Warning: This article contains spoilers for Moon Knight.
Oscar Isaac stars as Marvel’s newest superhero, Disney+’s Moon Knight, and here’s what you need to know about the MCU superhero. Isaac comes to the MCU having starred in several high-profile Hollywood movies over the last several years, is best remembered for playing Poe Dameron, one of the three main characters in Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy. Inevitably, Oscar Isaac’s casting in Moon Knight created plenty of buzz during the lead-up to the show’s release.
Moon Knight has been likened to Marvel’s version of Batman, given his more brutal approach to superheroism than some of the MCU’s other heroes. He is also a far more complex figure, thanks to living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the prospect of him interacting with other MCU heroes is as exciting as it is complicated. From Moon Knight episode 1 onwards, Marc Spector and Steven Grant’s stories will be revealed in reverse, as Steven discovers his origin and ties to Khonshu the Moon God as the audience does. The comics offer some insight into what those revelations might entail.
As one of the MCU’s darkest entries to date, Moon Knight inevitably faces both high expectations and plenty of scrutiny, and that much is amplified by his being a brand new character to the franchise. And Moon Knight episode 1 consciously avoids revealing Marc Spector and Steven Grant’s mysterious past and their links to the Moon God Khonshu, as well as guarding exactly what Moon Knight’s powers are. Luckily, Moon Knight’s comic book history can shine some light on some of the details the Disney+ show ignores. Here’s everything you need to know about Moon Knight.
Who Is Moon Knight? Marvel Comics Origin Explained
Introduced in the pages of Werewolf by Night #32 in 1975, Marc Spector is the son of a Jewish rabbi and had spent time as a heavyweight boxer and as a Marine. After leaving his career in the Marines behind, Spector began hiring himself out as a mercenary until one job sent him to an excavation site in Egypt. While there, he suffered a critical injury and was left for dead. Though death appeared inevitable for the mercenary, he was miraculously saved by a mysterious force revealed to be Khonshu, the Egyptian God of the Moon. In a vision, Spector spoke to Khonshu, who offered him a second chance at life by giving him the opportunity to become his appointed champion. Spector took the offer and became the costumed vigilante known to the people of the Marvel Universe as Moon Knight.
As Moon Knight, Spector was a street-level superhero in the same vein as Daredevil, a recent Disney+ addition as well. For the most part, Moon Knight operated solo, but has occasionally worked with teams of heroes like the West Coast Avengers and the Midnight Sons. That being said, Moon Knight (by his own admission) is not a team player and does better on his own. While headlining his own comic, he developed a rogues’ gallery of his own and battled a number of unique threats alongside his love interest Marlene Alraune and his pilot Frenchie.
One of the most complex aspects of Moon Knight as a character (and a delicate issue for Disney to handle in Moon Knight) is that Marc Spector lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder. In the comics, Marc Spector serves as his primary, while his alters include Steven Grant, a billionaire who owned an estate that he was able to purchase with the money he made from his work as a mercenary, and Jake Locksley, a taxicab driver who had a complete family life of his own. Crucially, as part of his DID, Marc Spector is not always aware of what his alters have been doing and this becomes a central part of his experience and his story, as showcased in Moon Knight episode 1.
Moon Knight Powers Explained
Thanks to Khonshu’s decision to save Marc and make him his champion, Moon Knight was gifted with abilities superior to those of any mortal human. He possesses enhanced strength, agility, and endurance that correspond with the phases of the moon. For instance, when the moon is full, Moon Knight’s power is at its height. As Moon Knight episode 1 reveals, Moon Knight has a healing factor as part of his link to Khonshu, is incredibly strong when wearing the mystical armor, and appears to have even more ferocious fighting skills than Spector’s military past would suggest.
Since he can’t always depend on the moon, Marc relies on an arsenal of gadgets similar to the kinds of weapons wielded by DC’s Batman. He carries a staff, crescent-shaped boomerangs, darts, bolas, and more. Due to his military and mercenary experience, Marc is well-trained in close combat, perhaps his greatest asset is his trademark unpredictably. To his fellow superheroes, Moon Knight is known for fighting recklessly and, sometimes, irrationally. One example of this happened when Moon Knight had to go up against Black Knight, a swordsman who outmatched him in terms of skill, during his stint with the West Coast Avengers. To deal with this, he startled Black Knight by throwing himself in front of his sword. Black Knight, terrified of killing his opponent, recoiled and was swiftly defeated by Moon Knight.
What To Expect From Moon Knight’s Future In The MCU
For Moon Knight’s MCU debut with Oscar Isaac, audiences can certainly expect a level of violence and darkness hitherto unknown to the MCU. While the Disney+ series might not be as hard-edged as the likes of Netflix’s Daredevil, which is rated TV-MA, Marc Spector’s DID and ruthless fighting style will make Moon Knight a mature, though fascinating, watch that earns every moment of its TV-14 rating. As for the ways in which Moon Knight ties into the MCU, the word from its producers and actors is that Marvel has offered the new series a healthy dose of creative freedom to explore Moon Knight on his own without forcing inorganic tie-ins. Moon Knight episode 1 already suggests that to be the case, so it may be foolish to expect a future in which Oscar Isaac becomes an Avenger any time soon. Thus, while Moon Knight is an MCU series and Isaac’s Marc Spector could appear in future projects, the main subject of the Disney+ series will be Moon Knight himself.
Why Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight Casting Was Controversial
Although Isaac’s status as a well-known actor will help bring attention to a Marvel Comics character who is yet to be a household name, his casting in Moon Knight was rather controversial. Unlike many of the Marvel stars who came before him, such as Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth, Isaac is already an A-list celebrity, meaning he may not be as free to give his character center stage; Marc Spector may end up playing second fiddle to Oscar Isaac. Likewise, some of Moon Knight’s Oscar Isaac casting problems stem from fan concerns that Isaac, whose roles tend towards a mastery of more subtle acting, might not be a good fit to illustrate the high-energy, chaotic range of Moon Knight’s DID alters. Finally, the fact that Oscar Isaac isn’t Jewish begs the question of why he was chosen to play a character whose Jewish identity is central to his arc and development. Despite all this controversy, Isaac’s fame is sure to bring Moon Knight plenty of attention one way or the other.
New episodes of Moon Knight release every Wednesday on Disney+.
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