Filmmaker Kevin Smith says that the MCU will soon introduce the Marvel Universe’s own Werewolf By Night into the epic blockbuster film franchise.
What Happened? — In the latest episode of his geek news podcast FatMan Beyond, co-hosted with writer Marc Bernardin, Clerks director and Masters of the Universe: Revelation showrunner Kevin Smith revealed that during the making of his canceled Howard the Duck series at Hulu, he learned that the horror character Werewolf By Night was off-limits.
"For a red hot minute, I was working on Howard the Duck,” Smith recalled on the podcast. “Jeph Loeb was like, 'Hey man, I think you'd be good for Howard the fucking Duck.' I reached out to Walter Flanagan from Comic Book Men and told him I'm gonna take a stab at all the fucking ‘70s characters. Walt was giving suggestions, and Werewolf By Night was absolutely on the list."
Smith intended to introduce Werewolf By Night in his show’s fifth episode. “The idea of our story was that Howard was trapped here, and he was trying to get pages of the Darkhold, which would allow him to go back ... As I'm laying it out and then I go into Jeph and told him what I wanted to do, and that's when they said 'You can't use Werewolf by Night,' and I asked why. They said the movie division was using him."
You can watch the episode of FatMan Beyond in the embed below.
No Petting — In the world of comic book-inspired superhero television, it’s not unheard of that certain characters are off-limits. The Arrowverse franchise is and was forbidden from using Batman and Wonder Woman because of the DCEU, for example.
But it does remain interesting how parent companies decide which characters can and cannot be used by creators. Smith claims Werewolf By Night, a rather obscure character to modern audiences that represents Marvel’s foray into horror during the ‘70s (following the relaxation of the parochial Comics Code Authority), won’t make an appearance outside the MCU. But Iron Man — who has already led a successful film franchise and was killed in Avengers: Endgame — was bulletproof enough to be used in Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.
Not even familiarity with a character is rhyme or reason as to why characters are used. Ms. Marvel, who is making her MCU debut in her own solo Disney+ series, was the main character of the video game Marvel’s Avengers released last year. (Which, coincidentally, had M.O.D.O.K. as the villain.) Taskmaster, introduced to the MCU in Black Widow, was a minor antagonist in the 2018 Spider-Man game. Appearances in non-MCU projects don’t usually preclude their MCU appearance, so it raises the question again why Werewolf By Night is not allowed to appear in anything other than an MCU project.
Moon Knight Cometh — For those unfamiliar, “Werewolf By Night” is literally just a werewolf, with a specific character history that began in Marvel Spotlight and later in his own comic book series, Werewolf By Night.
In issue #32 of Werewolf By Night, Moon Knight made his first appearance as a hunter trying to kill Werewolf By Night, which cemented a storied rivalry between the two characters. Moon Knight is slated to get his own Disney+ series starring Oscar Isaac, and fans speculate that Ethan Hawke, who is set to play the series’ villain, will play Werewolf By Night.
The Inverse Analysis — Perhaps excluding Werewolf By Night in a comedic show like Kevin Smith’s Howard the Duck was to allow non-comic book reading fans to get a proper introduction to the fearsome lycanthrope before he makes them laugh in a cartoon.
Considering Marvel clearly intends to introduce Werewolf By Night while also starting to work on Blade — another ‘70s-era horror character — and releasing the delayed Morbius starring Jared Leto in 2022, this means monsters may outnumber aliens in Phase 4 of the MCU.
Moon Knight will begin streaming on Disney+ in 2022.