Who is Marvel's Werewolf By Night? Explained

Today sees the release of Disney+'s newest Marvel offering, Werewolf By Night. Just in time for spooky season, Werewolf By Night tells the story of an antihero who is, essentially just a werewolf character who can keep his intellect and his self-control. The character is one of a number of traditional "monster" characters Marvel has had during its 80+ years of publishing history, many of whom ended up having their destinies tied in with the fortunes of Blade, the vampire hunter. In the case of Werewolf by Night, the character also has ties to Moon Knight, in whose comic he first appeared, and a character who already got his shot at a Disney+ series, that one starring Oscar Isaac.

Werewolf by Night has had two incarnations in the pages of Marvel Comics, beginning with Jack Russell, a descendant of Lycanthropes who has the ability to turn into a werewolf without a full moon. A second incarnation of the character, Jake Gomez, is a Native American man whose family has been cursed by lycanthropy.

This time around, Werewolf By Night stars Gael Garcia Bernal as Jack Russell, the title character. The actor is best known for his work in Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle, and is also slated to play Zorro in the upcoming Z film, co-starring with The Flash's Kiersey Clemons. 

In the comics, lycanthropy has run in Russell's family since 1795, when a distant ancestor had set out to kill Dracula, but been bitten by a female werewolf in the vampire's employ. He would become a werewolf himself when he turned 18 years old. On his mother's deathbed, she revealed the nature of the family curse to Jack, and implored him not to do any harm to his stepfather, who had been implicated in her death. It was the vague memory of that promise which helped Jack learn how to control himself while in the werewolf form.

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Rumors have been swirling for years around Werewolf by Night's place in the MCU, with reports dating back to 2019 indicating that he could appear in some sort of upcoming project. This past July, Kevin Smith revealed that Marvel Studios shut down plans for him to put Werewolf by Night in his now-defunct Howard the Duck animated series, where the titular Duck would have become trapped in the pages of the Darkhold and encounter a number of Marvel's supernatural characters.