Full spoilers for Werewolf by Night from Marvel Studios follow.
Werewolf by Night has arrived on Disney Plus – but the lycanthrope superhero isn’t the only new supernatural creature to make its Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debut in the TV special.
The MCU Phase 4 project introduces us to several new and potentially important characters, including Elsa Bloodstone. However, Elsa, Jack Russell (aka Werewolf at Night) and company are overshadowed by the emergence of another superpowered being in Marvel’s first special presentation: Man-Thing.
Who is the Man-Thing? What are his skills? And why might Man-Thing be as important to the MCU’s Multiverse Saga as Kang the Conqueror, Doctor Strange 2’s America Chavez, Wanda Maximoff, The Watcher, and the trickster god Loki?
Below, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the fan-favorite character known as Man-Thing. This includes his origin story in the Marvel comics, all the superpowers at his disposal, how he holds another key to the MCU’s multiverse where he might emerge next, and much more. Fasten your seat belt and let’s get started.
Man-Thing Explained: Marvel Comics Origins
Created by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway and Gary Morrow, Man-Thing made his comic book debut in Savages Tales #1 May 1971.
Real name Theodore ‘Ted’ Sallis, Man-Thing was a biochemist who worked in the Everglades as part of a project dubbed Gladiator. Alongside his fellow researchers, Sallis worked on a project to recreate the super-soldering serum – yes, that stuff that made Captain America. Again. When will people learn?
Either way, the villainous organization known as AIM — the same as in Marvel’s Avengers video game — tried to steal Sallis’ research so they could use it for nefarious means. Plotting with Sallis’ bitter wife Ellen Brandt, who Sallis was neglecting due to her studies, AIM, well, intended to rob Sallis of his job, with Ellen leading Ted into an ambush where armed AIM personnel would seek his research at gunpoint. of a weapon.
What they didn’t realize, however, was that Sallis had already invented a formula, dubbed SO-2, and he planned to test the first vial on a guinea pig. To keep someone from stealing his idea, Sallis burned his research notes after memorizing the formula.
After being ambushed, Sallis managed to escape. Fearing for his life, he injected himself with the serum, only for the resulting transformation to cause him to crash his car into the Everglades. Here, a combination of the SO-2 serum, mystical swamp energy and a regeneration serum developed by Doctor Curt Connors – he of Spider-Man fame – resulted in Sallis transforming into the Cthulhu-style, overgrown creature known as Man. -Thing.
Man-Thing explained: what superpowers does he possess?
A simpler answer would be to list the Man-Thing skills no have.
Man-Thing possesses his typical superpowers such as superhuman strength, durability, stamina, and regeneration. However, based on Man-Thing’s composition, the latter two are based on chlorokinetics, a plant-based regenerative factor. He is also able to turn his body into a fluid, allowing him to pass through small spaces – although the smaller the gap, the longer it takes his body to reorganize itself. He is also immune to most diseases and physical weapons thanks to the vegetative matter that composes him. Due to his affiliation with plant life, Man-Thing is also able to manipulate the vegetation around him.
The Man-Thing’s most famous abilities, however, are his empathetic nature and the power to traverse the Marvel multiverse.
The first of these is how matter is organized in the Man-Thing’s body. Due to his physical makeup, Man-Thing’s brain, sensory organs, and nervous system are scattered randomly throughout his body. This reorganization means he cannot communicate properly, but he is still a sentient being. Along with the mystical and psychic forces that flow through him, the Man-Thing is able to perceive emotions in a heightened state compared to humans.
Positive emotions arouse curiosity in the Man-Thing and often make him observe humans from a distance. However, if he is surrounded by someone who exhibits negative emotions – usually fear, but others such as anger also work – the Man-Thing has a tendency to lash out violently. This prompts Man-Thing to secrete a highly concentrated form of acid, which burns humans and can turn them to ash in seconds. We get a glimpse of this power being used on Ursula Bloodstone and Jovan in Werewolf by Night. Incidentally, Man-Thing is unharmed by the acid he secretes thanks to a frothy mucus substance that neutralizes the corrosive fluid.
Lastly, the mystical part of the Everglades that helped give birth to Man-Thing also grants him the ability to travel interdimensionally. Man-Thing can open portals to other realities – more on how this affects the MCU later – and interact with other multiversal creatures in parallel dimensions. He is currently also the guardian of the Nexus of All Realities in the Marvel comics, which is the interdimensional portal to all other realms of the Marvel multiverse.
We’ve already seen the Nexus of All Realities in the MCU animated series What If…?. The Nexus has also been referenced in other MCU projects, including Thor: The Dark World and Loki season 1. And speaking of the MCU…
Man-Thing explained: Making his MCU debut in Werewolf by Night
If you’ve watched Werewolf by Night – why wouldn’t you if you’re reading this? – you’ll know Man-Thing makes his MCU debut here.
About 20 minutes later, Gael García Bernal’s Jack Russell leans against the plant-based wall of the Bloodstone Mansion’s labyrinth, only to be grabbed by a monstrous being. Russell, however, is not afraid of this creature, who turns out to be the Man-Thing. In fact, Russell joined the monster hunting group to rescue Man thing. He was captured and imprisoned by Ursula Bloodstone in order to see which monster hunter would successfully kill him and retrieve the monster-killing magic item known as bloodstone.
Unfortunately, the Man-Thing cannot fight those who hunt him. With the bloodstone attached to his body, he is weakened and cannot use any of his abilities. However, Russell, who teams up with Elsa Bloodstone, manages to remove his friend’s bloodstone, blow a hole in a wall of the Bloodstone Mansion grounds, and help the Man-Thing to escape.
This isn’t the last time we see the Man-Thing. He later appears to save Elsa from Ursula by killing Elsa’s stepmother with the same corrosive acid he used on Jovan earlier. With Elsa now the rightful owner of her family heirloom, Man-Thing sets out to find Russell who, after being turned into his wild alter-ego and killing Ursula’s guards, has fled into the night. The final scene of the special is reserved for a heartwarming reunion between Russell and Man-Thing, who share a joke and discuss where to go next.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Man-Thing has appeared in a live-action capacity. The character received an independent, non-MCU film in mid-2005, which premiered on the Sci Fi channel in the US and earned a paltry $1 million with a small international theatrical release.
Man-Thing explained: what role could he play in the MCU’s Multiverse Saga?
With Marvel Phase 4, Marvel Phase 5, and Marvel Phase 6 all exploring (or ready to explore) the multiverse, Man-Thing could be an incredibly important character in the MCU.
His ability to open portals to other dimensions – like America Chavez – makes him one of the few superheroes who can cross the multiverse. With Kang the Conqueror, another time-traveling individual who can do the same, installed as the main antagonist of the Multiverse Saga, the MCU’s Earthbound heroes will need all the multiversal help they can get if they want to defeat Kang. Man-Thing, then, would be a very useful ally to have.
So where could he come next? That’s hard to say. The Marvel Phase 5 slate is pretty much locked down at this point. Ant-Man 3, What If…? Loki Season 2 and Season 2 aside, it doesn’t look like any Phase 5 movie or MCU Disney Plus show will examine the multiverse in great detail. Well, on the surface anyway. There’s always the possibility that other projects contain multiversal elements, but we don’t know which ones might.
What about Phase 6 then? That seems more likely, with Deadpool 3, Fantastic Four, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars all positioned as multiversal superhero movies. Maybe Man-Thing will appear in one of these movies? Otherwise, he could appear in a Phase 6 Disney Plus series or another TV special.
Simply put, we shouldn’t discount Man-Thing appearing in a future Marvel Studios production. In the end, MCU President Kevin Feige teased that Werewolf by Night “will become quite important for the future of the MCU”. Reading between the lines, Man-Thing has to be part of the conversation. He’s too important, from a multiverse perspective, not to be. Hopefully, then, we’ll see the lovable but dangerous Man-Thing in the MCU again.
For more Marvel-based content, check out our Marvel movies in the order hub. Alternatively, read everything worth knowing about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, or find out how we’ve ranked every MCU movie to date.