Marvel Studios’ search for a Latino lead for its as-yet-untitled Halloween special has ended, with Golden Globe winning Mexican actor Gael García Bernal set to lead the cast of werewolf-focused show that will air on Disney+, TheWrap has exclusively learned.
The Halloween Special is eyeing to begin production in early 2022.
While details about the project are being kept strictly under wraps, individuals with knowledge say the character may be based on “Werewolf by Night,” the name used by two separate Marvel characters.
The first, Jack Russell, was created by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog based on concepts by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas, and first appeared in a 1972 issue of “Marvel Spotlight.” Russell starred on an ongoing “Werewolf by Night” series that ran for 43 issues and ended in 1977.
Russell is a descendant of the mystically-altered offshoot of humans known as Lycanthropes, who eventually becomes capable of transforming on his own volition even without a full moon, and retaining his intellect while transformed. Among other things, that series is notable for having the first appearance of Moon Knight, a character whose own Disney+ series, starring Oscar Isaac, will stream in 2022.
Marvel introduced a second incarnation of the character, Jake Gomez, last year in “Werewolf by Night” (Vol. 3) #1. Created by the writing team of Taboo, Benjamin Jackendoff and Scot Eaton, Gomez, a member of the Hopi Native American tribe whose family has been cursed with lycanthropy, comes in conflict with a nefarious pharmaceutical company exploiting members of the tribe.
It’s not clear which, if either, version of “Werewolf by Night” will serve as inspiration for the TV special.
With the introduction of Disney+, Marvel Studios is able to explore different narratives and storytelling on the streaming platform. Shows such as “Wandavision” (which had a Halloween themed episode), “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki” launched to great success on the platform. Marvel Studios most recently ventured into animation with “What If?,” which recently aired its first season. “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” most recently wrapped and will premiere during the 2022 holiday season.
Bernal most recently starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s “Old,” Pablo Larraín’s “Ema” and “Wasp Network” for Netflix. Bernal won a Golden Globe for his role as Rodrigo in “Mozart in the Jungle.” Bernal will next be seen in “Station Eleven,” the miniseries adaptation of Emily St. John Mandel’s hit novel which debuts Dec. 16 on HBO Max.
Bernal is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
Marvel could not be reached for comment.