Disney+ has been keeping all things “Moon Knight” under wraps tighter than a mummy’s gauze. Luckily for those of us who seek context in our comic adaptations, the Marvel antihero’s origins and eccentricities has been explored in dozens of comic issues since his introduction in the 1970s.
Of course, the company likes to scramble and remix its stories when characters are introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so there’s a lot we can’t possibly know ahead of its premiere.
Marvel dropped some crumbs of information before “Moon Knight” landed on Disney+ Wednesday. As you gear up to watch the series, you may have a few questions: Who is this Moon Knight guy after all? How does Ethan Hawke factor into this whole mess? And what’s the deal with Oscar Isaac’s “cockney” accent? We’ll attempt to answer these and more.
So, uh, who is Moon Knight?
Listen, we could tell you what the comics tell us, but we’re not sure where the series is headed yet. Here’s what we do know the series spills about Moon Knight’s identity, based on its public logline:
We start off with Steven Grant, an ordinary British gift shop employee who’s been plagued by weird visions/nightmares/flashes of another life. Turns out, those visions are real, and they belong to Marc Spector, a mercenary who shares Grant’s body – Marvel pins it on dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder. (So we won’t spend all six episodes with Isaac’s Michael Caine-esque accent.)
Moon Knight is just another facet of Grant/Spector’s personalities – one, it seems, Grant is entirely unaware of. Until the events of the series, that is! Oh, and to confuse you even more, there are several versions of Moon Knight within Grant/Spector, too. Say hello to Mr. Knight!
Who’s Ethan Hawke playing?
Hawke told Collider this month that he’s appearing as antagonist Arthur Harrow. In the interview, he said he considers Arthur “part monk” and compared the character to Nurse Ratched from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” someone whose resolute belief in what they’re doing is right results in others’ destruction. He’s also rocking a wispy wig, a malevolent version of Fabio’s mane.
We’re not sure how the two meet in the series, but based on its trailers, Harrow definitely knows Spector well. Too well, perhaps?
But he’s not even Moon Knight’s archnemesis. In the comics, that honor belongs to Raoul Bushman, a terrorist who left Spector for dead in the Egyptian desert – more on Spector’s relationship with Egypt below.
What’s the Egypt connection?
If you don’t want to know an essential piece of Moon Knight’s backstory, stop reading here.
So. Bad guy Bushman leaves Spector for dead in Egypt, conveniently near a statue of the Egyptian god Khonshu. A severely wounded Spector thinks he hears Khonshu speak to him, encouraging him to take up the mantle of the “moon’s knight.” Revived – and perhaps armed with some superheroic abilities – Spector starts anew.
It’s likely not a coincidence that Moon Knight’s costume in the series wraps around him like linen around a mummified body.
We also know the great F. Murray Abraham is voicing Khonshu in the series, so we’ll likely get a version of this origin story.
Who’s working behind the scenes?
The entire series is directed by Mohamed Diab, an Egyptian filmmaker whose previous films have been set in Egypt and focused on social issues like sexual harassment or the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Jeremy Slater is the series’ showrunner, and he developed the superhero series “The Umbrella Academy” and penned the screenplay for a “Fantastic Four” reboot that was less than well-received.
Also appearing are Gaspard Ulliel, the late French actor, and May Calamawy, best known for her work in “Ramy,” as a figure Spector knows but Grant doesn’t. What will their arcs entail? We’ve got no clue! The Marvel machine is incredible at keeping secrets! We’ll just have to watch and see as “Moon Knight” starts streaming on Wednesday.