Werewolf By Night made its way onto Disney+ last week, ushering in a new monster-centric corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to the special's titular creature of the night, the installment featured the MCU debuts of some major monster characters, including Ted Sallis / Man-Thing (Carey Jones), a gigantic swamp monster who ends up having a key role in Werewolf By Night's proceedings. Man-Thing immediately became a fan-favorite once Werewolf By Night debuted, and the admiration for the character only grew when fans learned that parts of the character were practical on set. On Thursday, Werewolf By Night director Michael Giacchino took to Twitter to share a new behind-the-scenes look at the practical Man-Thing, which you can check out below.
Never in my life did I think I’d be the one responsible for introducing this incredible character into the MCU. Big props to the original creators of Man Thing – Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway and Gray Morrow. Long live Ted! #werewolfbynight pic.twitter.com/BDjR3UKAiK— Michael Giacchino (@m_giacchino) October 14, 2022
"When it started out, I was like, 'Werewolf's gotta be practical, let's build a Man-Thing. Let's see how far we can get with that? The folks with K&B craft studio, they did the most incredible job," Giacchino shared in a recent interview with ComicBook.com's Phase Zero podcast. "They built a life-size Man-Thing. It was completely animatronic and its eyes glowed red. It was crazy and the hands were all motorized. So, yeah it was great. Now, it was mostly on-set so there would be something for the actors to work with."
The director continued, "I didn't want there to be a guy with a tennis ball on the end of a stick saying, 'Here's the monster, look at this right here.' I didn't want that, I really wanted them to really engage with the character. Because I knew how big that character of Man-Thing was going to be. So, they could relate to him and be with him in the same space. So, we built all of that and our wonderful visual effects staff went over that with their incredible effects and brought it to life in a whole way."
Who is Man-Thing in Marvel Comics?
Initially created by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Gray Morrow in 1971's Savage Tales #1, Man-Thing has consistently remained a fan-favorite within the pages of Marvel Comics. After initially being introduced as a villain-turned-ally of the jungle hero Ka-Zar, Man-Thing's own status quo began to flourish. (So much so that it drew comparisons to DC's Swamp Thing, who debuted a few years later and initially appeared to have a similar origin.) In the comics, Ted is a doctor and biochemist who works on one of many attempts to recreate Captain America's super-soldier serum, the Gladiator project, alongside a group of scientists (including Bobbi Morse / Mockingbird). After a near-fatal ordeal, Ted injects himself with his formula for the serum, just before his car crashes into a nearby swamp. The serum then mixes with scientific and magical energy to give him his swamp monster powers, as well as the ability to secrete a corrosive and fiery acid that kills or scars almost anyone it touches.
Writer Steve Gerber would branch out the character's mythos even further, eventually revealing that the swamp Ted crashed into was actually the Nexus of All Realities, a portal that could access any and all corners of the multiverse. Gerber's adventures for Ted also included a team-up with Howard the Duck, a friendship with a young radio DJ (and later She-Hulk love interest) Richard Rory, and even a cameo from Gerber himself. (Chris Claremont, who later wrote Man-Thing, also added himself in as a character.) In later years, Man-Thing has joined the Legion of Monsters and the Howling Commandos. He also got a cult-classic television movie in 2005.