Who Is Man-Thing? MCU Theory Explains His Exciting Marvel Future

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
Man Thing, Marvel Studios Avengers

The MCU has been expanding in plenty of new and interesting ways lately, with the supernatural branch having become a particular point of focus. Perhaps the deepest dive on this area came with the Disney+ Halloween Special, Werewolf by Night, which saw the first monsters and monster hunters enter the MCU.

Among the most exciting introductions came Jack Russell, aka Werewolf by Night, and his lovable best-friend Ted, known to comic readers as Man-Thing. The two may only have shared the screen so far for the one-off Disney+ Special, but they have already become an iconic monstrous duo in the eyes of many Marvel fans.

But with Werewolf at Night being a standalone story, the special may have left some wondering when these characters will next surface on screens; and who was that mysterious Man-Thing that stole all of his screen time?

Who is Marvel's Man-Thing?

Man Thing Werewolf by Night

In Marvel Comics, Dr. Ted Sallis created the SO-2 Serum in an attempt to replicate the Super Soldier Serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. What made this attempt unique from others was its mystical enhancements from a demonic sorcerer called Belasco. 

While driving, Sallis decided to take the serum himself and ultimately crashed his car into a swamp in the process. Not only did this transform the good doctor into Man-Thing, but also turned the swamp into the Nexus of All Realities - a cross-dimensional portal across the Multiverse.

Sallis was stripped of his intelligence as part of the transformation and morphed into a creature made up of vegetable matter. His powers make him virtually indestructible, easily malleable, and to burn those feeling fear, giving him the tagline, “Whoever knows fear burns at the touch of the Man-Thing!”

Nonetheless, Man-Thing remained strongly on the side of good and went on to become the Guardian of the Nexus of All Realities. So, as Man-Thing joins the MCU during the Multiverse Saga, Marvel Studios is clearly setting him up to have a big role going forward, and he already has some established history.

How Man-Thing Fits Into the MCU

Kevin Feige, Man Thing

Prior to joining the MCU in Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing was referenced a few times,  adding a bit of context about his life. The monster was referenced in Agents of SHIELD Season 1, taking place in 2014, as Maria Hill questions "who or what is a Man-Thing?" which indicates he was monitored by SHIELD before it fell. 

Man-Thing later had a statue dedicated to him as one of the Champions of Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok, which takes place in 2017. So, much like Hulk, Man-Thing appears to have spent some time as the Grandmaster's champion, but there's no telling how long ago that may have been or what landed him on Sakaar.

Man-Thing, Thor Ragnarok
Marvel Studios

In 2025 - as shown by the events of Werewolf by Night - Man-Thing was captured by Verussa Bloodstone to be used as the target of a monster hunt and had the Bloodstone gem attached to him as the prize of the victor. Fortunately, Man-Thing, aka Ted, was saved by his long-time friend Jack Russell.

The two clearly have a close friendship that has spanned many years and has seen Jack forced to save Ted from trouble several times in the past. Working with Elsa Bloodstone, Jack was able to save Man-Thing from capture and free him into the wild, removing the Bloodstone from him in the process.

Despite appearing to disappear from the grounds, Man-Thing returned by the end to save Elsa Bloodstone and show off his powers that allow him to burn people, including, in this case, Verussa Bloodstone, to death. He later reunited with Jack Russell and was last seen sitting out in the forest with him.

Why Man-Thing Will Be Key to the MCU

MCU Man Thing

Werewolf by Night director Michael Giacchino explained that Kevin Feige was the one to originally propose Man-Thing be introduced in the Disney+ special, something which added plenty of extra pressure for the first-time director.

So, with the Marvel Studios president and mastermind being the one to originally propose his MCU introduction, perhaps he has a plan for Man-Thing in mind. Giacchino also had a practical Man-Thing created for use in Werewolf by Night, and it's tough to imagine an expensive creation like that only being used once.

Werewolf by Night and Man-Thing were also featured on the art for Avengers Campus' next ride that will pit the heroes of the Multiverse against King Thanos. This art was packed with all the heroes who have proven pivotal to the MCU, which seems to suggest the two monsters will be involved in the battles to come.

Clearly, Marvel Studios has big plans to involve the monstrous duo in the future of the MCU. Feige has even promised that the world this special has introduced "ultimately become quite important to the future of the MCU," likely starting with this duo and expanding with more monsters:

"We're introducing a world that will ultimately become quite important to the future of the MCU... we wanted to explore entirely new characters and entirely new sides of the MCU with this unusual, fun, and frightening spin on the supernatural."

Although Man-Thing's Multiversal connections didn't come into play with Werewolf by Night, they may lead him to take on a major role in Phase 5 and beyond. Given the timing of his MCU introduction in the midst of the Multiverse Saga, one can only imagine the Nexus of All Realities will come into play in his next appearance.

Interestingly, the Nexus of All Realities has also been referenced several times before in the MCU, as it was among the concepts that Dr. Erik Selvig was studying during Thor: The Dark World as part of his Multiverse research.

Perhaps the Nexus of All Realities will be used by the Avengers to travel the Multiverse in their fight against Kang. A visit to the Florida swamp could even see them cross paths with Man-Thing and maybe Werewolf by Night as the monstrous duo was last seen together at the end of the Disney+ special.

When Will Man-Thing Next Appear?

Man Thing Werewolf by Night

Werewolf by Night has always been marketed as a one-off special and not as a pilot for a longer-form Disney+ show, so determining these characters' next appearance is no easy task. But with the special receiving such acclaim, Marvel Studios may backtrack with a Disney+ sequel, series, or theatrical movie.

There were, at one point, rumors that Marvel Studios was looking to develop a horror-based Halloween special starring Man-Thing. This could serve as a successor to Werewolf by Night for next Halloween, although perhaps the Man-Thing special was not standalone and was simply what has already been seen.

But if Marvel Studios' intention was for Werewolf by Night to be a one-off, then one has to turn to which other projects they could show up in. Well, the obvious answer is another supernatural MCU outing, with the strongest opportunities coming with Moon Knight Season 2 or Blade, either of which will have room for more monsters.

With Marvel having positioned Werewolf by Night and Man-Thing directly beside the Avengers and other starring heroes against King Thanos, perhaps this indicates they will eventually join them in battle. Maybe they will even get involved against Kang the Conqueror for The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars.

Werewolf by Night is streaming now, exclusively on Disney+. 

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.