Werewolf by Night is a different kind of beast (no pun intended) compared to other Marvel Cinematic Universe-set productions. The critically acclaimed Marvel Halloween special is a delightfully creepy thriller that pays homage to the creature features of old. In the process, the show also sets up monsters for the MCU (and their roles in the fictional superhero-filled world are apparently set to grow from here). As you’d imagine, the project still had to check many of the usual “Marvel boxes.” However, as writer Heather Quinn explained, there was one typically-crucial aspect of the cinematic universe that she and her collaborators didn’t have to worry about.
There are a number of things that audiences have come to expect from anything that’s related to the MCU, such as impressive action sequences and sly easter eggs. Of course, another important element is continuity, and die-hard fans of the franchise love to keep track of its expansive timeline. Things are a bit more ambiguous in Werewolf by Night, as it’s not totally clear as to when the events of the special actually take place. It’s even hard to say whether it’s set in the present or sometime in the early 1900s. During my recent interview with Heather Quinn, I asked her about the show’s position in the timeline, and she provided some honest thoughts regarding how she (and co-writer Peter Cameron) approached it:
So it sounds like the writer had quite a bit of freedom when it came to the special’s relationship to the official MCU timeline. While she (alongside her colleagues) did a masterful job with managing things on Hawkeye, you have to imagine that she appreciated the opportunity to do something that was more of a standalone piece. Such a thing is also refreshing for those who’ve been following the franchise for over a decade. Sure, easter eggs and subtle nods are fun, but it’s nice to see a more self-contained Marvel Studios production.
Of course, what’s also interesting about Heather Quinn’s comments is that she is indeed under the impression that Werewolf by Night is a contemporary story. It honestly would make sense for this dark tale to take place in the present. After all, there’s a good chance that Marvel wants its newest faces – Jack Russell, Elsa Bloodstone and Man-Thing a.k.a. Ted – to meet up with major characters in the cinematic universe. (Of course, we could always find out later that the aforementioned newcomers are somehow immortal.)
On that note, the newbies are still a bit mysterious at this point, but it’s hard not to like them. Wolfman Jack Russell proved to be a relatable character as did veteran monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone. And of course, Man-Thing (who was important for this particular story) has seemingly stolen Marvel fans’ hearts. His relationship with Jack is particularly endearing and could one day rival the bromance between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes.
All in all, Werewolf by Night definitely leaves us with a number of questions – some that fans will surely discuss for a while. However, what is clear is that people have taken to the new MCU heroes that Heather Quinn introduced in Michael Giacchino’s Halloween special. I look forward to seeing them again and am hopeful that this show is only the first of a wave of standalone streaming specials featuring Marvel characters.
Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
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