Have you seen the new Marvel “Special Presentation” Werewolf by Night? Because if you haven’t, you should!
Lately I’ve fallen behind on my MCU, because it feels so monotonous. Everything is really starting to feel the same, and I’m no longer interested in the joke style of all the Tony Stark clone characters.
HOWEVER! Marvel on Disney+ released a 53 minute Special about monster hunters in a competition to find out who the best monster hunter is. The vast majority of the special is in black and white, there’s very little CGI, and there’s no overtly quippy characters.
As of right now there is only one other “Special Presentation” planned in the MCU, and it’s the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. I think that there should be more, for three reasons. They are short, they are weird, and they can stand on their own.
Werewolf by Night was only 53 minutes, and while the budget has not been released, it is clearly not a big blockbuster event. The whole special had three sets (the house, the garden, outside the garden), a cast of 14 people (including narrator and puppeteer), and minimal CGI. At times it almost feels like a play. The investment that Marvel has to make to make something like this is very minimal, but the amount of viewing-hours, if marketed appropriately, could come to be very close to a whole feature film. Overall, this is something that could be treated as it’s own wing, similar to how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was treated when it first came out.
While Werewolf by Night had no superheroes, it was clearly a fictional world, featuring a werewolf and (spoiler!) Man-Thing, a large humanoid swamp monster. But the lack of superheroics and the focus on ’70s-Universal style monster movie horror made it very different from everything else with the Marvel brand on it. I think that this could be their new experimental category of content. If we look at DC Comics, the Arrowverse has become a place for them to test different superheroes/villains, and storylines. They let themselves make choices that are risky for a big budget movie, including characters like The Flash, Black Canary, Huntress, and Deathstroke. Marvel could do the same here, testing out new characters in a small scale Special before bringing them into the wider MCU. Something that would have saved them a lot of Inhumans embarrassment.
If something doesn’t work, it will be easy to sweep under the rug. They can say that anything from the Special Presentations are not canon until after they’ve been received. Nothing will be “required watching” and it won’t be tied into the grander story, but just a place to try out interesting concepts, and fun ideas.
If this wasn’t a Marvel project I probably wouldn’t have paid it much attention, but I want to encourage Kevin Feige that these are the kinds of things that we want from him, not another superhero’s origin show/movie, but something that just throws you in, and has fun, without being concerned about “Phases” or Kang the Conqueror. Just have a good time.