Fans finally get to welcome Oscar Isaac to the MCU. As promised, Marvel Studios dropped the official trailer for its forthcoming series, Moon Knight, during the NFL Super Wild Card matchup, along with a new poster. Isaac plays the title role: a former mercenary with multiple personalities who becomes the avatar of an Egyptian moon god.
Moon Knight is one of the lesser known characters in the Marvel Comics pantheon. The son of a rabbi, Marc Spector is marked at a young age by the Egyptian moon god Khonshu to be the god’s avatar on Earth. But Khonsu is a supernatural entity with many aspects to his nature—and also exists out of phase with normal time and space—so forging a psychic connection with the human Marc has a bad effect on the young man’s mental health.
Marc develops dissociative identity disorder (DID), eventually becoming a mercenary with his buddy, Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp. He is hired by the ruthlessly amoral Raoul Bushman for a job, in which the latter kills an archaeologist who has uncovered an Egyptian tomb. Marc saves the archaeologist’s daughter, Marlene, leading to a major fight with Bushman. Marc loses the fight and is left for dead, but the locals carry him into the tomb and leave him in front of a statue of Khonshu. Khonshu revives and heals the dying Marc.
When Marc returns to the US, he channels all the money he made from being a mercenary into fighting crime as Moon Knight, recognizable by his silver cape. He has four distinct identities in the comics: a billionaire businessman named Steven Grant, a taxi driver named Jake Lockley, a suited consultant named Mr. Knight, and a little red-haired girl simply called Inner Child.
That’s the basic origin story according to the comics, at least, and chances are the new series will incorporate a good chunk of it, while also taking a few liberties (as it should). Plans to introduce the character of Moon Knight into film and TV adaptations have been around since at least 2006, when Blade: The Series. The intent was to introduce the character then. Instead, the series was cancelled, and a potential spinoff series never transpired. James Gunn admitted in 2017 that he’d pitched a Moon Knight film to Marvel, but ended up not having the time to develop it further.
It wasn’t until the 2019 D23 conference that Marvel announced there was a Moon Knight series in development for Disney+, created by Jeremy Slater. Isaac was cast in October 2020, and last February we learned that unlike the standalone WandaVision (a one shot miniseries intended to lead into the MCU Phase Four feature films), Moon Knight was among the Marvel series that might get additional seasons on the streaming platform.
Marvel debuted the first footage from the six-episode series last November during its Disney+ Day, briefly showing Isaac in character, musing about how he couldn’t tell the difference between his waking life and dreams. There wasn’t much in the way of detail, but we did catch a glimpse of what looked like a golden statue of Khonshu reflected in a mirror. And on Monday we got a brief teaser with much of the same footage.
We know that the series will share continuity with all the films in the MCU. May Calamawy and Ethan Hawke play as-yet-undisclosed roles, although Hawke has said he found inspiration for his character in cult leader David Koresh. Also, Marvel CEO Kevin Feige (the executive producer) has compared the series to the Indiana Jones franchise, with a focus on Egyptology (so, like 1999’s The Mummy.) And we now have an official synopsis:
The series follows Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.
The new trailer opens, again, with Steven (Isaac) lying awake in bed tossing a Rubik cube into the air as he muses on his “sleep disorder”—before waking up suddenly from that “dream” in a panic. We see him disoriented and barely staying awake on the subway and at his museum job. Then he finds a cell phone and some keys in a cubbyhole; when the phone rings and he answers, a woman’s voice calls him “Marc.”
“The voices in your head—there’s chaos in you,” Hawke’s character (who does indeed resemble Koresh) tells Marc/Steven. “Embrace the chaos.” That seems to be the secret to merging all those disorienting personalities into Moon Knight, as we see the telltale cape and body armor cover his body—followed by one brief shot of the caped figure leaping, Batman-like, across two rooftops.
Moon Knight will premiere on Disney+ on March 30, 2022.
Listing image by YouTube/Marvel Studios