We already knew that — even before we get to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — we’ll be getting The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+. But the winter holidays may not be the only celebrations Marvel is interested in capitalizing on because, according to a new rumor, they’re recruiting Werewolf by Night for an upcoming Halloween special.
The unconfirmed report comes from TheWrap, who says the studio is actively seeking a “Latino male in his 30s” to star in an untitled Halloween Special, with filming targeted to begin in early 2022. While this description doesn’t fit for Jack Russell — the Marvel Comics character originally referred to as Werewolf by Night — as TheWrap notes, there is another version of the character named Jake Gomez. Gomez is a member of the Hopi Native American tribe and his family is “cursed with lyncathropy.”
While so far the report isn’t confirmed, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Marvel wanting to adapt Werewolf by Night. In July on his Fatman Beyond podcast (via ComicBook.com), Kevin Smith talked about how he’d wanted to use the character for his shelved Howard the Duck TV series. He was told by Marvel Television’s Jeph Loeb, however, that he couldn’t use the werewolf because “the movie division was using him.”
Not to mention that if you start digging into the past year’s rumors and speculations about upcoming Marvel movies, there are werewolves all over the place though not all of them necessarily point to Werewolf by Night. At the beginning of the year, for example, a report surfaced that among the threats he faces in next year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Stephen Strange will be battling vampires and werewolves. Earlier this week, We Got This Covered reported that, not content with just the MCU, Marvel Studios is building a darker, scarier cinematic universe of movies in which you would find characters like Moon Knight, Blade, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Daimon Hellstrom, and Werewolf by Night.
The timing of TheWrap’s report is interesting as well, considering we’re just starting to get updates from the production of Disney+’s Moon Knight, including possibly a shot of the hero in costume. Moon Knight’s first appearance was in 1975’s Werewolf by Night #32, when he appears as a largely amoral mercenary who fights and captures Werewolf by Night for money, though it’s later revealed he was working undercover.
Jack Russell, the original Werewolf by Night, first appears in 1972’s Marvel Spotlight #2. In the late 18th century, Russell’s ancestor is cursed with lycanthropy when bitten by a werewolf. The curse activates in Jack when he turns 18. After his early appearances he enjoyed his own solo series which ended after 43 issues. Russell continued to pop up sporadically over the years.
In the more recent Werewolf by Night series, the hero — Jake Gomez — uses his powers to fight the corrupt Life Pharmaceutical company who he learns is kidnapping Hopi tribespeople and conducting experiments on them. Unlike Russell, Gomez learns to control his werewolf side much earlier.