Ghana: Marvel’s Man-Thing Explained – Who is Werewolf By Night’s other monster?
Full spoilers follow for Marvel Studios’ Werewolf by Night.
Werewolf by Night has made its way onto Disney Plus – but the lycanthrope superhero isn’t the only new supernatural creature making its Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debut in the TV special.
The MCU Phase 4 project introduces us to a number of new and potentially important characters, including Elsa Bloodstone. However, Elsa, Jack Russell (aka the titular Werewolf of Night), and company are overshadowed by the emergence of another superpowered being in Marvel’s first special: Man-Thing.
Who is Man-Thing? What are its abilities? And why might the Man-Thing be as important to the MCU’s multiverse saga as Kang the Conqueror, America Chavez from Doctor Strange 2, Wanda Maximoff, The Watcher, and trickster god Loki?
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the fan-favorite character known as the 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 could appear next, and more. Buckle up 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 May 1971 in Savages Tales #1.
Real name Theodore ‘Ted’ Sallis, Man-Thing was a biochemist who worked in the Everglades on a project called Gladiator. Alongside her fellow researchers, Sallis worked on a project to recreate the super-welding serum — yes, that stuff that made Captain America. Still. When will people learn?
Either way, the evil organization known as AIM – the same one in the Marvel’s Avengers video game – tried to steal Sallis’ research so they could use it for nefarious purposes. Conspiring with Sallis’ bitter wife, Ellen Brandt, whom Sallis had neglected due to her studies, AIM aimed to deprive Sallis of his job, with Ellen leading Ted into an ambush where AIM’s armed personnel would procure his research under the threat of a weapon.
What they didn’t realize, however, was that Sallis had already concocted a formula, dubbed SO-2, and he planned to test the first vial on a test subject. To prevent theft of 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, but the resulting transformation caused him to crash his car in the Everglades. Here, a combination of the SO-2 serum, mystical swamp energy, and a regeneration serum developed by Doctor Curt Connors – him of Spider-Man fame – turned Sallis into a vegetated creature of Cthulhu style known as Man. -Thing.
Man-Thing explained: what superpowers does he possess?
A simpler answer would be to list the abilities Man-Thing doesn’t have.
Man-Thing has your typical superpowers, such as superhuman strength, durability, stamina, and regeneration. However, based on the composition of Man-Thing, the latter two are based on Chlorokinetics, a plant-based regenerative factor. He is also able to turn his body into fluid, allowing him to move through small gaps – although, the smaller the gap, the longer it takes for his body to reorganize. It is also immune to most diseases and physical weapons thanks to the plant matter it is made of. Due to his affiliation with plant life, Man-Thing is also able to manipulate the vegetation around him.
Man-Thing’s most famous abilities, however, are his empathetic nature and the power to traverse the Marvel Multiverse.
The first of these concerns the way matter is organized in Man-Thing’s body. Due to his physical build, Man-Thing’s brain, sense organs, and nervous system are scattered randomly throughout his body. This reorganization means he cannot communicate properly, but he is still a sentient being. Coupled with the mystical and psychic forces flowing through him, Man-Thing is able to perceive emotions at a heightened state compared to humans.
Positive emotions arouse the Man-Thing’s curiosity and usually cause him to observe humans from a distance. However, if engaged by someone who exhibits negative emotions – usually fear, but others, like anger, also work – Man-Thing tends to lash out violently. This leads 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 unscathed from the acid he secretes thanks to a foamy mucus substance that neutralizes the corrosive fluid.
Finally, the mystical part of the Everglades that contributed to the birth of Man-Thing also grants him the ability to travel interdimensionally. Man-Thing can open portals to other realities – more on how that affects the MCU later – and interact with other multiversal creatures in parallel dimensions. Currently, he is also the guardian of the Nexus of All Realities in the Marvel comics, which is the interdimensional gateway to all other realms of the Marvel Multiverse.
We’ve seen the Nexus of All Realities before 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 seen Werewolf by Night, why wouldn’t you have seen it if you’re reading this? – you’ll know that Man-Thing makes his MCU debut here.
About 20 minutes later, Gael García Bernal’s Jack Russell leans against the plant wall of Bloodstone Manor’s maze, only to be grabbed by a monstrous being. Russell, however, is unafraid of this creature, which turns out to be Man-Thing. In fact, Russell joined the monster-hunting party to rescue Man-Thing. He was captured and imprisoned by Ursula Bloodstone in an effort to see which monster hunter would manage to kill him and retrieve the magic monster-slaying item known as the Bloodstone.
Unfortunately, Man-Thing cannot hold his own against 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 Bloodstone Manor’s grounds, and help Man-Thing escape.
This isn’t the last we see of Man-Thing. He later shows up to save Elsa from Ursula, 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 goes in search of Russell who, after being transformed into his savage alter ego and killing Ursula’s guards, 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 their next destination.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time the Man-Thing has appeared in a live action capacity. The character received a non-MCU standalone movie in mid-2005, which premiered on the Sci Fi Channel in the United States and grossed a meager $1 million from a small international theatrical release.
Man-Thing Explained: What Role Could He Have In The MCU’s Multiverse Saga?
With Marvel Phase 4, Marvel Phase 5, and Marvel Phase 6 exploring (or set 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 able to cross the multiverse. With Kang the Conqueror, another time-traveling individual who can do the same, set up as the main antagonist of the multiverse saga, the MCU’s earthly heroes will need all the multiversal help they can get. they want to defeat Kang. Man-Thing would therefore be a very useful ally to have.
So where could it pop up next? It’s hard to say. Marvel’s Phase 5 slate is pretty much locked at this point. Ant-Man 3, what if…? Season 2 and Loki Season 2 aside, it doesn’t look like the Phase 5 movies or MCU Disney Plus shows will examine the Multiverse in any detail. Well, on the surface anyway. There’s always the possibility that other projects may contain multiversal elements, but we don’t know which ones might.
And 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? If not, it could feature in a Phase 6 Disney Plus series or other special.
Simply put, we shouldn’t ignore the appearance of the Man-Thing in a future Marvel Studios production. After all, MCU President Kevin Feige has announced that Werewolf by Night will “eventually become quite important to the future of the MCU.” Reading between the lines, Man-Thing should be part of the conversation. He’s too important, from a multiverse perspective, not to be. So hopefully we’ll see the adorable but dangerous Man-Thing back in the MCU.
For more Marvel-based content, check out our Marvel Movies in Command Center. Otherwise, read everything to know about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, or find out how we’ve ranked every MCU movie to date.