MCU Phase 5: Why Marvel's Man-Thing Is Key to the Multiverse Saga

By Pierre Chanliau Updated:
Avengers, Man-Thing, Marvel Studios Logo

Some audiences may have thought that characters like the Guardians of the Galaxy were obscure, but they haven't seen anything yet. It was rumored that one of Marvel's older characters, Man-Thing, would debut in Werewolf by Night.

During Marvel Studios' panel at D23 Expo, the trailer for Werewolf by Night was publically released, confirming the appearance of the Bog Beast of Florida. But, the creature's appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be vital to its other heroes.

Man-Thing's connection to the Multiverse in the comics could be relevant heading into Phase 5 of the MCU's Multiverse Saga and the battle against Kang the Conqueror.

Too Much of a Good Man-Thing

To give background on the character, Man-Thing was originally a scientist named Dr. Ted Sallis who attempted to recreate the super soldier serum. However, in Florida, AIM ambushed Ted, forcing him to flee by car and inject himself with his only sample to prevent it from being taken before crashing into a swamp.

The formula mixed with the magical properties of the water, causing Sallis to mutate into Man-Thing. A creature without a mind of its own, acting out of instinct to the emotions of those around him.

Man-Thing, Thor: Ragnarok, Reference, Easter Egg

There have been only two references to the deformed former scientist throughout the MCU. The first was being name-dropped in Agents of SHIELD, and the more prominent was Man-Thing having a dedicated statue, alongside past Champions of Sakaar, in Thor: Ragnarok.

Seen for only a couple of frames, Man-Thing is set to have at least a minor role in the upcoming Halloween special on Disney+. But, more surprising for fans was his colored appearance in concept art for a new attraction at Avengers Campus.

Man-Thing, Avengers Campus, Disneyland, Concept Art

For such a seemingly minor character, to appear alongside mainstays like Spider-Man, Thor, and Iron Man is truly surreal. Man-Thing's inclusion makes more sense when the attraction revolves around the Multiverse, as Man-Thing is the guardian of the Nexus of All Realities.

Guardian of the Nexus of All Realities

Or at least one of the said Multiversal guardians, but the point is that deep in the Everglades of Florida lies a gateway. A gateway into a crossroads of different dimensions, plains of existence, universes, timelines, and realities.

The duty of protecting this gateway fell to Man-Thing, lest anyone of ill intent wished to use it or stop anything dangerous from escaping it. So, it's curious then that after Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez was introduced, this saga will soon debut another character capable of accessing the Multiverse.

What If...?, Disney+, Nexus of All Realities
What If...?

Fans have likely even seen The Nexus of All Realities in What If...?, where The Watcher observes other universes. In the show, it acts similarly to the comics, as a crossroads into other realities, which Infinity Ultron almost took advantage of to horrifying effect.

Man-Thing, Marvel Comics, Fear Itself, Fearsome Four, Comic Panels
"Fear Itself: Fearsome Four" (2011) — Issue #1

So, it's possible that in the absence of Chaz or any other means of traveling the Multiverse, whatever heroes remain to fight Kang will be forced to take a trip to the swamps of Florida.

But, one other ability of Man-Thing's could prove relevant to Marvel's Multiversal endeavors in Phase 5, specifically with Kang.

Whoever Knows Fear Burns

As it goes, whoever, or whatever, knows fear burns at the Man-Thing's touch. Therefore, as an empathetic being, anything that feels fear while being touched by Man-Thing will literally catch fire.

Man-Thing Marvel Comic
"Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe" (2011) — Issue #4

So, it was exciting to finally see this signature ability of the character adapted in live-action. However, there is something a bit peculiar about the effect in the handful of frames it appears in the trailer.

Man-Thing in Werewolf by Night
Werewolf by Night

The effect looks similar to what happens to people and timelines pruned in Loki. Accompanied by excessive sparks and, looking closer at Man-Thing's victim, the bottom of their head seems to be completely missing.

Loki, Prune, Sylvie, Disney+, TVA

It wouldn't be the first time Marvel Studios changed how a character's powers work in the MCU. For all fans know, Man-Thing might not even have his human origin and be retooled as a purely multiversal being.

Instead of simply burning his victims, he sends them to another universe due to his connection to The Nexus of All Realities. Maybe Kang might wish to weaponize Man-Thing, similar to how He Who Remains weaponized Alioth.

All Roads Lead to the Multiverse

It'd be surprising if Marvel Studios weren't to include Man-Thing's connection to The Nexus of All Realities as its guardian when this saga of the MCU revolves around the Multiverse. It'd be an especially erroneous exclusion when it's Man-Thing's primary role in the comics.

Marvel Comics Man Thing
"Man-Thing" (1997) — Issue #2

Another possibility is that, by the end of Avengers: Secret Wars, the Multiverse or The Nexus of All Realities could become broken with only Man-Thing capable of repairing it, similar to events in the comics.

Lofty expectations, of course, but it'd be a shame if Man-Thing weren't roped into any of these Multiverse shenanigans heading into Phases 5 & 6. But, fans will have to wait to see the full extent of Man-Thing's involvement.

- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.