Moon Knight is an American television miniseries created by Jeremy Slater for the streaming service Disney+, based on the Marvel Comics featuring the character of the same name. It is the sixth television series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to be produced by Marvel Studios, sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. It follows Marc Spector and Steven Grant, two alters of a man with dissociative identity disorder (DID), as they are drawn into a mystery involving Egyptian gods. Slater serves as head writer with Mohamed Diab leading the directing team.
Oscar Isaac stars as Marc Spector / Moon Knight and Steven Grant / Mr. Knight, with May Calamawy, Karim El Hakim, F. Murray Abraham, Ethan Hawke, Ann Akinjirin, David Ganly, Khalid Abdalla, Gaspard Ulliel, Antonia Salib, Fernanda Andrade, Rey Lucas, Sofia Danu, and Saba Mubarak also starring. The series was announced in August 2019, with Slater hired in November. Diab was hired to direct four episodes in October 2020, with directing duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead joining in January 2021 to direct the other two. Isaac was confirmed to star at the time; he used different accents to differentiate Spector’s various identities. Filming took place from April to October 2021, primarily in Budapest as well as in Jordan, Slovenia, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Moon Knight premiered on March 30, 2022, and ran for six episodes, concluding on May 4. It is part of Phase Four of the MCU. The series received positive reviews, with particular praise for the performances (particularly Isaac, Calamawy and Hawke), the darker tone compared to previous MCU series, and its portrayal of DID.
- Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector / Moon Knight, Steven Grant / Mr. Knight, and Jake Lockley:
A man with dissociative identity disorder (DID), whose identities are distinct characters, and were differentiated in the script by their attitudes. Isaac chose to take this further by giving them different accents. He enjoyed being able to do “something really fucking nutty” with his portrayal, including exploring Spector’s complex mind. Embodying each of the personas was a technical challenge for Isaac that required a lot of energy. Initially, Isaac would film all the material for one character and then switch to the other. Once he got more comfortable and “a handle” on both, it was easier for him to switch between the two, sometimes in the same moment. His brother Michael Benjamin Hernandez served as his body double, allowing Isaac to act against someone for scenes where both Marc and Steven meet. To prepare for the role, Isaac read Robert B. Oxnam’s book A Fractured Mind, which he called his “bible”.
- Marc Spector is a Jewish-American mercenary who becomes the avatar for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Isaac used his own American accent for Spector, and “leaned into this Chicago guy who’s pushing people away” for his portrayal of Spector, calling him a jerk. Executive producer Kevin Feige described Spector as a “brutal” action hero, and said the series would not pull back from portraying the violence of the character. Carlos Sanchez and David Jake Rodriguez portray Spector as a child and teenager, respectively.
- Steven Grant is a mild-mannered British gift-shop employee who becomes Mr. Knight, Grant’s persona when he is Khonshu’s avatar. Isaac put on a London English accent for Grant that he suggested was intentionally “bizarre” and unconvincing. He was inspired by the accents of the Jewish community living in Enfield, London, as well as English comedic performers such as presenter/actor Karl Pilkington from the British travel comedy series An Idiot Abroad, and Peter Sellers. Isaac added that Grant does not have great social skills and is “longing for connection”. Grant has tension with Spector when the two personalities first become aware of each other. Mr. Knight uses Grant’s knowledge of ancient Egypt to help get out of conflicts with wits and puzzle solving, which is a contrast to Spector’s Moon Knight persona.
- Jake Lockley is a third, more ruthless alter. Lockley speaks in Spanish, with Isaac enjoying being able to bring that element of his own life to the role instead of just “trying to pay service to some idea that was in the comics”. Isaac noted Lockley has something “ominous about him” and more control than Spector or Grant. Head writer Jeremy Slater believed it was unclear if Lockley had good intentions or not, only that he has a secret arrangement with Khonshu that Spector and Grant are unaware of, and seems to be “much more on board” with his mission.
- May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly / Scarlet Scarab:
An archeologist and adventurer, who is Spector’s wife and is aware he is Moon Knight. Lead director Mohamed Diab and his wife Sarah Goher were “huge champions” of the character since she was how the series was representing Egypt. Calamawy described her character as someone with “a lot of healing to do”, who “step into herself more” and “develops more confidence and trust in herself” through supporting Spector. She drew inspiration from Middle Eastern women, who “have a very unassuming, soft strength to them”, as opposed to Western actresses, such as Angelina Jolie who had portrayed the tomb-raiding Lara Croft. Calamawy called El-Faouly a street fighter, and wanted her stunts to reflect that by having them be reactionary and not choreographed or clean. In the final episode, El-Faouly becomes the MCU version of Scarlet Scarab, the temporary avatar of the Egyptian goddess Taweret; this name was revealed by Marvel.com following the series’ finale. Diab pointed out that at the moment, she did not receive her powers from the scarab, but ultimately felt what the character represented was more important than her name.
- Karim El Hakim and F. Murray Abraham as Khonshu:
The Egyptian moon god, an outcast amongst the gods for waging a “one-god war on perceived injustices”, thus necessitating him to find and use his avatar, Marc Spector. Slater called him an “imperious and sort of snotty and vengeful” deity, who is prone to temper tantrums and is dealing with his own insecurities, adding he was more interested in a version of the character that had “his own moral failings and weaknesses” rather than one who was “always right and impervious to mistakes”. Abraham called Khonshu “outrageous” and “capable of doing anything and charming his way out of it”. As well, Abraham believed Khonshu was unselfish and willing to sacrifice himself the same way he demands sacrifice from others. El Hakim provided the on-set performance of the character while Abraham voices the character.
- Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow:
A religious zealot and cult leader associated with the Egyptian goddess Ammit looking to exact justice and judgment based on future crimes. Harrow was Khonshu’s previous avatar before Spector. Hawke worked in tandem with Isaac to conceive Harrow as an opposite to Spector, wanting to perform inverse actions or emotions to him, and saw Harrow as a mix between a monk and a doctor. He was inspired for his performance by cult leader David Koresh, Cuban president Fidel Castro, the Dalai Lama, Pentecostal televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, writer Leo Tolstoy, fictional character Nurse Ratched, and Nazi officer and doctor Josef Mengele, as well as questioning what if Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs was a “bad guy”. Psychiatrist Carl Jung was also an inspiration, particularly when Hawke portrays the psychiatric doctor version of Harrow.
- Ann Akinjirin as Bobbi Kennedy: A British police officer and follower of Harrow’s cult.
- David Ganly as Billy Fitzgerald: A British police officer and follower of Harrow’s cult.
- Khalid Abdalla as Selim: The avatar of Osiris and leader of the Ennead council.
- Gaspard Ulliel as Anton Mogart: A wealthy antiquities collector living in Egypt and an old acquaintance of Layla’s.
- Antonia Salib as Taweret: The hippopotamus-headed Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility, who guides souls through the Duat. Salib provides the voice and motion capture performance for the character.
- Fernanda Andrade as Wendy Spector: Marc’s mother, and Elias’ wife.
- Rey Lucas as Elias Spector: Marc’s father, and Wendy’s husband.
The character Marc Spector / Moon Knight was to be introduced in the planned second season of Blade: The Series before its cancellation in September 2006. A potential spin-off series for the character had also been in development. In October, Marvel Studios partnered with No Equal Entertainment to produce a separate television series featuring Moon Knight. Writer Jon Cooksey was hired to develop the series by 2008, but it did not move forward. James Gunn, the writer and director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, said in January 2017 that he had discussed a Moon Knight film with Marvel Studios but did not have time to work on it; he later said that he had mentioned the idea in passing to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and several others, but did not have a full pitch for such a film as had been reported on from what he initially stated. Feige confirmed in April 2018 that Moon Knight would be introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but questioned, “Does that mean five years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now?”
In August 2019, Marvel Studios announced at the D23 conference that a series based on Moon Knight was being developed for the streaming service Disney+. That November, Jeremy Slater was hired to serve as the head writer and executive producer of the series, which consists of six 40–50 minute episodes. Egyptian director Mohamed Diab was set to direct four episodes in October 2020, as well as executive produce the series. Marvel had approached him “out of the blue” to present a pitch for Moon Knight, which includes Egyptian mythology and characters that the superhero is associated with in the comics. Diab and his writer-producer wife Sarah Goher put together a 200-page document outlining their vision for the series, which included their intention to depict Egypt and Egyptian people in a more positive way than they felt had been done in previous Hollywood productions. Diab elaborated that American films and series often used Orientalist stereotypes such as portraying Egyptian people as exotic “guides and desert wanderers” or ignoring the fact that the Giza pyramids are beside Cairo, a modern city. He wanted to portray Egyptians as “normal human beings” and Egypt as a “normal place” like modern America, while also hiring other Egyptian crewmembers to work on the series. He added that the series would be “hard, serious and about big topics” like many of his previous feature films. By November 2020, director duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead were asked to create a pitch for the series, after previously having had discussions with Marvel Studios about finding a project to work on together. They joined the series to direct the other two episodes in January 2021, working alongside Diab to ensure a consistent approach to the series. Marvel Studios’ Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, and Grant Curtis also serve as executive producers along with star Oscar Isaac, with Goher as a consulting producer, and Nick Pepin as the production and development manager for the series.
In February 2021, Feige said some of Marvel’s series, including Moon Knight and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, were being developed with the potential to have additional seasons made, in contrast to series like WandaVision (2021), which were developed as limited events that lead into feature films instead. A year later, Isaac referred to Moon Knight as a limited series, while Diab was unsure whether the series would continue.
March 30, 2022
- E01 – “The Goldfish Problem”
- E02 – “Summon the Suit”
- E03 – “The Friendly Type”
- E04 – “The Tomb”
- E05 – “Asylum”
- E06 – “Gods and Monsters”
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