With any new hero, there generally comes a new villain. And in Marvel’s newest series “Moon Knight,” that villain is the chillingly calm Arthur Harrow. But as it happens, Ethan Hawke didn’t look to other villains in pop culture for inspiration on being scary; he looked to real life “television preachers.”
Episode 2, now streaming on Disney+, makes a pretty big reveal about Harrow too: he used to be the Moon Knight. Or rather, he was Khonshu’s avatar as Marc Spector and Steven Grant are now. (The actual name Moon Knight has yet to be dropped). As he explains everything he’s done up to this point to Steven, we learn that Harrow has delivered “justice” almost blindly.
As always, he’s quiet and calm — almost likable at times. And that likability was an intentional piece thrown in by Hawke.
“I did a kind of strange thing, which is I decided I didn’t want to really draw from villains,” Hawke told TheWrap in March. “I wanted to pick people I admired because I thought I could do a better portrait of somebody if I didn’t think of them as a bad guy.”
But yes, there were a few very specific names and types that Hawke kept in mind. You can watch TheWrap’s full conversation with Ethan Hawke in the video above.
“I remember when I was younger, I went through a phase where I was just in love with Leo Tolstoy. And at the end of his life, he became a little megalomaniacal,” Hawke continued. “He became like a cult figure. And he actually was really wise. You know, he was teaching Mahatma Gandhi. You know, I mean, he was a beautiful person. But he started thinking he had all of life figured out for everyone. And it gets a little creepy, because it just, it lacks any humility.”
He continued, “So I had this image of old Leo Tolstoy and also this image of the Southern Baptist kind of television preachers who were like, super clean cut and always said the right thing, but they gave you a kind of creepy feeling like they were lying to you somehow. That was just my feeling as a kid in Texas. I would get scared of these guys. And I thought that that would be an interesting combination to make you uncomfortable with everything he says is warm and kind. But you know that he actually thinks ‘you’re going to hell, you’re going to hell, you’re going to hell, you’re going to hell, and I’ll pick who I get to save.'”
Indeed, Harrow thinks of himself as the world’s savior. As this week’s episode revealed, since separating from Khonshu, Harrow’s now “working for” a different ancient Egyptian god: Ammit. He wants to resurrect Ammit, who he thinks will rid the earth of all evil people who have done or might ever do something terrible.
The scarab that Steven has, but definitely doesn’t want, is actually a supernatural GPS to Ammit’s tomb. Apparently, Harrow’s cane — you know, the one he uses to drain the life out of the unworthy — is also “a tiny sliver” of Ammit’s power. The real god will be able to do much more.