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Who Is Man-Thing In Marvel's Werewolf By Night?

One of the highlights of Disney's D23 2022 was the trailer for "Werewolf by Night," the long-anticipated special scheduled to hit Disney+ on October 7, 2022, just in time for the spooky Halloween season. The special will serve as a homecoming (and live-action debut) for several Marvel horror characters, chief among them the titular Werewolf, Jack Russell (Gael García Bernal), and monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly).

If you're not a fan of Marvel Comics horror titles from the 1970s (and beyond), you might have been a little perplexed by one terrifying monster that makes a very quick appearance in the trailer, flashing his giant claws and his tentacled head. He looks like something out of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and his backstory is no less weird — as the creature itself is a shambling, conscience-less heap that appears to be anything but human. 

Before you write this off as a random jump scare, know that this is no random monster cooked up by one of Disney's overworked VFX artists. It is none other than the menacing Man-Thing, one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Universe, and an ominous figure whose arrival to the MCU is long overdue. 

And if you're at all familiar with Man-Thing's role in the comics, you already know that he could have a much more significant place in the future of the MCU than might be immediately apparent.

Man-Thing is a very important Marvel Comics character dating back to 1971

The shambling, remorseless creature known as the Man-Thing may seem like a typical monster-of-the-week, but in reality, he's a big deal. Furthermore, rather than being a villain, Man-Thing actually carried his own solo comic for years in the 1970s, in which writer Steve Gerber put his own unique spin on the character and turned him into a cult classic.

The origin of the Man-Thing is simple: a scientist by the name of Dr. Ted Sallis, working on a secret chemical experiment in the Florida Everglades (later retconned to be another attempt at replicating the infamous super-soldier serum), is pursued by bad guys seeking to steal the formula. The chase ends with Sallis crashing his car into a swamp, where mysterious forces combine with the chemicals he'd been working on to permanently transform Sallis into the bizarre entity known as the Man-Thing.

Man-Thing is a slow-moving creature with a penchant for thwarting various criminal schemes, despite the fact that he has very little if any conscious mind left to speak of. Gerber created the character's classic tagline "whoever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing's touch," which aptly sums up another of Man-Thing's abilities — to sense and feed off of fear and other emotions in nearby people. Good people don't tend to fear Man-Thing, as they sense the innate decency within him, but wrongdoers react with terror — and when they do so, his touch (quite literally) burns their flesh. 

Lest you think Man-Thing is but a mere swamp creature though, think again. He actually plays a shockingly prominent role in Marvel's Multiverse, because it turns out that the Everglades are the Nexus of All Realities — and Man-Thing is the guardian of that Nexus.

Man-Thing guards the Nexus of Reality

It's a no-brainer (so to speak) that the Man-Thing would be part of the "Werewolf by Night" cast of characters, being one of the most iconic monsters of the Marvel Universe. But the character could prove to be amazingly significant to the recently announced Multiverse Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given his role as Guardian of the Nexus (per Marvel.com). That means that, yes, in the Marvel Universe, all realities meet in the Florida Everglades, and Man-Thing is the one who protects this cosmic juncture from invaders. 

With MCU characters like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange having already gotten involved with various multiversal entanglements, "Secret Wars" is well on its way to fruition. Furthermore, the "Werewolf by Night" trailer indicates the involvement of the Time Variance Authority from "Loki" (now, presumably, working under Kang the Conqueror) further hinting that Man-Thing's extradimensional role will translate to his MCU incarnation. Really, with all this multiverse stuff happening, it just makes sense that Man-Thing would take up that mantle in the MCU, as well.

That's all speculation, though, and fans will have to wait until October 7 when "Werewolf by Night" hits Disney+ to find out exactly how Man-Thing fits into the MCU.