The Animated Series’ Most Controversial & Iconic Villain Was Directly Inspired by the First Episode of Star Trek


Spider-Man: The Animated Series aired from 1994 to 1998 for five seasons and sixty-five episodes. Written by John Semper based on Marvel comics, the animated series saw various storylines spanned over multiple episodes. One of the most iconic storylines in the comic saw the ever controversial, Morbius, as an antagonist to the web-slinging hero.

Spider-Man (1994) | Marvel EntertainmentSpider-Man (1994) | Marvel Entertainment
Spider-Man (1994) | Marvel Entertainment

The “pseudo-vampire,” instead of biting necks and sucking blood, was given hand suckers. To maintain the network’s standards & practices, the show could bot show Morbius biting on necks or use the word blood. So he was shown to have 5 suckers in his hands, which he used to drain plasma. This was one of the most controversial plot points about the character.

Morbius’ Hand Suckers Were Inspired From a Star Trek Monster

Have you ever thought Marvel could take inspiration for Morbius from Star Trek of all things? In the first episode of season 1 of Star Trek, we saw the salt monster, officially termed as the M-113 creature. In The Man Trap episode, the “salt sucker” or the “salt vampire” served as the inspiration behind the hand suckers that were given to Morbius in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Talking to CBR, writer John Semper said:

“When a company wanted to spend millions of dollars on an animated show, they only want to hand it over to an established showrunner, and I had already run a couple shows before I ran Spider-Man. I already knew – I didn’t need the S&P to tell – I knew I wasn’t going to be able to have a vampire sucking blood. I didn’t even get an S&P note. I just knew I couldn’t have a vampire and blood.”

Morbius in Spider-Man: The Animated SeriesMorbius in Spider-Man: The Animated Series
Morbius in Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Further talking about his inspiration behind giving Morbius the hand suckers, he added:

“Morbius wasn’t really a vampire… He was a biological accident, so I just thought it’d be really cool to give him hand-suckers. [laughs] The inspiration was probably the salt monster from the first episode that ever aired of Star Trek, which I watched. I thought that was really creepy, so let’s just do that.”

Well… we don’t know if it was cool or not, but those hand suckers were definitely ab interesting addition to the character.

Morbius: From Animation to Live Action

jared leto morbiusjared leto morbius
Jared Leto in and as Morbius

The character of Morbius got a live-action adaptation in the 2022 movie Morbius. Played by Jared Leto, the movie went on to become a critical as well as box office disaster. With a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie managed to earn a meager $167.5 million against a budget of $75-83 million. It was the third attempt at bringing the character to the silver screen, with both previous attempts failing to make it happen.

The movie suffered because of a various reasons – the least of which was the COVID-19 pandemic. Lazy writing, uninspired performances, and no depth in the character, led the 2022 movie to ruins, which was the third project in the SSU – which until then had been doing faurly well with the Venom movies starring Tom Hardy. The SSU’s recent release, Madame Web, also could not manage to make a good impression on the critics or the audiences. Their next project , Kraven the Hunter, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, will hopefully have a better result.

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