Werewolf by Night: What director Michael Giacchino changed from the comics


Werewolf by Night is a new Marvel mini-movie based on the classic horror comic. But much has changed as the character make the transition from page to screen, as director Michael Giacchino explains…

Werewolf by Night premiered at Fantastic Fest in Texas this week, and after the film played, director Michael Giacchino appeared via video link to answer questions about the updates he made while adapting the source material.

Jack Russell – aka the Werewolf by Night character – first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #2 in 1972, and was the brainchild of Roy Thomas, Jeanie Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Michael Ploog.

Actor Gael Garcia Bernal plays an older, Mexican version of the character in the film, and Giacchino told the Austin audience exactly why writers Heather Quinn and Peter Cameron made that change.

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Why the werewolf’s age and nationality were changed

“I loved the comic book as a kid, I still have as lot of them that I bought when I was young,” Giacchino said. “The main difference is Jack Russell in that comic run was an 18-year-old kid from Malibu; really rich, had tonnes of money.

“He would always seem to forget that there was a full moon that night, and he’d be like ‘Oh man, it’s full moon tonight and I’m out – what am I doing?’ So I thought even in the ‘70s they had almanacs so you could remember!

“I wanted someone in this role that felt like they had lived a life. I loved the idea that this character has been around a long time.”

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So for those reasons, Gael Garcia Bernal was the actor he had in mind from the start, meaning the character was always going to be older, and Mexican.

Why Werewolf by Night’s name stayed the same

However, while Jack Russell is very much not a Mexican name, the filmmakers decided to keep it.

Giacchino explains: “Gael and I would have these discussions about the name, and I asked him how he felt about that name, and he said ‘This is just one of many names I’ve had over the many, many years I’ve been alive.’ You could imagine someone who has been moving from city to city, and from place to place.

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“So making these small adjustments – well actually that was a pretty big adjustment – felt right to me to bring it into the modern age. And Marvel was really fantastic and supportive of all of those changes as well.”

Werewolf by Night hits Disney+ on October 7, while you can read our Fantastic Fest review of the film here.