Warning! This List Contains Major Spoilers For The MCU Halloween Special, Werewolf by Night!After being a mystery for so long, Werewolf by Night, the MCU’s first Halloween Special, is here, and it better not be the last. Directed by Michael Giacchino, the special rips open the door to the realm of weird and supernatural, building on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Moon Knight. From new monsters to dark and violent action, Werewolf by Night is an exciting and bold new endeavor for the franchise.
It gives a solid introduction to characters like Werewolf by Night, Elsa Bloodstone, and Man-Thing, and teases the way for other supernatural characters. There’s plenty to latch on to for both dedicated comics readers and the most casual of fans. On the surface, it is stylized and rich with fun Easter eggs, but by delving deeper into details, there are even more exciting and interesting things to celebrate.
Something Truly Special
When the first trailer was shown at D23, garnering praise from fans on Twitter, viewers were treated to a new Special Presentation montage. This, of course, returned for the final product, and it will be back soon as this December comes The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Signifying these as different from the other movies and TV shows means that this is just the start of specials in the MCU.
Even if it’s just more Halloween Specials, there are plenty of other characters who’d do well with their own like Man-Thing, Manphibian, and/or Vampire by Night. However, they could also take a page out of DC Comic’s book, which recently announced a Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day special, which could be a fun way to give the MCU it’s first true romantic comedy.
Giacchino’s At It Again
Michael Giacchino actually did double duty for Werewolf by Night as he not only directed the special but also composed the score. Many were skeptical about Giacchino sitting in the director’s chair since he hadn’t done much directing aside from some shorts. However, they clearly made the right decision as he was able to make something haunting while still whimsical, and the music played a big part in that.
Giacchino was also responsible for composing the new fanfare for the Marvel Special Presentation montage. This is on top of creating the original fanfare that plays during the opening sequence before every movie and TV show – the same sequence he changed to the minor key and mixed with ominous chanting and classic horror sound effects to set Werewolf by Night apart from the pack.
The Name’s Ted
While Jack Russell, a.k.a. Werewolf by Night, and Elsa Bloodstone were the central protagonists, it was really Man-Thing who stole the show. The impeccable and detailed design alone would have made him a great addition, but his expressive eyes and the fact that he goes by Ted just seal the deal. Man-Thing is here to stay, and beyond a Halloween Special, he could even helm his own Disney+ show.
The best thing about Ted Sallis, a.k.a. Man-Thing, is that his true identity is noted in the subtitles. Until his identity is revealed, he is denoted as the monster, but after that, all the sound effects are described using the name Ted. That’s only something those who prefer subtitles might notice, but it’s a compelling, hidden detail. Even more, Man-Thing was portrayed primarily by Carey Jones, who’s also part of the Star Wars universe, having played Black Krrsantan in The Book of Boba Fett.
Ulysses Bloodstone’s Last Days
Werewolf by Night quickly establishes the premise of having monster hunters compete for the mystical Bloodstone by detailing its history and that of the Bloodstone family. There’s even more information to download for those interested in translating it in Latin throughout this sequence and comparing it to Ulysses’ comic book origins. Ulysses Bloodstone was actually a caveman granted nigh-immortality from the Bloodstone – changed from the Bloodgem in the comics like the Infinity Gems were.
He is defined as the seventh son, still very old, but he is not the same person who originally found the Bloodstone. Interestingly, his death is also described as happening on a full moon, which was also missing from the moon phases throughout the sequence’s illustrations. Perhaps that means that he met his end – nearly a month earlier in the special – to another werewolf.
The Other Monsters
It’s not hard to miss all the different monsters that met their end at Ulysses’ hand. From those he mounted on his wall to those simply shown in illustrations, there are several recognizable figures. The first would be a vampire, though in an even more demonic form than seen in Morbius, but with Blade coming, this is a subtle way to tease them. Others include a minotaur, a siren, and two creatures similar to Manphibian and Chernobog the Black.
The illustrations show a Bloodstone fighting against what looks like the Wendigo, a monstrous enemy of the Hulk and Wolverine, and Sasquatch. Interestingly, Sasquatch in the comics is a hero and member of Alpha Flight, the Canadian contemporary of the Avengers. Walter Langkowski wished to make himself a Hulk, but his experiment led him to become a hairy, orange behemoth. That Sasquatch and the one in Werewolf by Night are seemingly separate entities, but it’s an interesting way to tease another great monster for the MCU.
Gorr The God Butcher?
One thing most fans probably weren’t expecting when they sat down for Werewolf by Night was a reference to Thor: Love and Thunder. Nevertheless, one of the wall paintings seen early on is a direct draw from the comics, featuring Gorr the God Butcher. This would be an image of Thor finally felling the murderous villain, but in Werewolf by Night, it’s being done by a monster hunter on Earth.
This is likely nothing more than a fun Easter egg to a great single image from the comics, but it begs the question of what creature this was. It might be someone of Gorr’s species who met an unfortunate end on Earth, although neither he nor Love had the tentacle-like tendrils shown. Whatever the case, it’s a nice way to tie in Werewolf by Night with the rest of the MCU.
Who’s In The Tombs
One thing the MCU will never pass up on is the opportunity to reference certain comic issues and creators through signs and posts. Werewolf by Night was even referenced periodically throughout Moon Knight with there even being a QR code to Moon Knight’s debut in a Werewolf by Night comic. But in the special, they reserve these references to the moment when Jack and Elsa are stuck in the tombs.
Each of the graves specifically references people crucial to the creation of Werewolf By Night. Both his and Man-Thing’s creators, Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog, respectively, are given a casket under the name Conway Ploog. Executive producer Brian Gay is also given one, along with props master David Long and art director Brandon Kleyla.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Werewolf by Night is a welcome artistic odyssey for MCU fans, not solely that it’s in black and white. That could simply be looked at as a stylistic choice to pay homage to old Hollywood and movies like The Wolf Man. However, the sequence at the close of color bleeding out of the Bloodstone now that Elsa’s in control is incredibly meaningful. It could be seen that while her family only saw things as good and evil, she could see all the color and nuance between the two.
This is all while “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz plays, literally playing out like how that film transformed from a sepia tone to technicolor. The way Bloodstone resonates red is quite similar to the sequence in the Shadow Realm in Thor: Love and Thunder when the weapons still create color. The Bloodstone is a worthy addition to the MCU’s armory of weapons, but an interesting theory posits that it might be connected to red-colored chaos magic and the Scarlet Witch.
Another way that Werewolf by Night was given an archaic aesthetic beyond the black and white coloring was the use of “cigarette burns” in the upper-right corner of the screen. This is an old-school film technique that was used to signal when there is a change in reels. While they’re particularly difficult to see in Werewolf by Night, they mark a major scene change.
On top of that, they also designated the year of copyright in Roman numerals instead of regular numbers as was done in the 1930s and 40s. These are subtle ways of playing into the old Hollywood feeling for Werewolf by Night and prove how much special care and attention to detail was put into the special.
For those who had seen the trailer, they knew that the Time Variance Authority would feature in Werewolf by Night, and in a way, they did. They seemed to act like Bloodstone’s security officers and were entirely anachronistic compared to their surroundings. They used weapons similar to those seen in Loki, but they clearly didn’t have the same effect. This begs whether they are actually the TVA or were intended to elicit a sense of strange familiarity for the fans in a haunting new world.
However, digging beneath the surface could reveal hidden possibilities. The lack of true links to the rest of the MCU could mean that Werewolf by Night might actually be taking place in a different universe than Earth-616, so these worlds will eventually merge in Avengers: Secret Wars. Man-Thing is importantly connected to the multiverse, so TVA’s appearance could end up meaning that these characters play a role in the upcoming second season of Loki, too.
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