An Introduction To The Moon Knight Universe

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Moon Knight is finally arriving this week, and with it comes a new host of expectations for Disney+ and the darker side of the Marvel Universe. The character of Moon Knight does not lend itself to upbeat and heroic tales. He is a mercenary at his very core, and with that comes a whole host of operating procedures that typically do not accompany the heroes of comics. Moon Knight isn’t afraid to take a hit; in fact, he prefers to take hits as it means he’s close enough to do the most damage. Perhaps most crucially, Moon Knight is not afraid to kill, and this puts him in a category of a few select heroes who know that sometimes you have to cross the line that heroes think they can avoid crossing. 

When Oscar Isaac took the role of Marc Spector, a Jewish mercenary with Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as split personalities, he knew that doing this character justice would mean taking on quite a bit from an acting perspective, and he’s embraced it to the fullest. The reason it’s such a challenge is that every one of these identities has a distinct and robust personality of its own. That means he’s not just playing one character, but closer to five or six, and each of them is very different from the next. Let’s take a closer look at what we can expect from the Moon Knight series.

Moon Knight’s Principle Identity & the Hero Himself

The principal personality behind Moon Knight is the personality of Marc Spector. Spector is a Jewish man from Chicago. His father was a Rabbi, and Marc went in a completely different direction first, joining the Marines. He then joined the C.I.A. as an operative before settling into the financially productive role of mercenary along with his best friend and “guy-in-the-chair,” Jean-Paul DuChamp, who is affectionately known as “Frenchie.” The two of them were on a job in the Middle East when things went cockeyed, and Spector witnesses a fellow mercenary, Raoul Bushman killing a man in front of his daughter.

The murder prompts Spector to fight Bushman off and leaves him mortally wounded. Marlene, the woman whose life Marc saved, drags him in front of a statue of the Egyptian moon god known as Khonshu. While Spector dies, he is revived by Khonshu and claims that he is now the avatar of Khonshu, known as the Moon’s Knight or the “Left Fist of Khonshu.” Much is made of this being, but the audience is never entirely sure if he is real or just imagined by Spector. There is no resolution on this matter until decades and decades after Moon Knight’s launch as a character. I won’t be spoiling it here, so you’ll have to watch the show to find out what’s real and what isn’t.

Moon Knight: The Identities and Their Personalities

As previously stated, each of Spector’s personalities has its own job, life, and accent. These aren’t just minimal personalities, either. They’re fully functioning humans who genuinely believe their own stories. You’ll meet these personalities throughout the show, and this section will serve as a bit of a cheat card for you to remember which identity is which and how to figure out which one you’re dealing with at any given moment. Marc Spector is the primary personality, but he’s far from the only dominant personality.

Steven Grant is Spector’s billionaire businessman identity. Jake Lockley is the taxicab driver personality, and then you have Mr. Knight, who is a suited consultant. We have seen other personalities emerge, but the show will likely focus on these three as they’re the most steady in the comics. Each character has a distinct look, as well: Mr. Knight wears all white and the Moon Knight mask, even when doing business. Lockley looks like a typical New York cabbie, and Steven Grant is your typical-rich-white-looking-billionaire. That alone should help you narrow it down.

Moon Knight: The Main Villain & The Lover

We have covered much of this information already, but let’s get down to some specifics. Ethan Hawke will be playing Arthur Harrow. Harrow is described as a religious zealot and cult leader who worships the “Devourer of the Dead,” also known as Ammit in Egyptian lore. We know very little about this character or his relationship to Moon Knight or Bushman. Harrow and Ammit seem to be taking the place of Bushman as the primary antagonist for this series, something I’m largely okay with since Bushman is just another version of Billy Russo from The Punisher. Let’s get some more interesting villains in there, and Ammit looks to be one.

The lover will not be called Marlene Alraune, but instead will be referred to as Layla El-Faouly. This is another change I am fine with in the end. It’s more likely that a man working in the Middle East would have an archaeologist who reflects the area of study, and Marlene was just another blonde lover. I’ll take new characters with depth over cookie-cutter characters any day of the week. The actor playing El-Faouly is May Calamawy, an Egyptian-Palestinian actress. I’m very excited to see what her character brings to the table and if she and Spector will become a couple as they did in the comics.

Conclusion

Moon Knight is one of the Disney+ shows that I have been looking forward to the most. As a character, Moon Knight rubs right up against the Punisher, which is my wheelhouse for Marvel. The characters embrace a similar philosophy and routinely find each other on missions as they tend to focus on the same prey. These are trained killers who love a fight and are not afraid to get dirty. It’s the side of heroism that is often covered in darkness because we don’t want to think about what they have to do so that we don’t have to do it.

Additionally, the show is deviating from the comics on two major fronts, and I’m excited to see what Arthur Harrow and Layla El-Faouly give us in terms of story, passion, and fun. We’ll still get to see Bushman, who is played by Loic Mabanza, but this story seems very much about Spector and Hawke. Additionally, this will be the final performance of Gaspard Ulliel, who tragically died after filming his role as the Midnight Man for the series.

Moon Knight premieres March 30th on Disney+.

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