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‘Moon Knight’ wraps its character study inside a superhero mystery

Oscar Isaac plays two characters in Marvel Studios’ “Moon Knight.”
(Marvel Studios)

“Moon Knight”
Disney+

One of Marvel’s more obscure superbeings, Moon Knight is an agent of the deranged Egyptian god Khonshu, who operates him through two human avatars, mild English museum shop clerk Steven Grant and American adventurer Marc Spector (both played by Oscar Isaac). Or it may all just be in one of those guys’ minds.

The reviews: TV Guide’s Matt Roush lauded the “thrilling fun as Steven’s hysteria mounts upon waking from blackouts and mayhem. When the fantastical intrigue shifts from London to Egypt, the exhilarating action scenes have a rollickingly slapstick Indiana Jones-like quality.” But while praising Isaac’s all-in portrayal of a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder, CNN’s Brian Lowry felt “this series proves almost as hard to decipher as a moonless night.”

The scoop: Head writer Jeremy Slater (“The Umbrella Academy”) and his staff sifted through 47 years’ worth of wildly different comic book takes on “Moon Knight.” They felt similar confusion would make the show stand out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“The idea was, if we’re doing a character study, let’s wrap it up inside a mystery,” Slater notes. “Let’s withhold crucial pieces of information from the audience. We knew we could get away with that because Moon Knight is such an unknown character.”

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Egyptologists and D.I.D. experts were consulted to make sure the scripts were as accurate and respectful as a show about a caped crusading mummy could be.

“This is something we haven’t seen before in the superhero space,” Slater says. “It’s a scary, weird journey into one man’s battle with his mental illness. There are lots of fun Marvel flourishes throughout; if you just want a show about monsters and gods and tombs, you’re gonna get your fill. But I tried to impress on our writers’ room that people in vulnerable states are going to be watching, and we need to make sure that whatever message we’re sending about mental health is ultimately positive and helpful.”

From characters’ comic book backstories to the Marvel series’ pantheon of Egyptian gods, keep our guide handy as you watch “Moon Knight” on Disney+.


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