Comics On TV

Everything We Know About Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac stars as the Marvel mercenary with an identity crisis. Find out what Moon Knight's powers are and who's behind the latest Marvel TV series.

by | January 18, 2022 | Comments

To a certain extent, Moon Knight has been the most mysterious of the Marvel Studios projects coming to Disney+. Until a trailer reveal during the NFL Super Wild Card playoff game, footage was scarce, official photos essentially non-existent, and the tone was — well, a mystery unto itself. Would it continue Hawkeye’s more grounded (if funny) sense of action? Would it go for something weirder like Loki or WandaVision or would establish something new for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Moon Knight could literally be any, all, or none of what came before.

Thanks to the trailer (and an ad aired during the Big Game), we have a better sense of the upcoming series with a few answers to examine. Besides learning when it will launch, we also got some clues to Moon Knight’s (Oscar Isaac) mental state and how he will fit into Marvel’s latest phase. Does it means monsters (in the European folklore sense) are coming out to play in the MCU? Let’s take a look at everything we know about Moon Knight to find out.

Spoiler alert: Those unfamiliar with the Marvel’s Moon Knight comic book series may find some of the following information too revealing. Stop reading here to avoid spoilers. 

What Are Moon Knight’s Origins?

Moon Knight (2016) #200

(Photo by Marvel)

Introduced in Werewolf by Night #32, Moon Knight (created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin) began as a mercenary hired to bring the Werewolf to the nefarious Commission — they even gave him his distinctive white suit! Despite the character’s own stated dislike of the costume, he became popular among Marvel’s editorial team and popped up in various titles until, finally, 1980’s Moon Knight #1 established him as soldier of fortune who seemingly died at the hands of a would-be warlord named Bushman and became the emissary of the Egyptian god Khonshu following his apparent resurrection. And as the earlier appearances revealed, he would continue his activities by adopting various personas like cabbie Jake Lockley and Marc Spector.

From the trailer, we know the story begins with Marc existing as “Steven,” a man who apparently works at the British Museum and has a problem discerning dreams from reality. Making things more disorienting: his story starts in London instead of the traditional Marvel Manhattan. But it soon becomes clear that “Steven” is another one of his identities as, halfway through the trailer, he finds a cellphone and someone calling him “Marc” on the other end.

Unless, of course, it is all a dream.

Taking the character at face value, though, he might feel a little bit like the Dark Knight. That’s not exactly a coincidence as they are both fight crime at night and use heavily branded, custom tech. But that was not the original intention. Squadron Supreme’s Nighthawk is the most intentional Marvel riff on the Batman, leaving Spector as a good candidate for a television series.

What Are Moon Knight’s Powers?

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight trailer screencap

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Traditionally, Moon Knight relies on his fighting prowess, a few gadgets — like the crescent-moon-shaped throwing weapons and glider cape glimpsed in the ad aired during February’s Big Game — and an occasional moment of mystical inspiration to see him through his struggles. He also occasionally possesses enhanced strength during the fuller phases of the moon. The trailer suggests some of that may be happening as well, which tracks with the times he possesses supernatural healing abilities and a knack for cheating certain death. Whether that’s Khonshu handing out a hall pass or something else entirely is up to interpretation; in fact, that ambiguity already appears to be on display in the series trailer and the subsequent Big Game ad. For one thing, we see Spector transform into Moon Knight via some pretty incredible (and possibly supernatural) means. It could be part of his dreams and not indicative of how actually he suits up to fight — if he even suits up for real at all during the series, but if we take the final moment of the character leaping across a British street at face value, then he clearly has  some superhuman abilities in the program’s reality. Which might be for the best if Moon Knight serves as a series to introduce more of the supernatural aspects of the MCU.

Moon Knight trailer screencap

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Note the shot with Moon Knight pummeling some sort of creature. Is it possible Werewolf by Night will also make his debut in this series? If so, the arrival of a werewolf and European folklore creatures means Blade will not be the beginning of Marvel’s horror-inspired content. Moon Knight may punch through that door to clear the way. Rumors of both Werewolf by Night and Dracula appearing in the show have persisted since 2019 and there’s good reason to believe the character he is fighting in the trailer is a werewolf.

Provided, of course, the scene is actually occurring.

Who’s in the Cast of Moon Knight?

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight trailer screencap

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Leading the series is Isaac as Spector and his other personas. Although, it is interesting that the trailer gives us more time with Steven than Marc, Moon Knight, or any of his other alters. According to the series synopsis Disney released alongside the trailer, Steven (last name: Grant) is the primary persona we will see throughout the program. Described as a “mild-mannered gift-shop employee who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life,” he discovers he shares a body with Marc. The pair must learn trust and balance the use of their form as they are “thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.” The Big Game ad features Steven himself saying he cannot discern his waking life from his dreams, so it is possible Marc and Moon Knight are part of some phantasm. But it is equally possible it is all happening and the fractures in in Steven/Marc’s persona is how he copes with being Khonshu’s hand on Earth.

It is an interesting take as comic book fans know Marc is more or less the original persona, or, at least, the name he was born with. Steven, as it happens, is a billionaire back in the comics. We’ll assume his primacy here sets him up as an almost Hitchcock everyman with Marc and Moon Knight offering up more competence and conventional courage. Well, provided neither is a figment of Steven’s imagination.

Ethan Hawke in Moon Knight trailer screencap

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Also on board is Ethan Hawke. In the subtitles of the YouTube version of the trailer, his character is identified as Arthur Harrow, who appears to be a self-help guru or cult leader. Back in the comics, Harrow was a disfigured scientist hoping to discover a way to stop all the pain receptors in the human body. Unfortunately, he was using old Nazi research to achieve his goal and the results were an army of zombie-like soldiers Moon Knight had to fight. The character only appeared in one issue of Moon Knight, so it is entirely possible the use of the name here is misleading. Back when word of Hawke’s participation first surfaced, reports linked him to a variation of Bushman. Some also suggested he may be Randal Spector, Marc’s brother who become a mercenary himself and adopts two other identities: Hatchet-Man and Shadowknight. That latter could make for a classic “hero’s mirror image” type villain — a la Yellowjacket or Iron Monger.

Additionally, actors May Calamawy and Gaspard Ulliel are reportedly part of the cast. Their roles have not been confirmed, but it is possible for Calamawy to play Layla — the voice on the other end of Marc’s cellphone in the trailer — who could be Moon Knight comics character Lyla DeCriscio. Ulliel is said to be playing Anton Mogart, another Moon Knight adversary in the comics who steals art and goes by the name “Midnight Man.”

Who Are the Shepherds of Moon Knight?

The key reason we hope the series leans more into the supernatural dimension of the MCU is executive producer and head writer Jeremy Slater. He can do some great things with the genre, having produced the way-better-than-it-should-be Exorcist TV series. Legend also tells he delivered a script for Fox’s Fantastic Four that more closely aligned with its comic book roots. Joining him on this journey are directors Mohamed Diab, Justin Benson, and Aaron Moorhead. Diab is said to have helmed four of the program’s six episodes, with Benson and Moorhead sharing duties on the remaining two. Filming took place in Hungary across 2021.

When Does Moon Knight Premiere?

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight trailer screencap

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Moon Knight is scheduled to debut on March 30. Presumably, it will stream all of its episodes weekly – although it is always possible the first two episodes will premiere together, as happened with WandaVision and Hawkeye. But unlike those programs, Moon Knight stands out as it has no obvious or immediate ties to a preexisting MCU film or show. Each of the previous shows built off viewer recognition of a character, an event, or even just an idea (looking at you, What If…?), but Moon Knight lacks for an obvious tie to older projects and we cannot wait to discover what that means.

Additionally, Moon Knight may return in a second season. Last year, Feige said both it and She-Hulk were designed to continue. Of course, the status of any Marvel show can change, with Loki – originally pitched as a limited series like WandaVision – already planning a return appearance on Disney+ in the next few years. Also, if the series introduces Werewolf by Night or Dracula, it will create a curious lead-in for Blade in 2023.

Again, provided that all of this isn’t just in Steven Grant’s head.

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