Moon Knight (TV series)

2022 superhero television miniseries produced by Marvel Studios

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Moon Knight
Moon Knight (TV series) logo.jpeg
Genre
Created byJeremy Slater
Based onMarvel Comics
Starring
ComposerHesham Nazih
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes6
Production
Executive producers
ProducerPeter Cameron
Production locations
Cinematography
Editors
  • Cedric Nairn-Smith
  • Joan Sobel
  • Ahmed Hafez
Running time44–53 minutes
Production companyMarvel Studios
DistributorDisney Platform Distribution
Release
Original networkDisney+
Original releaseMarch 30 (2022-03-30) –
May 4, 2022 (2022-05-04)
Chronology
Related showsMarvel Cinematic Universe television series
Infobox instructions (only shown in preview)

Moon Knight is an American television miniseries created by Jeremy Slater for the streaming service Disney+, based on the Marvel Comics featuring the character of the same name. It is the sixth television series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to be produced by Marvel Studios, sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. Slater serves as head writer with Mohamed Diab leading the directing team.

Oscar Isaac stars as Marc Spector / Moon Knight and Steven Grant / Mr. Knight, two alters of a man with dissociative identity disorder (DID), with May Calamawy, Karim El Hakim, F. Murray Abraham, Ethan Hawke, Ann Akinjirin, David Ganly, Khalid Abdalla, Gaspard Ulliel, Antonia Salib, Fernanda Andrade, Rey Lucas, Sofia Danu, and Saba Mubarak also starring. The series was announced in August 2019, with Slater hired in November. Diab was hired to direct four episodes in October 2020, with directing duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead joining in January 2021 to direct the other two. Isaac was confirmed to star at that time, and used different accents to differentiate Spector's various identities. Filming took place from April to October 2021, primarily in Budapest as well as in Jordan, Slovenia, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Moon Knight premiered on March 30, 2022, and ran for six episodes, concluding on May 4. It is part of Phase Four of the MCU. The series has received positive reviews, with particular praise for Isaac's and Hawke's performances and the darker tone compared to previous MCU shows.

Premise

Marc Spector, a mercenary who has dissociative identity disorder (DID), is drawn into a deadly mystery involving Egyptian gods with his multiple alters, such as Steven Grant.[1]

Cast and characters

  • Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector / Moon Knight, Steven Grant / Mr. Knight and Jake Lockley:
    Marc Spector is a Jewish-American mercenary with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who becomes the avatar for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu,[1][2] with his alters being Steven Grant, a mild-mannered British gift-shop employee who becomes Mr. Knight, Grant's persona when he is Khonshu's avatar,[1][3]: 6–7  as well as Jake Lockley, a third, more ruthless alter.[4] Isaac "leaned into this Chicago guy who's pushing people away" for his portrayal of Spector, calling him a jerk,[2] while executive producer Kevin Feige described Spector as a "brutal" action hero[5][6] and said the series would not pull back from portraying the violence of the character.[6] Each of Spector's identities from his DID are distinct characters,[7] and were differentiated in the script by their attitudes. Isaac chose to take this further by giving them different accents.[8] He enjoyed being able to do "something really fucking nutty" with his portrayal, including exploring Spector's complex mind, and embodying each of the various personas was a technical challenge for him that required a lot of energy.[9] Isaac acted against his brother, Michael Benjamin Hernandez, as a double for scenes where multiple identities meet.[10] To prepare for the role, Isaac read Robert B. Oxnam's book A Fractured Mind which he called his "bible".[11] Isaac used his own American accent for Spector, and put on a London English accent for Grant that he suggested was intentionally "bizarre" and unconvincing.[8] He was inspired by the accents of the Jewish community living in Enfield, London, as well as English comedic performers such as presenter/actor Karl Pilkington from the British travel comedy series An Idiot Abroad,[12] and Peter Sellers.[13] Isaac added that Grant does not have great social skills and is "longing for connection". Grant has tension with Spector when the two personalities first become aware of each other.[2] Mr. Knight uses Grant's knowledge of ancient Egypt to help get out of conflicts with wits and puzzle solving, which is a contrast to Spector's Moon Knight persona.[3]: 7  Carlos Sanchez and David Jake Rodriguez portray Marc as a child and teenager, respectively.
  • May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly / Scarlet Scarab:
    An archeologist and adventurer,[14] who is Spector's wife and is aware he is Moon Knight.[15] El-Faouly was originally not Egyptian, a change lead director Mohamed Diab pushed for.[11] Calamawy described her character as someone with "a lot of healing to do", who "step[s] into herself more" and "develops more confidence and trust in herself" through supporting Spector. She drew inspiration from Middle Eastern women, who "have a very unassuming, soft strength to them".[16] El-Faouly becomes the Scarlet Scarab, the avatar of the Egyptian goddess Taweret.[17]
  • Karim El Hakim and F. Murray Abraham as Khonshu:
    The Egyptian moon god, an outcast amongst the gods for waging a "one-god war on perceived injustices", thus necessitating him to find and use his avatar, Marc Spector.[3]: 7  Creator Jeremy Slater called him an "imperious and sort of snotty and vengeful" deity, who is prone to temper tantrums and is dealing with his own insecurities.[2] El Hakim provided the on-set performance of the character[3]: 7  while Abraham voices the character.[18]
  • Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow:
    A religious zealot and cult leader associated with the Egyptian goddess Ammit looking to exact justice and judgement based on future crimes.[19] Harrow was Khonshu's previous avatar before Spector.[15] Hawke worked in tandem with Isaac to conceive Harrow as an opposite to Spector, wanting to perform inverse actions or emotions to him,[20]: 1:48–2:28  and saw Harrow as a mix between a monk and a doctor.[21] He was inspired for his performance by cult leader David Koresh,[22] psychiatrist Carl Jung,[23] Cuban president Fidel Castro, the Dalai Lama, writer Leo Tolstoy, Pentecostal televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, Nazi officer and doctor Josef Mengele,[6] and the fictional character Nurse Ratched,[20]: 3:03  as well as questioning what if Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs was a "bad guy".[6]
  • Ann Akinjirin as Bobbi Kennedy: A British police officer and follower of Harrow's cult.[24]
  • David Ganly as Billy Fitzgerald: A British police officer and follower of Harrow's cult.[24]
  • Khalid Abdalla as Selim: The avatar of Osiris and leader of the Ennead council.[25]
  • Gaspard Ulliel as Anton Mogart: A wealthy antiquities collector living in Egypt and an old acquaintance of Layla's.[26][27][28]
  • Antonia Salib as Taweret: The hippopotamus-headed Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility, who acts as a protector of mothers and children. Salib provides the voice and motion capture performance for the character.[29]
  • Fernanda Andrade as Wendy Spector: Marc's mother and Elias' wife.[30]
  • Rey Lucas as Elias Spector: Marc's father and Wendy's husband.[31]
  • Sofia Danu and Saba Mubarak as Ammit:
    The imprisoned Egyptian goddess that resembles a humanoid version of her classical depiction whom Harrow plans to release. Ammit is known as the "The Devourer of the Dead" and plans to cast her preemptive judgement on all of humanity. Danu provides the on-set performance, while Mubarak voices the character.[32]

Additionally, Lucy Thackeray, Saffron Hocking, and Alexander Cobb portray Grant's co-workers Donna,[33] Dylan,[34] and J.B.,[35] respectively. Shaun Scott portrays the living statue Crawley,[36] Díana Bermudez portrays Yatzil, the avatar of the Egyptian goddess of love Hathor,[25] Loic Mabanza plays Mogart's bodyguard Bek,[37] and Claudio Fabian Contreras portrays Spector's younger brother Randall.

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"The Goldfish Problem"Mohamed DiabJeremy SlaterMarch 30, 2022 (2022-03-30)
Steven Grant works at the British Museum in London where he hopes to become a tour guide using his knowledge of Ancient Egypt. After going to sleep one night, he wakes up in the Austrian Alps and witnesses a cult meeting led by Arthur Harrow, who demands a scarab Grant unknowingly has in his possession. As he attempts to escape, he has several blackouts and hears a mysterious voice in his head before waking up in his home. Grant realizes that two days have passed since he went to sleep. He finds a hidden phone and keycard in his apartment and receives a call from the most frequent number in the phone's call log, a woman named Layla who addresses him as Marc. The next day at work, Grant is confronted by Harrow who reveals that he is a servant of the Egyptian goddess Ammit. Grant escapes from Harrow but is forced to remain at work that night on his own to make up for being late. Harrow summons a jackal-like creature to attack Grant, but his "reflection" asks to take control of their body. Grant agrees, transforming into a cloaked warrior who kills the jackal.
2"Summon the Suit"Aaron Moorhead & Justin BensonMichael KasteleinApril 6, 2022 (2022-04-06)
Grant is blamed for the damage caused by the jackal creature, due to it not appearing on the museum's security cameras, and is fired. He uses the keycard to access a storage locker where he finds the scarab. He speaks with his "reflection", another identity in Grant's body that introduces himself as American mercenary Marc Spector, the current avatar of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Grant is confronted by Layla, Spector's wife, who is unaware of Grant's existence, before being arrested by police officers working for Harrow. Harrow reveals that he was Khonshu's previous avatar until he chose instead to follow Ammit. He explains that he wants to use the scarab to find Ammit's tomb and resurrect her so she can purge humanity of evil by wiping out everyone who has or will commit evil deeds. Layla rescues Grant, but Harrow summons another jackal creature. Grant manages to summon a suit of his own to fight the jackal, but is overpowered and allows Spector to take control. Spector kills the jackal but loses the scarab to Harrow. Khonshu threatens to claim Layla as his next avatar if Spector fails to stop Harrow.
3"The Friendly Type"Mohamed DiabBeau DeMayo and Peter Cameron & Sabir PirzadaApril 13, 2022 (2022-04-13)
Harrow and his followers discover the location of Ammit's tomb in the Egyptian desert. In Cairo, Spector and Grant both experience blackouts while tracking a lead to Harrow's location. After failing to gain information, Khonshu calls a council between his fellow Egyptian gods and their avatars to warn them of Harrow's plans, but Harrow successfully denies the accusation. Hathor's avatar, Yatzil, tells Spector to find the sarcophagus of a medjay who knew of the location of Ammit's tomb. Layla finds Spector and takes him to meet with Anton Mogart, an acquaintance of Layla's who owns the sarcophagus. Harrow arrives and destroys the sarcophagus, forcing Spector, Grant, and Layla to fight off Mogart's men and escape into the desert. Grant assembles some of the sarcophagus fragments into a star map, but it is two thousand years out of date. Khonshu uses his powers to briefly turn back the night sky to the correct night, allowing Grant and Layla to find the location of Ammit's tomb. The other gods imprison Khonshu in an ushabti for this, leaving Grant and Spector's body without Khonshu's powers.
4"The Tomb"Justin Benson & Aaron MoorheadAlex Meenehan and Peter Cameron & Sabir PirzadaApril 20, 2022 (2022-04-20)
Grant and Layla find a deserted campsite at the location of Ammit's tomb, which is a maze in the shape of the Eye of Horus. They discover that some of Harrow's men have been killed by undead Egyptian priests, who then attack Grant and Layla. Layla defeats the priests but encounters Harrow, who claims that Spector was one of the mercenaries who murdered her archaeologist father, Abdallah El-Faouly. Grant finds the tomb and discovers that Ammit's last avatar was Alexander the Great; he retrieves Ammit's ushabti from inside Alexander's body. Layla angrily confronts Spector, who reveals that his partner killed Layla's father and Spector himself before Khonshu revived Spector as his avatar. Harrow arrives and shoots Spector, who wakes up in a psychiatric hospital populated by people from his life. After escaping from Harrow, who appears as a therapist at the hospital, Spector finds Grant in a separate body trapped in a sarcophagus. They also see a second sarcophagus with someone else trapped inside before being greeted by a female hippopotamus-headed figure.
5"Asylum"Mohamed DiabRebecca Kirsch and Matthew OrtonApril 27, 2022 (2022-04-27)
The hippopotamus-headed woman is the Egyptian goddess Taweret, who explains that Spector and Grant are dead and the "psychiatric hospital" is a boat sailing through the Duat, the Egyptian afterlife. She weighs their hearts on the Scales of Justice to determine whether they can enter the Field of Reeds, but the hearts are imbalanced by hidden memories that she suggests they explore together. Grant sees a memory of Spector's younger brother Randall drowning and Spector's mother blaming him for it, while Spector shows Grant how he became Khonshu's avatar while on a mission with his partner Bushman, who murdered Layla's father. Spector and Grant convince Taweret to help them return to the living world so they can stop Harrow, and she steers the boat towards the Gates of Osiris. Spector reluctantly explains that he unknowingly created Grant as a result of their mother's abuse. Grant and Spector reconcile with each other, but their scales fail to balance and hostile spirits attack them, dragging Grant into the Duat where he turns to sand. The scales balance and Spector finds himself in the Field of Reeds.
6"Gods and Monsters"Mohamed DiabTeleplay by : Jeremy Slater and Peter Cameron & Sabir Pirzada
Story by : Danielle Iman & Jeremy Slater
May 4, 2022 (2022-05-04)
Layla receives a message from Taweret, telling her to find and release Khonshu so he can revive Spector. Harrow uses Ammit's power to slaughter the other Egyptian gods' avatars before releasing Ammit, who chooses him to be her new avatar, while Layla finds Khonshu's ushabti and releases him. Layla refuses to become Khonshu's new avatar, so he confronts Ammit alone and is overpowered. Meanwhile, Spector refuses to stay in the Field of Reeds alone, and chooses to return to the Duat and rescue Grant instead. With Taweret's help, they escape through the Gates of Osiris and awaken back in their body. Khonshu senses their return and bonds with them again, healing their body and restoring their powers. Layla discovers that Ammit can be defeated if several gods' avatars bind Ammit into a mortal body from a dying avatar, so she temporarily bonds with Taweret. Harrow, Ammit, and their followers begin judging everyone in Cairo, until Spector, Grant, Layla and Khonshu arrive to engage them in battle. Harrow overpowers Spector and Grant, and almost kills them until they both black out and reawaken to find that they have somehow brutally defeated him. Spector and Layla are able to seal Ammit into Harrow's body, imprisoning her again. Khonshu urges Spector to execute Harrow and Ammit, but Spector refuses and orders Khonshu to release him and Grant from their service. Spector and Grant find themselves in the imaginary "asylum" again, but reject it and choose to continue their new life together. In a mid-credit scene, a crippled Harrow is abducted from a psychiatric hospital and executed by Jake Lockley, Spector and Grant's third alter, who is still bonded with Khonshu.

Production

Development

The character Marc Spector / Moon Knight was to be introduced in the planned second season of Blade: The Series before its cancelation in September 2006. A potential spin-off series for the character had also been in development.[38] In October, Marvel Studios partnered with No Equal Entertainment to produce a separate television series featuring Moon Knight.[39] Writer Jon Cooksey was hired to develop the series by 2008, but it did not move forward.[40] James Gunn, the writer and director of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy films, said in January 2017 that he had discussed a Moon Knight film with Marvel Studios but did not have time to work on it;[41] he later said that he had mentioned the idea in passing to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and several others, but did not have a full pitch for such a film as had been reports on his initial comments had stated.[42] Feige confirmed in April 2018 that Moon Knight would be introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but questioned, "Does that mean five years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now?"[43]

In August 2019, Marvel Studios announced at the D23 conference that a series based on Moon Knight was being developed for the streaming service Disney+.[44] That November, Jeremy Slater was hired to serve as the head writer and executive producer of the series,[1][45] which consists of six 40–50 minute episodes.[46] Egyptian director Mohamed Diab was set to direct four episodes in October 2020,[47][48] as well as executive produce the series. Marvel had approached him "out of the blue" to present a pitch for Moon Knight,[47] which includes Egyptian mythology and characters that the superhero is associated with in the comics. Diab and his writer-producer wife Sarah Goher put together a 200-page document outlining their vision for the series, which included their intention to depict Egypt and Egyptian people in a more positive way than they felt had been done in previous Hollywood productions. Diab elaborated that American films and series often used Orientalist stereotypes such as portraying Egyptian people as exotic "guides and desert wanderers" or ignoring the fact that the Giza pyramids are beside Cairo, a modern city. He wanted to portray Egyptians as "normal human beings" and Egypt as a "normal place" like modern America, while also hiring other Egyptian crewmembers to work on the series.[49] He added that the series would be "hard, serious and about big topics" like many of his previous feature films.[47] By November 2020, director duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead were asked to create a pitch for the series, after previously having had discussions with Marvel Studios about finding a project to work on together.[50] They joined the series to direct the other two episodes in January 2021,[47][51] working alongside Diab to ensure a consistent approach to the series.[52] Marvel Studios' Feige, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, and Grant Curtis also serve as executive producers along with star Oscar Isaac.[53]

In February 2021, Feige said some of Marvel's series, including Moon Knight and She-Hulk, were being developed with the potential to have additional seasons made, in contrast to series like WandaVision (2021), which were developed as limited events that lead into feature films instead.[54] A year later, Isaac referred to Moon Knight as a limited series,[6][55] while Diab was unsure whether the series would continue.[56]

Writing

Michael Kastelein, Beau DeMayo, Peter Cameron, Sabir Pirzada, Alex Meenehan, Rebecca Kirsch, Matthew Orton, and Danielle Iman serve as writers on the series,[57] with an archeologist specializing in Egyptian tombs consulting with the writers.[58] Feige likened the series to the Indiana Jones franchise while exploring Egyptology,[7] two aspects that were a large part of Slater's pitch given that he wanted to tell a "dark, complex story" mixed with "big, fun, supernatural, Amblin-style magic".[58] Slater said he wanted the series to have a similar tone to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Ghostbusters (1984), and bring some horror aspects and monsters to the MCU. He wanted to push the limits with how dark a Marvel series could be, which Feige and Marvel Studios were supportive of.[59] Feige said there was a clear difference in tone between Moon Knight and the other Marvel Studios Disney+ series released at that point, adding that the studio worked with Disney+ to push the boundaries on how much of Moon Knight's brutality they could present in the series.[6]

Feige said Marc Spector's mental illness was a unique aspect of the series,[5] which primarily focuses on his psychological trauma.[60]: 54  Dr. Paul Puri, a board-certified psychiatrist and an assistant clinical professor at UCLA, served as a consultant for the series regarding its depictions of mental illness.[3]: 5  Diab did caution that though the creatives were respectful of dissociative identity disorder (DID), the series still exists in a fictional, supernatural world and some elements were "over-dramatize[d]".[11] He suggested using reflections to portray the conversation scenes between Grant and Spector, which became a recurring theme of Moon Knight.[61] The series draws on the character's more modern interpretations in the comics regarding Spector's DID, in which Spector loses a sense of time when he switches between his various personalities.[62][63] Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood's run in the comics served as inspiration, alongside Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey's 2014 run, which introduced Spector's Mr Knight persona.[58] Executive producer Grant Curtis noted the series explored identity and "finding one's true self", adding that Spector would look to "reconcile portions of [his] past, present and potential future that [he doesn't] necessarily agree with". Isaac believed the series would be "experiential" for viewers to connect with "the psychological horror of not knowing what's happening and the slow revelations of the truth" that came with portraying the character's DID. Slater added that the creatives took the series' depiction of mental health seriously, researching the disorder and aiming for Moon Knight to have a positive portrayal and message regarding mental health.[2] He said the series would not heavily feature the aspects of Moon Knight in the comics where he was a playboy philanthropist, since that version of the character had been likened to the DC Comics character Batman which was not a comparison that Slater wanted to make.[64] Slater added that exploring Spector's mental health allowed the character to be more than "a palette-swapped Batman clone", adding that Moon Knight was "his own greatest enemy in a lot of ways".[2] Isaac believed Moon Knight was "the first legitimate Marvel character-study" since Iron Man (2008),[9] with Curtis adding that Spector was like Stark for Marvel Studios in that he could be "built from the ground up".[3]: 2  Early in development, Steven Grant was the personality who became Moon Knight while Spector would have been Mr. Knight, but these were eventually reversed.[65] Each episode's end crawl concluded with a message encouraging viewers to visit the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness to learn more about DID.[66]

The supernatural elements inspired from the comics include various Egyptian gods, one of whom, Khonshu, manipulates Spector in a way that draws on their relationship from the comics, in "all its toxicity".[3]: 2, 7  Though the series is set in early 2025 in present day MCU,[3]: 3 [67][68] Curtis noted there were "no attachments" to other parts of the MCU.[3]: 2  Diab added that in building the series, the creatives realized that the character's story was "so psychologically complicated" and intriguing, that they did not need the "crutches" of referencing the MCU. Isaac said Moon Knight's "most important thing was an emotional truth to the journey that was happening" rather than its MCU plot ties. Moon Knight is set partially in London, despite the fact that in the comics, the character operates mainly in New York City, as a way to differentiate the series from the other MCU projects set in that city.[11]

Layla El-Faouly was created early on in the writing process as opposed to using Marlene Alraune because diversity was important to the writers room. The character's name was originally going to be Zayna Faoul.[69]

Casting

In October 2020, Oscar Isaac entered negotiations for the lead role of Spector,[70] and was said to have been cast in January 2021;[51][71] Marvel Studios officially confirmed the casting that May.[72] Isaac was initially hesitant to join the role, as he was wary of joining another franchise after experiencing how much time and effort was required to film the Star Wars sequel trilogy. He accepted the role after researching DID further and becoming fascinated with Grant's characterization for the series,[13] as well as being given creative freedom from Feige.[61] Richard Newby of The Hollywood Reporter felt Isaac's recent major acting roles could draw audiences unfamiliar with the character to the series, and that his Latino ethnicity could allow an examination of Judaism from different perspectives, rather than having the character be depicted as an Ashkenazi Jewish man like in the comics.[73] Isaac later confirmed that Spector would be portrayed as Jewish-American in the series.[2]

In January 2021, May Calamawy was cast in the "key role" of Layla El-Faouly,[58][74] and Ethan Hawke was cast as Arthur Harrow, the series' main villain.[75][76] Isaac had initially approached Hawke about joining the series, and Diab asked Hawke not to read the scripts before signing on because he wanted to develop the character with the actor. Diab was thankful that Hawke trusted him and Isaac enough to join them without seeing the scripts, which Hawke said he had not done in 35 years.[56] He explained that he joined the series because of Isaac, Diab, and where he felt he was in his acting career, and he enjoyed the creative freedom that came with the series telling a lesser-known story.[77] Though there is a minor character named Arthur Harrow in the comics, Hawke said the series' version was mostly an original creation,[60]: 54  believed to include elements of other Moon Knight characters such as the Sun King[62][78][79] and Morning Star.[60]: 54  Slater chose not to adapt Moon Knight's most prominent antagonist, Bushman, since he felt he was too similar to Black Panther (2018) villain Killmonger.[80] Gaspard Ulliel joined the cast by July 2021 as Anton Mogart,[26][81] in one of his last roles before his death in January 2022.[26] F. Murray Abraham was revealed to be voicing Khonshu in February 2022,[18] with Karim El Hakim providing the on-set performance of the character.[3]: 7  Ann Akinjirin and David Ganly also star as police officers and Harrow's followers Bobbi Kennedy and Billy Fitzgerald, respectively,[24] while Khalid Abdalla stars as Osiris' avatar Selim,[25] and Antonia Salib stars as the Egyptian goddess Taweret.[29]

Lucy Thackeray was revealed to be portraying Donna in the series' trailer, released in January 2022.[33] Additional castings were revealed ahead of the series' premiere in March, including Rey Lucas as Marc's father Elias Spector,[31] Fernanda Andrade as Wendy Spector, Marc's mother,[30] Saffron Hocking as Dylan,[34] Shaun Scott as Crawley,[36] Díana Bermudez as Yatzil,[25] and Sofia Danu as Ammit.[32] The majority of smaller Egyptian roles went to Egyptian actors, including those living in Budapest,[19] such as Ahmed Dash, Hazem Ehab, Amr Elkady, and Zizi Dagher.[82]

Design

Stefania Cella serves as the production designer,[3]: 8  working with Egyptologists and an Egyptian supervising art director to ensure historical accuracy in her sets. She meticulously worked on the smaller details to bring a realism to the sets. Her Chamber of the Gods set was three-stories tall and decorated with yellow hieroglyphs related to divinity, with the Burial Chamber set also featuring hieroglyphs and water and reflective surfaces to represent the series's themes of duality and identity.[3]: 9–10  Grant's attic apartment was constructed to resemble the pyramids, while Harrow's residence was made to be commune-style in the Spitalfields/dockyard part of London. The Mogart’s Mansion set included two Louvre-inspired glass pyramids that were built for filming.[3]: 9–10  Two Egyptian housing block sets were also built.[19]

Meghan Kasperlik serves as the costume designer.[83] Grant's costumes were meant to evoke the "coolness" of Brixton but with some elements "off", while Spector has a "desert look with a tactical, utilitarian and lighter costume". He also has a hoodie and vest with multiple functions which was foreshadowing for Moon Knight's cape effect.[3]: 11  Moon Knight's costume consists of armor and Ancient Egyptian bandages, with hieroglyphic-like symbols on his cape.[6][2][3]: 12  The moon crest on his chest, from which he spawns his crescent darts, contains the oath of Khonshu, while additional hieroglyphs on his trousers state "Rise and live again as my fist of vengeance. My Moon Knight."[84] His mummy bandage design is based on the Universe X version of the character from the comics, and was designed to conjure around Spector, giving it a supernatural quality and helping to differentiate it from similarly forming hero suits in the MCU that use nanotech. Feige suggested taking the bandage design and combining it with the character's more modern design in the comics.[85] For Mr. Knight, Kasperlik created a three-piece suit based on his design in the comics, with various homages to Khonshu in the design. She added designed sneakers to modernize the look.[3]: 12  The buttons on his waistcoat were created by metalsmiths, and also contained Khonshu's symbols.[84] The logic behind the designs of the Moon Knight and Mr. Knight suits was inspired by who each personality was, what they love, and their imagination. With Grant "completely away from the superhero world", he summons a costume that resembles a suit as Mr. Knight.[65][16] Arthur Harrow's costumes are "monk-like" inspired by real-life cult leaders, while El-Faouly has a more athletic look with Cairo and London influences.[3]: 12 

The series' main-on-end title sequence was designed by Perception.[86] Each episode's end credits feature a new phase of the moon, starting with a crescent moon in the first episode.[87]

Filming

Filming was expected to begin in March 2021,[88][89] and was confirmed to be underway by the end of April in Hungary.[90] The series was filmed under the working title Good Faith,[91][92] with Diab directing the first, third, and final two episodes and Benson and Moorhead directing the second and fourth.[11] Moorhead explained that he and Benson were "handed" the second and fourth episodes to direct, in part because of logistical reasons, but also because each of the episodes were designed to have "its own voice", though the first two episodes connect a little more closer to each other because the creatives were still "figuring out the production" then. He continued that the location of the fourth episode was "very much its own thing", allowing the duo to "cordon off a little bit", while the final two episodes are "their own voice from each other and from the rest of the episodes".[50] Gregory Middleton was the cinematographer for Diab and Andrew Droz Palermo served the role for Benson and Moorhead.[71][3]: 24–25  Soundstage work occurred at Origo Studios in Budapest.[3]: 8  The series was previously expected to begin filming on November 16, 2020, to last for 26 weeks, but this was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[89][92] Filming occurred at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest in April,[90] which served as exteriors for London's National Gallery,[3]: 10  and in Szentendre at the beginning of May.[93] In early June, outdoor night scenes were filmed at Madách Square in Budapest.[94] Various exterior locations in Budapest were found to stand-in for London, particularly the Brixton and Soho areas.[3]: 10–11 

Filming also occurred in Slovenia,[95] for one week in Wadi Rum, Jordan, and concluded in Budapest and Jordan by the beginning of October,[47][96] at which point production moved to Atlanta, Georgia.[47] It had wrapped by October 14.[97] Isaac said filming felt "handmade",[9] with Diab bringing local authenticity and attention to the smallest details such as including the correct text of a prayer over a shop.[60]: 54  Hawke was appreciative of the Egyptian Diab for leading the series, since he did not approach the series "with the eyes of an American", but as someone who had grown up in the country.[3]: 8  The production had hoped to film the series in Egypt but were unable to in part because of the country's political climate and censorship issues; Hollywood production had not been able to shoot in the country for some time.[19]

Additional photography was completed by mid-November,[98] and Diab said there was much less reshooting required for the series than on other Marvel Studios projects, occurring over four days.[65] He, Isaac, and Hawke attributed this to the large amount of rehearsing and discussing that they did before filming each episode, including regular Sunday brunches with the main cast and crew. Hawke said these meetings helped form a "collective imagination" for the series that made it easier to switch between Diab's episodes and those directed by Benson and Moorhead, since the "imaginative force behind it was the same".[52]

Post-production

Cedric Nairn-Smith serves as an editor on the series for the first and sixth episodes, Joan Sobel for the second and fifth episodes, and Ahmed Hafez for the third and fourth episodes, while Sean Andrew Faden serves as the visual effects supervisor.[3]: 26–28  Visual effects for the series were created by Framestore, Image Engine, Mammal Studios, Wētā FX, and Zoic Studios.[99]

Music

External audio
audio icon Hesham Nazih – Moon Knight (From "Moon Knight"/Audio Only) presents composer Hesham Nazih's main theme for the series as heard on the first episode's soundtrack, YouTube audio-only video from MarvelMusicVevo's channel

Egyptian composer Hesham Nazih had composed the score for the series by early March 2022 in his first major English language project.[82][100] Diab was drawn to Nazih to score the series because his work "encompasses authentic Egyptian elements in a very contemporary way",[19] with the music helping to break Egyptian stereotypes by revealing some of the country's lesser-known contemporary art to international audiences; Diab described it as a "beautiful score that is Egyptian, but it's international at its core, it's universal".[49] The series' soundtrack used a mixture of older and newer songs as a way to showcase Cairo's music scene, which has similar sensibilities to the West, without resorting to songs that would feel like they were from the Middle Ages.[19] Marvel Music and Hollywood Records released the first episode's end-credit track from Nazih, "Moon Knight", as a digital single on March 30, 2022,[101] followed by the series' soundtrack album on April 27.[102]

Moon Knight (Original Soundtrack)[102]
No.TitleLength
1."Moon Knight"2:10
2."The Village"1:36
3."Village Scales"2:13
4."Phone and Elevator Blues"2:09
5."Chaos Within"3:37
6."Full Moon Fight"2:13
7."Storage Locker"2:36
8."What Suit?"2:48
9."Moonlight Fight"3:19
10."Fake Passport"2:33
11."She Is Here"4:37
12."The Sky"2:34
13."The Boat"2:05
14."Takes the Body"3:06
15."Constellation"4:16
16."No Suit"3:29
17."The Kiss"1:54
18."Eye of Horus"1:11
19."Welcome Travelers"1:42
20."Weight of Hearts"2:33
21."The Cave"2:56
22."All Your Fault"1:55
23."Open the Door"1:45
24."Give Her a Call"3:12
25."The Inevitable"5:15
26."Humble Disciple"4:15
27."Befriending Myself"3:32
28."Rise and Shine"2:43
29."We Need More"1:30
30."New Skillsets"6:08
31."I'll Never Stop"2:36
32."Meet My Friend"0:37
33."Summon the Suit"2:17
Total length:85:22

Marketing

The first footage of the series debuted on Disney+ Day on November 12, 2021.[103][104] A trailer was then released on January 17, 2022, during the 2021–22 NFL playoffs,[105] with James Whitbrook at Gizmodo noting that it gave a full look at the character following the brief Disney+ Day footage. He said the costume was faithful to the comic book version, "albeit more textured-looking".[105] Richard Newby at The Hollywood Reporter felt the trailer was "relish[ing]" in the general audience's lack of knowledge about the character by maintaining a sense of mystery. He felt the series looked like it would be one of the darkest and most original projects from Marvel Studios,[62] which was echoed by his colleagues Aaron Couch and Borys Kit, who said the trailer suggested "something unlike any other Marvel show".[106] Isaac's British accent for the Steven Grant identity received mixed responses from viewers, and Isaac himself made fun of it in a video where he and Hawke reacted to the trailer. Isaac later said the accent was intentionally unconvincing.[8] The trailer was viewed over 75 million times in 24 hours, which was better than trailers for Marvel Studios' other Disney+ series, except The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's Super Bowl LV trailer which had 125 million views. Additionally, its social engagement of 263,000 mentions were the highest of any Disney+ Marvel series for their first content release.[106] An additional trailer aired during Super Bowl LVI on February 13,[107] which continued to keep the series mysterious while depicting its "darker sensibilities", according to Screen Rant's Rachel Labonte.[108] Ben F. Silverio of /Film said the shots of Moon Knight's cape "flung out into the shape of a crescent moon" and the character catching his moon-shaped weapons were the "coolest".[109] RelishMix reported the trailer had 9.49 million views in 24 hours across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.[110]

The "Marvel Must Haves" merchandise program, which reveals new toys, games, books, apparel, home decor, and other merchandise related to each episode of Moon Knight following an episode's release, started for the episodes on April 1, 2022.[111] QR codes were included in the first two episodes allowing viewers to access a free digital comics featuring Moon Knight.[112] The comics released for the first, second, third, and fourth episodes were Werewolf by Night #32 and #33, Moon Knight #3, and Universe X #6, respectively.[112][113]

Release

Moon Knight debuted on Disney+ on March 30, 2022.[114] It consists of six episodes,[46] releasing weekly until May 4.[115] A special screening occurred on March 16 at Cine Capitol in Madrid,[116] and on March 17 at the British Museum in London,[117] with the red carpet premiere on March 22 at El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles.[118][119] It is part of Phase Four of the MCU.[120]

Reception

Moon Knight: Critical reception by episode

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 88% approval rating with an average rating of 7.65/10, based on 205 reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Its entertainment value may wax and wane a bit, but Moon Knight ultimately settles into a mostly enjoyable—and refreshingly weird—spot in the MCU firmament."[121] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 69 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[122]

Matt Webb Mitovich at TVLine gave the series' first four episodes an "A−", saying it "subvert[s] and perhaps wildly exceed[s] any tempered expectations", enjoying the unpredicatability the series brought compared to Marvel Studios' other Disney+ series centered on established characters. Mitovich also praised the visuals of Moon Knight and the acting, particularly that from Isaac.[27] Variety's Daniel D'Addario believe there was a "freshness" to Moon Knight that helped overcome the overwhelming feeling some of the MCU induces, with a series that would be "enticing even for those outside the fandom". Praise went to Isaac and Hawke's acting and to Marvel Studios for expanding outside their normal conventions, though D'Addario noted the series "drags a bit" through the middle part of the story, while receiving "a much-need kickstart" at the end of the fourth episode.[123] Giving the first four episodes of the series four out of five stars, James Dyer wrote in his review for Empire that Moon Knight was "a boldly bonkers affair that manages to capture the same giddy joy imbued in Hawkeye and Loki", delivering "something that feels genuinely different from any corner of the MCU yet explored". He added, however, that "the larger narrative is at times less compelling than the quirky character work".[124]

Daniel Fienberg was more critical of the series, thinking the series was "more successful as an Oscar Isaac acting exercise than a superhero thrill-ride". Fienberg was frustrated by the lack of Moon Knight and clarity to his skill set and stated the series "feels intended less as a TV show and more as an explanation for why viewers would want to watch the character eventually [join up with other MCU characters]." He did appreciate Diab's culturally-appropriate depictions of Egypt.[125] Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall gave the series 3 out of 5 stars, enjoying Isaac's performance as both Grant and Spector, but feeling there was "precious little to feel excited about" in the series beyond that. Though Sepinwall became more engaged by the conclusion of the fourth episode since the story pivots "more into the darkness inherent in the character", he did not have high hopes for the series conclusion given past MCU Disney+ series faltered in their finales and the character's history of "being more exciting in theory than reality".[63]

Documentary special

In February 2021, the documentary series Marvel Studios: Assembled was announced. The specials go behind the scenes of the making of the MCU films and television series with cast members and additional creatives.[126] The special on this series, Assembled: The Making of Moon Knight, will be released on Disney+ on May 11, 2022.[127]

Future

In November 2019, Feige stated that after introducing Moon Knight in the series, the character would cross over to the MCU films.[128] Diab stated in March 2022 that he felt the character would be part of the MCU for the next ten years, and expressed his hope that Moon Knight would eventually get his own feature film.[56] At the time of the series' premiere, Isaac had not signed on to return as the character in future projects.[11] Diab hoped a potential second season would be able to film in Egypt.[19]

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External links

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