Gael García Bernal in Werewolf By Night

What Are MCU Special Presentations? MCU Special Presentations Explained

Werewolf by Night premiered on Disney Plus on October 7, 2022, officially kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Special Presentations. Werewolf by Night is a Halloween TV special that centers on Jack Russell (Gael García Bernal). Russell is a monster hunter who is afflicted with a curse that transforms him from a human into a werewolf. In Werewolf by Night, Russell is summoned to the mysterious Bloodstone Manor along with several other fellow monster hunters. The night takes a dark turn, though, when a macabre memorial for Ulysses Bloodstone pits the hunters against one another in a deadly competition for a powerful relic.

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In addition to Bernal, Werewolf by Night also stars Laura Donnelly as Elsa Bloodstone and Harriet Sansom Harris as Verussa Bloodstone. Meanwhile, the Halloween special was surprisingly directed by Michael Giacchino. Giacchino is an American composer who has composed the scores of numerous Marvel films. However, for Werewolf by Night, he stepped into the director’s chair for the first time and proved to be very effective at directing.

So far, Werewolf by Night has been receiving a very positive critical reception. The special boasts a strong 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.8/10 on IMDb. Critics and fans alike are raving about the special’s homage to classic horror films, delightful visuals, and its grittier, spookier spin on the Marvel universe. Werewolf by Night‘s strong debut and the MCU’s alleged plans to continue making Special Presentations has many fans questioning what exactly this new endeavor is. Here is everything you need to know about MCU Special Presentations.

What are MCU Special Presentations?

MCU Special Presentations will be a collection of TV specials released on Disney Plus. As said above, Werewolf by Night is the first of the collection and the next Special Presentation will be The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. What these specials do is allow the MCU to share stories without investing in an entire TV series or film. As seen with Werewolf by Night, these specials are just slightly longer than a typical TV episode, but much shorter than a feature film. These specials also seem to tell fairly self-contained stories within short timeframes. For example, Werewolf by Night follows the events of a single night and gives no hint as to its place in the MCU.

While these specials do exist somewhere in the MCU, they’re also given a feel of being set apart. Werewolf by Night reiterated this point by debuting a new original opening score simply to remind fans that it’s something different. The Cosmic Circus alleged that Marvel has plans to invest more in Special Presentations and may even create some non-holiday-themed ones.

Why is Marvel making Special Presentations?

Gael Garcia Bernal as Jack Russell in 'Werewolf by Night'.
(Marvel Entertainment)

While Marvel hasn’t confirmed any more Special Presentations beyond The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, it wouldn’t be surprising for them to capitalize on the format. After all, it is quite a strong strategy. They can introduce more Marvel characters or set up future films and series, without having to use all the resources a TV series or feature film requires. With Werewolf by Night not having a specific timeline, it doesn’t interfere at all with the MCU. At the same time, since it still takes place in the MCU, Russell or the Bloodstones could still show up later in the universe in another project.

Giacchino and Kevin Feige also opened up about why they initially decided to create Special Presentations. They created this new fanfare to pay homage to the television specials of their childhoods. They wanted to mimic the feel of holiday TV specials like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or Frosty the Snowman. Feige told

We wanted to tap into the nostalgia we had as kids when the weekly scheduled entertainment would be interrupted for a show like ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!’ or ‘Frosty the Snowman’ or ‘Rudolph.’ Many of the networks had their own logos that indicated a special was about to begin, and we thought it would be fun to do an homage to those. Michael loved the idea and said he’d write the music.

Feige and Giacchino are capitalizing on nostalgia and making TV specials a thing again, while also creating another way to bring Marvel content to viewers.

(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.