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Everybody’s Freaking Out About: Morbius in the MCU, that Flash bombshell, and Smash's new DLC

Everybody's Mad About January 16, 2020

Welcome to Everybody's Freaking Out About... Since everything these days is either a spin-off or a reboot, we thought we'd do the same with our What's Everybody Mad About This Week?! series. We're here to give you a look at all the things fans were freaking out about over the past week. Strap in!

We're digging into the things that really stuck in fandom's collective craw — the things that had fans all-caps-key-smashing in anger, joy, excitement, or some combination of those things. There were probably tears. No, scratch that, there were definitely tears.

This week, honorable mention goes to the Final Fantasy VII remake being delayed… Longtime fans weren’t so much surprised as they were disappointed, though, so we’ve got bigger fish to fry. Instead, we'll be digging into everything people are saying about Joker's 2020 Academy Awards nominations (it's a lot), that big cameo in the new Morbius trailer, the other big cameo of the week — this time in the Arrowverse's Crisis on Infinite Earths finale — and, finally, Nintendo's latest addition to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Joaquin Phoenix Joker

Joker fetches 11 (11!) Oscar nominations…

The 92nd Academy Awards rolled into town on Monday morning. Leading the parade? Joker.

[Pause for dramatic effect.]

That's right, folks. Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, is nominated for 11 Oscars. And it's not just the total (the most for any comic book-adjacent movie ever) that’s taken everybody by surprise, but the prestige of the nominations themselves. Joker is nominated for, amongst others, Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, all of which are arguably the most coveted awards in Hollywood.

No, it's not unusual for genre movies to garner Oscar nominations, but those nominations are usually in the below the lines categories, meaning various behind-the-scenes, visual, and audio noms. For example, per the norm, Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker both have Best Visual Effects nominations — which… y'know… are wholly expected.

Black Panther snagged a Best Picture nomination last year, so Joker isn't the first comic book-inspired movie to be nominated for Best Picture, nor will it (hopefully) be the last (despite what Martin Scorsese thinks). But Joker’s sheer nomination domination is raising a lot of questions Black Panther didn’t.

Writer Mark Harris summed up one side’s take pretty succinctly in an op-ed for Vanity Fair: "Three of the four most-nominated movies — The Irishman, Joker, and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood — are stories about white men who feel culturally imperiled. The fourth, 1917, is about white men who are literally imperiled."

This is, essentially, the same argument that's plagued Joker since it was first announced. Why do we need a movie about a disenfranchised white dude who goes on a killing spree in order to take revenge for perceived slights? The fervor around such questions dominated the media cycle around Joker when it premiered in October 2019. Despite the contentious press — or, perhaps, because of it — Joker proved a box office smash, raking in over $1 billion worldwide (the first R-rated movie to ever do so).

In the end, Joker's sheer number of nominations also raises questions about the future of comic book-centric movies. While Joker's creators were insistent about how divorced the movie was from the titular character's origins as Batman’s greatest villain, it's impossible to truly separate the baddie from the book. Even the most non-comics-savvy viewers are likely aware of the Clown Prince of Crime, especially in regards to the Oscars, as Heath Ledger famously won a posthumous Best Supporting Actor award for his turn as the Joker in 2008's The Dark Knight.

So, with all that in mind, fans and dissenters alike had plenty to say about Joker's nominations. We will likely cover this debate more down the line. For now, though, we're moving on...

Michael Keaton in the Morbius trailer...

Also on Monday, we got a first official look at Morbius via an unexpected trailer drop. Folks were surprised, to say the least. We got bats. We got blood. We got Jared Harris. We got Matt Smith as Hunger. And, oh, yeah, we got Jared Leto as Morbius, the Living Vampire.

I'll be honest: I totally forgot they were making a Morbius movie. So I was definitely not expecting to wake up and look at Jared Leto's face first thing on a Monday morning. Life catches you off guard sometimes.

The mere existence of said Morbius trailer, though, pales in comparison to the internet’s reaction to a certain cameo at the end. That cameo would be the appearance of Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes, aka The Vulture, whom we haven't seen since he was imprisoned at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

This is wild on more than one level, y'all.

So. The Vulture will play a part in Morbius. How large a part is yet unknown — who's to say we didn’t just see the entire extent of his role in the movie? — but Vulture's appearance is significant for two reasons.

One, this might indicate that Morbius, the Living Vampire is, in fact, a part of the MCU. That's a big deal. (More on the legal questions about all that in a moment.)

And two, if Morbius is, in fact, part of the MCU, then Vulture and Morbius' coexistence (as well as Venom's in the Sony Marvel universe and Mysterio in the MCU) seems to potentially indicate the future creation of the Sinister Six. In Marvel's comics, the Sinister Six are, yes, six villains who also happen to be major baddies in Spider-Man's rogues' gallery. The makeup of those six villains has changed throughout time, but Mysterio, Vulture, Morbius, and Venom have all been associated with the group at one point or another.

As for the legal mumbo-jumbo of all these crossovers, things get a little complicated when different Marvel characters play in the same sandbox. We saw the manifestation of this in August 2019 when news broke that Sony and Marvel Studios (Spider-Man's corporate co-parents) couldn't agree on what to do with Tom Holland's webslinger. Sony threatened to pull the character from the Marvel Studios-run MCU, prompting panic from fans worldwide.

Of course, Sony and Marvel's various millionaire execs eventually made nice and returned Spidey to his spot amongst the Avengers, but this new Sony/Marvel Studios crossover in the Morbius trailer raises some new questions about that Spidey kerfuffle.

If Morbius (a Sony-owned character, much like 2018's eponymous Venom) exists in the same universe as an MCU character such as Vulture (owned by Marvel Studios, aka Disney), then this might be confirmation of even more corporate crossover in the future.

Even more potential crossover confirmation comes from a brief shot in the trailer, too. (People were excited about this one.) As Leto's titular character is walking down the street, we can see some graffiti of Spider-Man on the wall, but it's painted over with "MURDERER," indicating that Spider-Man exists in the same universe as Morbius and that the world has, in fact, turned against Spidey post-Mysterio's trick at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home.

So much to unpack. And so much more time to go before we get any confirmation. Hang in there, guys.

Ezra Miller's cameo in The CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths…

The CW's Arrowverse has been leading up to this moment for years — and now it's over, but the implications are truly massive.

Crisis on Infinite Earths, the latest crossover between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman, isn't the first time these DC heroes have come together to save the Multiverse, but it is the first time audiences will be seeing any truly enormous, long-lasting consequences. Most significantly, all these heroes now exist on the same Earth, which could make these kinds of crossovers more than just a once-a-year deal.

That's all very exciting. Incredibly exciting. Monumentally exciting. But the moment in the Crisis on Infinite Earths finale episode, which aired on Tuesday night, that had everyone talking was a minute-long interaction between Grant Gustin's Arrowverse staple The Flash and… Ezra Miller's The Flash from 2017's Justice League.


Fans freaked out. Ezra Miller freaked out. The Arrowverse cast freaked out. Apparently Gustin was the only cast member who knew about the cameo — which is huge.

Aside from the obvious (it's really freakin' cool to see a DCEU character in the Arrowverse), this also confirms that the DCEU and the Arrowverse exist in the same Multiverse. They are alternate realities.

The only way the Arrowverse could top this is if Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman showed up in a Supergirl episode. I'm waiting!

Smash Bros. DLC Byleth

And the new Smash Bros. DLC is…

Fans geared up Thursday morning for the newest addition to Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as the fifth add-on fighter that was promised to take the world by storm.

What folks got was… uh… another… Fire Emblem character. Byleth of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, to be exact. The reactions were mixed, to say the least.

Not everyone was mad about it, including voice actor Zach Aguilar, who was psyched to finally be able to share the announcement on Twitter after the character was made available. And fans who love Three Houses were especially happy! That the character is available to play as either male or female was a really big plus for many!

Others weren't impressed. Like, at all.

The disappointment was mostly due to there already being plenty of sword-wielding fighters from the Fire Emblem games in Smash Bros., though there were also some playability concerns.

It's a fan thing
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