Kevin Smith reveals that Man-Thing was supposed to appear in another planned television special before he appeared in Werewolf By Night. The Disney+ special presentation has garnered positive reviews from fans and critics and has once again secured another Marvel hero into the popular mainstream. Besides the titular werewolf, the swamp-based superhero Man-Thing has also achieved popularity due to his charming personality, mixed with his rather violent superpowers. Following the success of Werewolf By Night, there has been an interest in bringing the character back in a future MCU project, hopefully, so he can appear alongside other major superheroes.
Man-Thing was created in 1971 by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Gray Morrow, but despite having his own series was always seen as one of the lesser-known heroes in the Marvel Universe who was better teamed up with another character. A television film titled Man-Thing was released in 2005 on Sci-Fi Channel, where it was quickly forgotten almost as soon as it aired. He managed to make appearances in Marvel’s animated shows on DisneyXD, but these appearances were very brief. Before his prominent appearance in Werewolf By Night, he almost managed to be the lead in another project that was ultimately canceled on Hulu.
While speaking on his podcast Fatman Beyond, Kevin Smith revealed more details about his canceled Howard the Duck series and how it was supposed to lead into a crossover featuring Man-Thing. In typical geeky fashion, Smith excitedly gave his opinion on Werewolf By Night after having seen it on a big screen and spoke positively on the depiction of the character as a “lovable Snuffleupagus type” while also praising the character’s accuracy. Smith appeared to have no ill will over his canceled project and was excited to see the character appear anyway.
When Jeph [Loeb] was running Marvel Television… he reached out to me and he was like, ‘I’ve got something that I think you’d be perfect for… he was like, ‘Howard the Duck.’ I was like, ‘Of course, yes. What a no-brainer.’ So we were doing four series — the Patton Oswalt MODOK series, the Hit-Monkey series, Dazzler and Tigra, and Howard the Duck. So our crossover event, ‘The Offenders,’ was called ‘The Offenders: Giant Sized Man Thing.’ So they were all going to meet Man-Thing in our crossover event. When the show got scuttled, when Kevin Feige absorbed Marvel Television and it became part of Marvel Studios and they started doing the Disney+ shows, two of them were already deep in production…, but then we got the word that they’re killing Dazzler & Tigra and Howard the Duck… But part of the reason they told us was that they had plans for Man-Thing. I was like, ‘What?!’ And we finally saw those plans come to fruition and I’m so delighted that they brought him to life.
How Man-Thing’s Introduction Would Have Been Different
The former head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, announced in 2019 that Hulu was developing four adult comedy animated television shows based on Marvel Comics characters, Howard the Duck, MODOK, Hit-Monkey, and Tigra & Dazzler. The plan was to create a separate shared universe with these characters and bring them together in a crossover titled The Offenders. Following Loeb’s removal from the company, the shows began to hit production troubles. Howard the Duck and Tigra & Dazzler were ultimately not picked up, while MODOK was canceled after one season. Since then, all future animated projects were headed by Kevin Feige, who took over all of Marvel Entertainment.
While it is unfortunate that Kevin Smith’s take on the character of Man-Thing did not come to fruition, his appearance in Werewolf By Night made for a better introduction. Marvel Studios has always had a knack for taking many of their obscure characters and breathing new life into them for a wide audience. Smith and Hulu’s Man-Thing would have been limited to an adult audience. Additionally, as MODOK and Hit-Monkey had a divisive response, it would have been unlikely that the character would have received as warm a welcome as he did in Werewolf By Night.
Source: Fatman Beyond