On September 10, 2022, Marvel Studios released an official trailer for their first Halloween-themed featurette, Werewolf By Night. This exclusive Disney Plus release is the first under the MCU’s Special Presentations banner. The most obvious and attention-grabbing detail that anyone will notice from watching this trailer is that this film is going to be much more of a unique and nuanced approach than anything we’ve ever seen before from Marvel Studios.
Besides delivering on a number of haunting scenes that all revolve around our main character, the aforementioned Werewolf By Night, playing cat and mouse with other hired hunters (and the TVA) at Bloodstone Castle, there is also an engulfing black and white overcast to compliment the already tense atmosphere. This color-adjusted setting easily leans the entirety of the movie to a more noir style that reminds viewers of the film from yesteryear.
As much as this chaotic type of suspense is a welcoming spin away from the tried and true recipe of MCU movies, fans seem to be roaring out in delight at the small glimpse of a grotesque yet formidable Marvel character’s appearance in the trailer, Man-Thing.
From the Moss to the Movies
Even though it has yet to be determined how important Man-Thing’s role is Werewolf By Night actually, just knowing that the hideous swamp hero is finally being recognized by the Marvel Cinematic Universe is enough to put comic book fans on the edge of their seats in anticipation. Breakdown and explanation videos instantly stormed the web, making Man-Thing seemingly one of the most important parts of that preview and, by some justification, the Werewolf By Night feature itself.
Whether Marvel Studios was prepared for this kind of overwhelming positive reaction or not (given his reveal was no more than a three-second camera shot), one has to wonder if the plant-made sentient being could actually hold enough momentum going forward to warrant any kind of big-budget solo film. One could easily look towards similar characters who took the leap from comic to the live-action medium with ease (shame on DC Universe for canceling Swamp Thing prematurely), but there is certainly so much more to Man-Thing that will help show that he can certainly handle a big screen debut.
Seeing that the creature is akin to that of a monster with thin skeletal hands, small tree roots twisting up and down his mossy green skin, and a face similar to that of the mythical creature Cthulhu, it should come as no surprise that Man-Thing is usually depicted with no more than a basic intellect and a lacking desire towards any human contact.
While these character traits are detrimental to a superhero makeup, these factors could also turn out to be distinctive stepping stones towards the character’s overall emotional arc on the big screen. Unlike Marvel characters who are outwardly vocal already, such as Shang-Chi or Doctor Strange, movie-goers would be shown a unique perspective where the hero-in-making would rather shun away from helping others at first and only, over time, learn how to communicate in effective ways.
The Many Adventures of Man-Thing
Do not be fooled into thinking that just because Man-Thing is missing a cape around his neck and doesn’t necessarily like being social that he cannot accomplish any heroic tasks that might come his way. During his early accolades, he went from saving Ka-Zar the Savage, who was captured by AIM agents, to using the magical energies of the swamp from which he was created to defeat Thog, a Nether-Spawn. This flying fiend soon became Man-Thing’s first arch nemesis and would make a perfect first villain in a debut film.
The superhero from the swamp soon found himself aligned with Ghost Rider, Morbius, and the Werewolf By Night in a team called The Legion of Monsters. The four of them took down Starseed, a golden god from another world who caused many natural disasters by crashing an enormous mountain into California. Considering all four characters in this team have been on-screen already, Man-Thing’s solo arrival could easily be in conjunction with the other three uniting. That dream team would have no problem getting people’s attention.
Besides befriending Howard The Duck (think of Rocket Racoon and Groot’s chemistry), he also took up the fight against both Dormammu and Mr. Termineus on different occasions in the golden era.
The character of Man-Thing has not become a remnant of the past either. A solo debut could revolve around recent happenings involving him too. Regarding the impending Thunderbolts movie, it should be noted that Man-Thing was naturally a part of that antihero team at one point in time. Helping to fend off Chicago from an invasion of flying monsters, Man-Thing absorbed all the hellish monstrosities and grew to the size of Godzilla in the process.
During Marvel’s Fear Itself event, Man-Thing went into an unstoppable rampage when his own connection to the Nexus of All Realities was twisted by Cul Borson, better known as The Serpent. A little while later, he was captured by SHIELD, put into a task force called The Howling Commandos, and forced to face a fellow plant-based abomination. After all those fiascos, he was thrown into a competition to see who could be the next host for the Phoenix Force, where he had to fight the Black Panther in an opening bout.
There are just so many possibilities to choose from. Any of these different adventures could quickly write the solo film for Man-Thing. It could be as lighthearted as Guardians of the Galaxyas raunchy as Deadpoolor as serious as The Eternals was. But for now, fans are enthralled enough already just to see Man-Thing make his supporting debut in Werewolf By Nightwhich premieres on October 7, 2022.