Oscar Isaac is in talks to star as Moon Knight in the upcoming Disney+ series, which will be just one of several iconic heroes confirmed to be getting a streaming series set in the MCU. A Moon Knight series may just fill that Daredevil-shaped hole in our lives!
But who is Moon Knight, and why is he so often referred to as “Marvel’s Batman”? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Marc Spector and his special brand of super-powered insanity.
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Moon Knight: The Basics
When mercenary Marc Spector was attacked and left for dead in the Egyptian desert, he was given a second chance at life by the god Khonshu. In exchange for his life, Spector became the avatar of Khonshu and the protector of “those who travel by night.” Spector returned to New York and devoted his considerable fortune to becoming a costumed crime-fighter and defending the innocents of the city.
There’s just one problem – few people believe Marc Spector was actually visited by an Egyptian moon god. Spector also suffers from dissociative identity disorder, periodically lapsing into other personalities like streetwise cab driver Jake Lockley and millionaire playboy Steven Grant. Even he is sometimes forced to question whether he’s truly having visions of Khonshu or simply sliding into insanity.
Moon Knight’s Powers and Abilities
The main reason comic fans like to compare Moon Knight to Batman is that both are men who devote their wealth and training to beating up criminals by night. Marc Spector is both rich and well-versed in various forms of armed and unarmed combat. As his occasional nemesis Taskmaster has pointed out, Moon Knight is a reckless brawler with little regard for defense. To mitigate that problem, many of his suits are constructed from near-unbreakable metals like adamantium or carbonadium.
Moon Knight has a full arsenal of moon-themed weapons and gadgets, including throwing darts, staves and even a custom-built “Mooncopter.” He also has silver-coated weaponry he used when hired to hunt down misunderstood hero Jack Russell (aka – Werewolf by Night).
Spector has also been shown to have a degree of superhuman strength, though that strength ebbs and flows with both the phases of the moon and his connection to Khonshu. It’s also been speculated that his strength isn’t actually supernatural in origin, but a bizarre form of self-hypnosis that fools Spector’s body into performing otherwise impossible feats (picture James McAvoy’s character from the movie Split).
Moon Knight: Origin and Background
Created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, Moon Knight actually debuted as a villain in 1975’s Werewolf by Night #32, where he was hired by a sinister organization called The Committee to hunt down Jack Russell. But after discovering The Committee’s true intentions, Moon Knight turned against them and helped Russell escape. Moon Knight quickly began appearing in other titles like Marvel Spotlight and Spectacular Spider-Man, before becoming the star of a recurring backup feature in Hulk! Magazine.
Early on, Moon Knight was often dismissed as a Batman clone, and it wasn’t until he gained his own monthly series in 1980 that he truly began to carve a unique niche in the Marvel Universe. That series established his full origin story and connection to Khonshu, along with setting up Moon Knight’s supporting cast (including trusty pilot Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp and recurring love interest Marlene Alraune). Moon Knight also gained a rogues gallery of his own during this period, including his arch-nemesis Bushman, the villain responsible for leaving Spector to die in the desert… though as a later story established, Moon Knight paid him back in kind by carving Bushman’s face off.
Much like his powers, Moon Knight’s popularity level and status quo have varied at times. His solo series has been canceled and revived on numerous occasions, and he’s also served on teams like the West Coast Avengers and the Secret Avengers. Following a period of relative obscurity in the ’90s and early ’00s, Marvel reinvigorated the character by piggybacking on major storylines like Civil War and bringing in crime novelists like Charlie Huston and Gregg Hurwitz to revamp Moon Knight’s world.
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Recent Moon Knight stories have often worked to significantly reinvent the character. For instance, the 2011 Moon Knight series casts Marc Spector as an aspiring Hollywood producer trying to make a TV show about his own life. That series also eliminates his traditional split personalities, replacing Jake Lockley and Steven Grant with imaginary versions of Spider-Man, Wolverine and Captain America.
The 2014 Moon Knight series has proven especially influential, drawing equally from the horror genre and martial arts movies like The Raid: Redemption. In that series, Spector masquerades as both Moon Knight and “Mr. Knight,” a white tuxedo-clad detective who consults for the NYPD. Don’t be surprised if this comic in particular influences the tone and direction of the Disney+ series.
Moon Knight: Oscar Isaac and Beyond the Comics
Moon Knight has made several appearances in Marvel’s animated TV projects, including a Christmas-themed episode of Ultimate Spider-Man (voiced by Diedrich Bader) and multiple episodes of Avengers Assemble (voiced by Gideon Emery). He’s also appeared as a playable character in a number of Marvel-branded video games, including Marvel Ultimate Alliance, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel Future Fight.
Marvel has made several attempts to bring Moon Knight to live-action television over the years. The character is actually mentioned in the first episode of Spike TV’s Blade series, with the intent of having Moon Knight appear in a future episode. Unfortunately, Blade’s cancellation cut those plans short. Marvel and No Equal Entertainment announced plans for a separate Moon Knight series in 2006, but that show never materialized. Rumors also surfaced in 2015 that Netflix was considering a Moon Knight series as part of its growing Marvel lineup.
Instead, Moon Knight will make his live-action debut thanks to the upcoming Disney+ series. Variety reported in October, 2020, that Oscar Isaac was in talks to play the character, but little else has been revealed about the show so far. Still, it will clearly be set in the MCU, leaving the door open for potential film appearances as well.
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