This past Friday saw the release of Werewolf By Night, Marvel’s first ever “Special Presentation.” Later this year we’ll also be getting The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. After the very positive early word of mouth for Werewolf By Night, there have been reports that Marvel is considering doing more specials for Disney+. But unlike the first two, they won’t all necessarily be holiday focused.
In this article, I wanted to take the opportunity to list some potential presentations that I think fans would enjoy.
One of the things that was praised most about Werewolf By Night was the fact that it leaned into the horror genre in a way the MCU never had before. Keep in mind, the universe’s horror elements were briefly explored in both Moon Knight and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earlier this year. However, Werewolf By Night was able to truly capture the feeling of classic horror films such as The Wolf Man and Frankenstein with its atmosphere, practical effects and make-up, and a surprising amount of blood and gore.
So going off that I think Marvel should take this opportunity to explore multiple new genres. Throughout the decades of Marvel Comics‘ existence, they’ve actually told a lot of different types of stories. It feels like they’ve still only scratched the surface. Doing projects that feel radically different from each other will only help in keeping the franchise feeling fresh and new. With that said, let’s start off by getting the most obvious (an inevitable) idea for a special out of the way.
The breakout star from Werewolf By Night was without a doubt Man-Thing (or Ted). The character managed to be somehow both adorable and terrifying at the same time. If Marvel wanted to continue going down the horror route, making a special focusing on the character would make the most sense. It could be done as a prequel showing his origin as Dr. Ted Sallis trying to replicate the Super Soldier serum, and his subsequent car crash into a swamp transforming him into the big plant creature we (now) know and love. It could also show how he and Jack met, potentially elaborating on the easter egg from Thor: Ragnarok that seemed to hint at him being one of the champions on Sakaar.
Howard The Duck
Howard the Duck made his MCU debut all the way back in 2014. Since then, he’s still yet to really be given his own story. While making a full-length movie probably isn’t in the cards right now – especially after the infamous failure of the 1986 film – a TV Special could be the perfect space to put the character in the spotlight. Although comedy has always been prevalent in the MCU. The humor of the original Howard the Duck comics was more darker and existential . Steve Gerber, who created the character said the main joke of the book was that “there is no joke that life’s most serious moments and most incredibly dumb moments are often distinguishable only by a momentary point of view.” A special more in line with Gerber’s version than the 1986 film, focusing on Howard’s cynical outlook on life, could be both funny but more mature than some people would expect.
The Mighty Marvel Western
The superhero genre has often been compared to the Western genre. Not only do both often focus on stories of people seeking seeking justice for those who’ve been wronged, but back in the early days of Hollywood the Western dominated the entertainment industry much in the same way comic book movies do now. So, it actually shouldn’t come as a surprise that Marvel has quite a few Western themed characters of their own. Much in the same way Werewolf By Night paid homage to classic monster movies. A special focused on a character like Kid Colt, Two-Gun Kid or The Rawhide Kid (they weren’t the most creative when it came to naming them) could be an opportunity to pay homage to classic western shows like Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, or The Lone Ranger. Or they could go in another direction and do something inspired more by Spaghetti Western films like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Either way it would allow Marvel the chance to pay tribute to the genre that in many ways helped pave the way for them.
Millie The Model
This might be the most out-of-the-box suggestion, but back in the 1940s when Marvel was still known as Timely Comics they created a book called “Millie the Model.” If the characters in the picture above remind you of anything it’s probably because one of the artists who worked on the book was Dan DeCarlo, the man who would later help create Josie and the Pussycats and help give the definitive art style of Archie Comics. A slapstick romantic comedy is more than likely the last thing anyone would expect from Marvel right now. But that’s why it could actually make a really fun special. It would allow them to do something that is completely devoid of any kind of blockbuster spectacle. Not only could it be used to show that Marvel is capable of doing things outside their confront zone, it could cement them as a studio that can be recognized for more than just superhero characters.