Another day, another Marvel Cinematic Universe expansion! With ‘WandaVision’ aiming to premiere before the end of this year, Marvel is said to be looking for a new set of characters to lead the continuation of the universe. That being said, fans were treated with the announcement that we will soon be able to see She-Hulk (with Tatiana Maslany tapped to play She-Hulk) and Ms Marvel (played by Iman Vellani, Marvel’s first Muslim cast in a titular role) on Disney+ in their own TV series’, we can now expect to see another (lesser-known, but just as complicated) Marvel character come to life on the small screen. Joining She-Hulk and Ms Marvel is ‘Moon Knight’, with 41-year-old ‘ X-Men: Apocalypse’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Dune’ star, Oscar Isaac in talks to play the role.
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According to Deadline, now that Isaac is ending his run with the Star Wars franchise, he is in talks with both Marvel and Disney+ to take up the mantle of the complex hero. We say ‘in talks’ as there has yet to be a confirmation from the relevant parties and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a deal has yet to be closed (negotiation for the terms of the contract and all that). However, it is safe to say that, as negotiations are underway, Isaac is – for now -‘Moon Knight’.
Who is Moon Knight and what are his powers?
‘Moon Knight’ debuted in the pages of WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #32 in 1975 before eventually getting his own solo series in 1980. The character is sometimes compared to DC’s ‘Batman’ (for reason that will soon be explained) but in short, ‘Moon Knight’ is one of the Marvel Universe’s most visible heroes to live with mental illness, a vessel for an ancient Egyptian God and, when needed, a killer.
Behind ‘Moon Knight’ is, Marc Spector is the son of a rabbi, former boxer and a Marine, and finally a CIA operative turned mercenary. After an Egyptian mission gone wrong (he’s betrayed by his employer), he’s saved by the moon god Khonshu (depicted as the god of vengeance or justice) – who offers him a second chance at life on the condition that he agrees to become his avatar on Earth. The powers granted to him by Khonshu included increased strength, speed, endurance. prophetic visions and dreams, and the ability to drain another person’s life energies through physical contact – all of which grew and shrank based on the moon cycle. Marc Spector eventually takes on various personas – cabbie Jake Lockley and millionaire playboy Steven Grant – in order to better fight the criminal underworld. While ‘Steven Grant’ the millionaire helps Spector distance himself from his former life, ‘Jake Lockley’ the taxicab driver helps him stay connected to the criminal world.
So while both Spector and Bruce Wayne have fighting abilities and the money to back them up, the differentiating factor between ‘Moon Knight’ and ‘Batman’ is the significance of their alter-egos. Charlie Huston, writer of the 2006 re-launch of ‘Moon Knight’, pointed out that while ‘Batman’ is Bruce Wayne’s persona when he fights, ‘Moon Knight’s ” alter egos aid him in both dealing with the criminal element and in dealing with his own personal demons”.
As a result of these multiple personas (or better known as dissociative identity disorder), writers and artists have even alluded to the fact that ‘Moon Knight’ as the vessel for the God Khonshu is merely a fantasy crafted to help Spector deal with his inexplicable powers. One possible story arc that the Disney+ series could take is to answer the question: is Khonshu real or just another aspect of Spector’s struggle with mental illness?
On top of that, ‘Moon Kight’ has also had moments with the Avengers, including one storyline that paints ‘Moon Knight’ as a major villain in the MCU. According to Marvel Comics,
“The deity’s overwhelming influence led to Spector accepting Avengers membership against his will, but he left the team over a disagreement with the Avengers’ code against killing.”
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So when can we expect ‘Moon Knight’?
Unfortunately, there is no confirmed date for the release of ‘Moon Knight’. What we do know, is that it is 100% happening. The series has already brought on Jeremy Slater (‘The Umbrella Academy’) as the series showrunner/head writer and Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab (‘Clash’,’Cairo 678′) as director. Movie pundits expect that we could be seeing ‘Moon Knight’only in 2022, or even 2023 – what with ‘Wandavision’, ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’, and ‘Loki’ slated to air from this year through 2022.
*Cover image credits: 'Moon Knight' : Marvel Comics Oscar Isaac: David Slijper for Esquire Magazine