inches for Morbius’ release, particularly when the answer could come from one of No Way Home‘s hugely popular Spider-Man returns.
It remains to be seen how all of the elements included in the post-credits scenes for Morbius will factor into the larger plan Sony has cooking up with their universe. What is inarguable is that Morbius‘ spoiler-happy approach and the reveal of the post-credits secrets prior to release was a misstep and one that no other films should adopt en masse.
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