The upcoming Disney+ series will propel MCU Phase 4, with a new, intriguingly brutal hero at the center of it.
By: Yasmine Abdeldayem
The Marvel Cinematic Universe broadens every year and notable television series like “WandaVision” and “Hawkeye” add substance to beloved characters beyond action-packed theater experiences like “Avengers: Endgame”.
Phase Four of the MCU has not shied away from uncharted territories. Characters that were often sidelined in the major Avengers-level threats of prior films—such as Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff—were handed the reins to their own plots in Disney+ numerous limited series. But entirely new characters are receiving their share of the spotlight, too.
On March 30, “Moon Knight” will premiere on Disney+. Following the November through December 2021 run of “Hawkeye”, it will be the sixth series in Marvel Studios’ MCU—and the first of many to highlight a new hero.
The series initially focuses on Steven Grant, played by Oscar Isaac—a gift shop employee whose own mind just might be his worst enemy. In the trailer, viewers only skim the surface of the troubling overlap between Grant’s real life and scenes from his dreams.
One prominent clip displays Grant in an elevator, believing with utter terror that Khonshu, the Egyptian moon god, is stalking toward him—until it turns out to be a harmless old woman.
As confirmed in Marvel’s recent synopsis of the series, Grant soon discovers that he has dissociative identity disorder and is sharing bodily space with none other than the “Moon Knight” identity that comic book readers likely know best: Marc Spector.
While the trailer leaves quite a bit to be desired in the tumultuous journey of this mysterious character, fans can turn to comics for more clarity on exactly who the Moon Knight is.
The hero was created by writer Doug Moench and first appeared in the 1975 comic, “Werewolf by Night” #32. Since then, the character has also starred alongside beloved comic-book characters like Spider-Man and Daredevil.
Before he became the Moon Knight, Marc Spector was a mercenary and worked with Raoul Bushman (who later became an enemy of the Knight). After Bushman murders an innocent doctor in Egypt, Spector attacks him and is ultimately defeated.
Before he can take his final breath in the Egyptian desert, Spector is resurrected by the moon deity, Khonshu. Of course, the miracle is performed under a condition: Spector must agree to become Khonshu’s warrior during his renewed time on Earth—the Moon Knight.
The first iteration of the hero’s cloaked white ensemble was assembled from the shroud at Khonshu’s temple. Not long after that suit-up, Bushman was his first target.
Later in the comics, Spector makes his way to New York City to prepare for the vigilante lifestyle that awaits him. Here, it becomes evident why many have referred to the character as Marvel’s version of Batman. The Moon Knight uses his identity as millionaire Steven Grant to gather much-needed intel on New York’s most elite criminals.
The upcoming series is taking an interesting approach by centering Steven Grant before the prominent identity of Marc Spector. Rather than thrust viewers into the fray of mercenary work in the heat of the desert, it appears that the first episode or two will take the time to work through Grant’s mind-altering confusion about what is or isn’t real—and who he really is.
“Moon Knight” also marks Marvel Studios’ exciting venture into more mature content in its productions. This week, the UK Disney+ bumped up the show’s rating from 12+ to 16+. The adjustment reflects the statement previously made about the titular character by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige: “he’s brutal” and his series will propel a significant “tonal shift” in the MCU.
Viewers have witnessed what’s possible with these raised maturity ratings in Netflix’s Marvel shows, “Daredevil” and “The Punisher”. “Moon Knight” is the hopeful revival of such content in the MCU, preceding what could be a long run of shows and films in the Marvel universe that delve into the darkest corners of its extensive comic history.
“Moon Knight” will run for six episodes starting March 30. It is unclear whether a season 2 is in the works as it has been for other Disney+ series, such as “Loki”, but director Mohamed Diab and the main cast are equipped to make the most of their limited airtime.