Color Theory

Werewolf By Night theory may hint at the real reason it's in black and white

Besides paying homage to classic horror movies, there could be an in-universe reason why Werewolf By Night is in black and white.

Marvel Studios

Marvel is celebrating the spookiest holiday of the year with an unusual TV special, Werewolf by Night. And if one theory is to be believed, this Disney+ event might be secretly connected to Thor: Love and Thunder.

Directed by composer Michael Giacchino, the upcoming special is based on Marvel’s resident werewolf and is set to hit Disney+ on October 7. It’s a stylized production inspired by vintage horror movies like those from Universal and Hammer: Not only is it in black and white, but it will also have a grainy picture to imitate the feel of distressed film.

But could there be an in-universe reason that Werewolf by Night is in black and white? Thor: Love and Thunder recently revealed how color can physically vanish in the MCU, and with a certain character set to appear in the special, there could actually be a canonical reason why it looks the way it does.

Enter the Shadow Realm — In Thor: Love and Thunder, Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) lures Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to the Shadow Realm, a place of infinite darkness in the Marvel cosmos that’s home to unspeakable horrors. For reasons that are barely explained, the Shadow Realm is also devoid of all color, leading to a highly stylized black-and-white fight scene.

Love and Thunder doesn’t dwell much on the mythology of the Shadow Realm, so there’s still plenty to explore. This gives Werewolf by Night room to return to the Realm and expand on its workings.

Man-Thing, another of Marvel’s horror characters, guards the Nexus of All Realities. He’s set to make his cinematic debut in Werewolf by Night.YouTube.com/Marvel Entertainment

The upcoming special is billed as Marvel’s homage to all kinds of classic horror stories, ranging from monsters to slashers to haunted house mysteries. The trailer teases Werewolf by Night as a story contained in a single mansion, with an array of characters who will be knocked off in vicious ways.

Notably, the special will also introduce Man-Thing. A young biochemist from Nebraska turned empathetic swamp monster, Man-Thing guards the Nexus of All Realities, essentially a magical highway to anywhere in the Marvel multiverse that happens to be located in a Florida swamp.

What does that have to do with Thor: Love and Thunder? Well, over on Reddit’s r/MCUtheories, user u/Chronon_Field suggested the mansion in Werewolf by Night could actually be the location of the Nexus of All Realities, which would explain Man-Thing’s presence. They add that it’s through the Nexus that the monsters of the Shadow Realm — and maybe the Shadow Realm itself — “leaks” into Earth, turning the place black and white.

Obviously, Werewolf by Night is stylized after vintage horror movies for artistic reasons, but there could be a fun in-universe explanation too. The final battle of Love and Thunder also featured Shadow Realm’s monsters, but their presence alone didn’t take away color, so it has to be the Shadow Realm itself doing the trick.

Thor: Love and Thunder recently introduced a place in the Marvel multiverse where color doesn’t exist. Is the Shadow Realm leaking into Werewolf by Night?Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — The short length of time between Thor: Love and Thunder and Werewolf by Night’s respective arrivals on Disney+ lends some support to the theory. Additionally, the MCU has previously come up with in-universe explanations for why things look and feel a certain way. WandaVision, for example, showed that its various sitcom scenes were Wanda processing her grief in the haven of her favorite TV shows. (Including some black-and-white sitcoms.)

Werewolf by Night doesn’t need to make excuses for its unique presentation. The mere fact that it’s about a werewolf superhero is all Marvel needs to riff on gothic monster movies. But it also wouldn’t quite feel like the MCU if there wasn’t a reason why Werewolf by Night looks unlike anything Marvel’s done before.

Werewolf By Night will hit Disney+ on October 7.