Werewolf By Night’s debut on Disney Plus is extraordinarily timed. Not just because it’s a few weeks out from Halloween, but also because it comes at a time when the MCU is under heavy criticism from fans who can’t seem to get a handle on where “things are headed” in the Multiverse Saga. While the Special Presentation may not give fans any clarity on that issue, there is not doubt that Werewolf By Night knows EXACTLY what it is and, on a larger scale, what horror in the MCU could be.
Michael Giacchino is a legendary composer, arguably the greatest of his generation; however, he had never taken the reigns as a director on a project as large as Werewolf By Night before. Given that relative inexperience, fans understandably questioned if the cut of his jib was right for a feature-length project. Now that audiences can see and digest the project, only the most contrarian of critics would make the argument that Giacchino didn’t just “handle it”, but put together one of Marvel Studios’ most unique and artistic projects in its impressive history. And he did so because he knew exactly what he wanted it to be.
A wonderful homage to the Universal Classic Monster films, Werewolf By Night reconciles century-old sensibilities into cinema’s modern-day monster. Giacchino is as much a fan of those old horror films as we all are of the MCU; they live inside his mind. The result of that is a finished product where nothing feels forced or out of place because it’s all an expression of a project that Giacchino not only wanted to make, but that he’d likely been making in his head, in some form or another, for years. And in true MCU fashion, he made something that serves not only as a one-off masterpiece but could serve to create a brand new corner of the MCU that’s populated with beautiful characters and stories for a decade. And if that is indeed the plan as laid out by Marvel Studios One-Above-All and the Parliament, then this project should have convinced them to allow Giacchino to be its architect.
Kevin Fiege and the Parliament are busy, busy people. The studio now produces a minimum of six projects a year and as we move further away from the COVID shutdowns of productions, that number could increase. In a situation like that, having an experienced person on a project can save each of the executive producers a great deal of time and Giacchino has as much experience as anyone. Should he write, direct and compose every horror project for Marvel Studios? Absolutely not. But he should write, direct and compose as many as he can and wants to and should be the point person for every one that he does not. Werewolf By Night has defined Marvel Studios’ horror in a very unique way, one that obviously can still be enjoyed by fans of all ages. To ensure that each subsequent horror project stays on brand, it would be wise to have Giacchino acting as at least a consultant, making sure there’s some continuity between them.
What’s next for the MCU in terms of horror? Beyond Blade, the studio has made no official announcements. Rumors of a Ghost Rider project have come and gone for years; the debut of Moon Knight has fans dreaming of the Midnight Sons; Werewolf By Night leaves the door open to a Legion of Monsters project. With Blade on the hunt for a director, could Giacchino quickly jump on board that project and help new writer Beau DeMayo craft a story that would fit seamlessly with Werewolf By Night? Would he even want to be? For Feige and company, there’s only one way to find out and at this point, it would seem they’d at least make an overture. Giacchino has created something that feels as important as any project Marvel Studios has put out in Phase 4. As they continue to bring back creatives from other projects to work on either successive or associated projects, it would be a shame if they didn’t do the same with Giacchino, who could be to horror what Michael Waldron is to the MCU multiverse.