Marvel Studios’ latest release, Werewolf by Night, introduces a horde of new characters into the MCU, including the famed monster hunter, Elsa Bloodstone. As Marvel Studios’ first unabashed horror project, Werewolf by Night lays the foundations for further explorations into the genre. With films like Blade on the horizon, the MCU will need to dig deeply into Marvel Comics lore to make this next chapter fully fleshed out. Though fans are accustomed to more traditional modes of heroism with the Avengers, projects such as Werewolf by Night will provide the necessary connective tissue to these next stages in the MCU.
Directed by composer Michael Giacchino, Werewolf by Night is an hour-long special on Disney+ centering on the titular lycanthrope. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as Jack Russell, a man cursed with lycanthropy who convenes with other monster hunters at Bloodstone Manor, presumably the home of Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly). Shot in black and white, with a distinct style that harkens back to 1930s horror movies, Werewolf by Night is a celebration of Marvel Comics’ under-appreciated horror legacy.
Part of that legacy includes Elsa Bloodstone, a monster hunter associated with the supernatural. Essentially, Elsa Bloodstone is Buffy Summers meets Lara Croft. As a member of the Bloodstone family, Elsa’s lore runs deep in the Marvel Universe. Her father, Ulysses Bloodstone, bequeathed his powerful Bloodgem fragment to Elsa, giving her enhanced physical abilities. Like Lara Croft, Elsa’s journey has taken her all over the world, and like Buffy Summers, vampires are among her greatest enemies. Bloodstone will likely play an important role in linking together Marvel’s future horror outings, as she has ties to everyone from Doctor Strange, to Black Knight, to Ghost Rider, to Blade.
Elsa Bloodstone’s comics set a solid foundation for where the MCU could go next. One of her most recent appearances was in the 2021 Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade series by Simon Spurrier and Sergio Davila. There, Elsa came to the aid of Dane Whitman’s Black Knight, a notoriously incompetent hero who wields one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe: the Ebony Blade. The two fought Mordred, the bastard son of King Arthur, with Elsa chastising Whitman for his poor weapons skills. The Ebony Blade feeds off of the negative energy of whoever wields it, making it dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced.
This makes Elsa not only a seasoned pro at taking down supernatural or magical threats, but an important source of knowledge for other Marvel Comics characters. She’s not an ordinary person thrown into extraordinary circumstances, like Peter Parker or Steve Rogers. Elsa Bloodstone was born to see the world in its horrific clarity with her monster hunting family.
As such, the release of Werewolf By Night sets up a possible Elsa Bloodstone and Black Knight team-up in the MCU. Last year’s Eternals introduced Kit Harrington’s Black Knight, along with the Ebony Blade in a post-credits scene. Like Dane Whitman in the comics, the MCU’s version of the character is clueless about the weapon that he holds. This could give Elsa Bloodstone a perfect chance to come to his aid. Presumably, the MCU’s Dane Whitman lacks any combat skills too, putting Elsa in the position to teach him everything he needs to know. Thus far, Dane Whitman has only dealt with powerful godlike figures from space. Teaming up with human characters like Elsa Bloodstone would integrate him with Marvel’s other street-level heroes.
Black Knight is far from the only character that Elsa Bloodstone has connections to in the comics. Werewolf By Night also sets up her tie to Blade and the supernatural Midnight Sons team. In the past, Elsa has been a member of the Midnight Sons, alongside Blade; Man-Thing; Doctor Voodoo (also known to fans as Brother Voodoo); Moon Knight; Iron Fist; and Ghost-Rider. The Midnight Sons are usually led by Blade, and most of its members are characters emblematic of Marvel’s dark supernatural bent in the 1970s.
This year, Marvel relaunched and renamed the title as The Midnight Suns, featuring a brand new lineup with Blade as their leader. And while Elsa is not on this new Midnight Suns team, Marvel’s history of brand synergy points to the possibility that the Blade film could introduce the team, with her as one of its members. The MCU has found success with aesthetically-distinct groups like the Guardians of the Galaxy. And a new Midnight Sons team could shake up a universe that is feeling more and more formulaic to fans.
Thus far, the MCU has established its signature brand of quippy sci-fi action. But this has barely scratched the surface of its comics universe. Elsa Bloodstone’s MCU debut opens doors to a much darker side of comics rarely seen in adaptations. Considering that the MCU has made unapologetically “comic-book” concepts like Infinity Stones part of mainstream pop culture, it’s time the oddballs of Marvel Comics get their due.
Moreover, Elsa Bloodstone’s debut points to a promising future for horror directors and creators in the MCU. While the MCU has flirted with the genre in the past, most notably with Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, characters like Elsa Bloodstone, Werewolf by Night, and Blade require an extra sense of commitment to the genre in order to shine. Werewolf By Night is clearly a love letter to horror and horror comics. And if the MCU wishes to continue this ethos in the future, it should bring the wonderful world of Elsa Bloodstone to life.