Moon Knight will feel fairly disconnected from the rest of the MCU – and it’s that separation from the wider mythology that drew in stars Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke.
Speaking to IGN, Isaac said the plot’s separation from the wider Marvel multiverse is ‘definitely’ what drew him to the role (s) of Steven Grant / Marc Spector / Moon Knight (the protagonist, who suffers from a multiple personality disorder, and is an Earthly avatar of an Egyptian god). Isaac made clear that, in part, it’s because it reminded him of his favorite MCU movie:
“For me, my favorite Marvel film is still the first Iron Man. You know, it’s the one that feels like it’s breaking through in some way, and it has such an indelible performance, [where] Downey comes in and just owns every minute that he’s on screen. It also feels quite adult, and it’s messy, ’cause it’s the first one, you know? So I like that a lot.
“[Moon Knight] was a similar approach, where we’re building this thing from the ground up. It’s still in the universe, but that’s not part of the plot, that’s not part of the story – it rests on its own terms, and it’s really an internal exploration of this person. So this person is not connected to any of his reality di lui that is happening – that’s part of his problem di lui, whether it’s Marvel or not. So it really just tries to get into the skin of this guy. “
Ethan Hawke, who plays mysterious new villain Arthur Harrow, agreed that a standalone story was “absolutely the turn-on” for taking the role – and revealed one of his favorite MCU movies too:
“I love – you know, when you first see Iron Man, or when I first saw Black Panther – where I don’t know the origin story, I don’t know all the characters, I get to really be told a new legend . And I was so happy when we first talked about this that it was disconnected, because it gives us so much more freedom. And as an audience member it’s what I want, I want to not know what’s going to happen. […] It gives it a little more originality, it gives us a chance. “
Moon Knight isn’t just disconnected from the MCU, but the oncreen version also feels distinct from the comic book version of the character – most notably turning British billionaire Steven Grant into a mild-mannered gift shop employee. Isaac said those changes are in their own way appropriate for a comic book character who’s undergone multiple major changes over the decades.
“I did do a deep-dive into the comics, but the thing is when you look at the comics – you know, it’s been around since 1975 – and it has changed wildly from time to time,” Isaac explained. “It’s the kind of character that, every time there’s a new writer, they just move their lens onto something that’s interesting to them: They add a whole new backstory, they add different powers, they take away certain powers, they give him a new costume. I feel like more than many of the ones that I’ve seen, he’s so mutable. “
“And there’s no consistent villain,” interjected Hawke. “So it was really free terrain for us to pick and choose – kind of like the writers do with the comics, we could pick and choose what we like about it: ‘That’s too violent, that’s not violent enough.'”
This became part of the process not just for Moon Knight’s TV writers, but the actors, who were searching for a brand new version of their charcaters, not just an adaptation.
“Jeremy Slater and his team of writers,” continued Isaac, “they kind of cracked the structure of the whole thing. They said,“ Alright, we know that we want to go with Steven Grant, that’s our way in, we’re not going to make him a billionaire playboy, like a Bruce Wayne clone, we’re gonna actually turn it on its head. And [the actors] inherited that and then, for us, it was the same process of, ‘OK, well here’s the structure, now what do we find the most interesting and the most emotionally compelling, and let’s focus it all on that.’ “
Marvel Cinematic Universe: Every Upcoming Movie and TV Show
It will be interesting to see where Marvel takes this new Moon Knight, not just within the series, but beyond. While the show is listed as a single limited series – much like WandaVision before it – Hawke says that it has the potential to be “the origin story of a larger thing.”
Moon Knight will debut on Disney + on Wednesday, March 30. Marvel is promising a “brutal” show, which has been described as “Fight Club meets Indiana Jones.” The show stars Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant / Marc Spector / Moon Knight, Hawke as Arthur Harrow, May Calamawy as Layla, and F. Murray Abraham as the voice of Egyptian god Khonshu.