Who is Man-Thing? Werewolf by Night character explained

man-thing-werewolf-by-nightMarvel

Who is Man-Thing in Werewolf by Night? Here’s your guide to the new MCU character, and how he compares to the comic book version, as well as details on how the monster was brought to life.

Werewolf by Night debuts on Disney+ tomorrow, starring Gael Garcia Bernal as the title character, who when in human form, is known as Jack Russell.

The show premiered at Fantastic Fest in Texas, where we loved its combination of classic horror topes and modern humor and effects.

One of those very special effects is Man-Thing, a character plucked from the comics and brought to life onscreen by the brilliant people at KNB EFX Group. So here’s a brief history of the character, as well as details on his appearance in Werewolf by Night.

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Who is Man-Thing in the comics?

Man-Thing was created by writers Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Gerry Conway, and artist Gray Morrow. The character debuted in Savage Tales #1 in May 1971, though he was originally a biochemist called Ted Sallis.

While working on a project to recreate the Super-Soldier Serum responsible for turning Steve Rogers into Captain America, Ted realizes that it might fall into the wrong hands, so destroys the research, and injects himself with the last of the serum. Ted then crashes his car in a swamp, where the surroundings combine with the serum to turn him into Man-Thing.

According to Marvel.com, “transforming into Man-Thing altered Sallis in major ways. His body was changed from human to vegetable matter, making him essentially indestructible and malleable enough to slip through such objects as fences. However, his intelligence and capacity for language disappeared, leaving him a being of almost pure instinct.

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“While Man-Thing generally helps those on the side of good, fear provokes him, and those he touches while feeling that emotion are burned, sometimes whole – hence his tagline, ‘Whoever knows fear burns at the touch of the Man-Thing!'”

The Man-Thing movie

Yes, there was a Man-Thing movie, back in 2005. The film was directed by Brett Leonard, who is best-known for his 1990s tech thrillers The Lawnmower Man and Vitruosity.

Written by Hans Rodionoff, the plot loosely followed Steve Gerber’s acclaimed comic run, and revolved around a Louisiana sheriff discovering the creature while investigating a series of swamp-land murders.

Transformers star Rachel Stevens appeared, while former wrestler Conan Stevens played Man-Thing, but while the film was released theatrically in some international territories, it debuted on The Sci-Fi Channel in the US. Man-Thing currently holds a 17% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Who is Man-Thing in Werewolf by Night?

Beware: mild spoilers for Werewolf by Night ahead…

The plot of Werewolf by Night finds a cabal of monster hunters charged with the task of taking down a dangerous creature that carries a magical relic. Early in proceedings, we learn that the monster in question is Man-Thing.

In-keeping with the comics, he doesn’t speak, while this Man-Thing is also good, and has something of a history with Jack Russell/Werewolf by Night.

How Man-Thing was brought to life in Werewolf by Night

Following the screening at Fantastic Fest, director Michael Giacchino explained how Man-Thing was made in the movie, complementing the work of Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Farrell and KNB EFK Supervisor Carey Jones.

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“We had a physical representation of Man-Thing on-set,” Giacchino explained.

“It was a really beautifully sculpted animatronic that could moves its eyebrows and its head and all of those things and that was there mainly to be reference for us.

“We thought, if we can get away with it in some shots, great. But it was really a reference to check lighting, to check position, to check size and scale, to check all those things. And more importantly to have something for the actors to look at.

“I did not want somebody with a stick with a tennis ball on the end going, ‘Hey, look at this, that’s the monster.’ I felt that wasn’t the right thing to do for the actors, and I wanted some representation. So we had the animatronic there, and we also had a giant suit that was worn by Carey Jones of KNB make-up. Carey was the head of the make-up effects and KNB studios made everything including the werewolf.

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“So Man-Thing ended up being mostly digital. I think there’s one shot in there that is our hand; the thing that we made. But it was so cool seeing that on set – it really gave you a sense of the character and the size and all of that and it was invaluable to have. But Joe [Farrell] and his team brought it to life like gangbusters, and we’re just so thrilled with all of the work that he did.”

Werewolf by Night streams from tomorrow on Disney+ which you can subscribe to here, while you can read our review here.