Friday evening’s Disney+ panel at the D23 Expo was wild, with new shows and movies introduced left and right — including no fewer than three new Marvel shows, all of which will take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But while “Ms. Marvel” and “She-Hulk” might grab the biggest attention from MCU fans, the most immediately intriguing announcement, at least to us, was “Moon Knight.”
No disrespect to Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk as characters, of course — but they are logical choices to add to the MCU. Moon Knight, on the other hand, is a super weird character and what his place might be in the greater MCU isn’t clear at all. But this sort of oddball choice has worked out pretty well in the past for Marvel. Just look at Ant-Man, who was a similarly strange choice of headliner when his movie was announced years ago.
Moon Knight is a fascinating character, because while on the surface he comes off like Marvel’s attempt to rip off Batman, his powers are actually magical, weird mystical abilities tied either to an ancient Egyptian god and the moon — or to his fractured psyche. More on that in a moment.
Created by writer Doug Moench and artist Don Perlin in 1975, Moon Knight debuted in Marvel’s “Werewolf by Night,” where he’s introduced hunting the title character before teaming up with him instead (the two have generally been allies ever since). Moon Knight’s story goes like this: his real name is Marc Spector, and he’s the Jewish son of a rabbi who fled to the United States from Czechoslovakia during World War II. Spector grew up in Chicago and joined the Marines, then became a CIA operative, and then a mercenary after that.
While in Egypt on one of his mercenary gigs, Marc ran afoul of his employer and was nearly killed — he only survived when his companions dropped his body in a tomb in front of an idol of Khonshu, the Egyptian moon god. While unconscious, Spector’s spirit met Khonshu, and Khonshu healed his injuries and granted him the power of the moon — basically making him able to survive mortal wounds and giving him super strength at night.
But that’s not all. Moon Knight suffers from dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities, and he’s got a pile of alter egos, including at one point Captain America (!) and Wolverine (!!!!!!). Because of this issue with his mental health, there’s long been some question about whether Khonshu is actually real, and that question has often been part of the hook for his character arc.
But whether or not Khonshu is fake, as established during writer Charlie Huston’s run on “Moon Knight” vol. 3 (in 2006), Moon Knight’s powers are definitely real, and they’re definitely magical. As the mutant The Profiler tells him at one point, it’s either because Khonshu is real, or because Spector’s belief in Khonshu is so intense that he manifested them himself.
Now, so far the only magic folks we’ve seen in the MCU are Doctor Strange and his wizard pals. But guess what: Being a magic superhero, Moon Knight has had several run ins with the good doctor in the comics, most recently being recruited by Doctor Strange’s ghost (long story) into the Midnight Sons — a group of magic or supernatural heroes assembled by Strange to battle supernatural threats. Which to us makes him a prime candidate to be introduced in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ahead of his Disney+ series.
But that’s just a part of why we think Moon Knight will be involved in the next “Doctor Strange” movie. The main reason is because his origin is so weird, and it’s tough to pin down how a concept like Khonshu would work in a universe where almost everything has some kind of firm explanation. Even Asgardians are explained as basically fulfilling Arthur C. Clark’s “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” axiom.
But from his first movie, Doctor Strange has always been depicted as straight up dealing with literal magic. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” would be an easy place to introduce something as weird as Khonshu; just make him a being from another dimension like Dormmamu in the previous film. Plus, attaching him to Strange, at least to begin with, would make it easier for go along with Moon Knight’s supernaturalness.
And just from a synergy perspective, doing so would create an easy feedback loop between Disney+ and movie theaters. We already know that the upcoming WandaVision will lead directly into the events of “Multiverse of Madness,” after all. Having “Multiverse” then connect back to “Moon Knight” makes a lot of sense.
But of course, we’re just speculating. It’s gonna be a long time before we meet the screen version of Marc Spector, as the “Moon Knight” show has no launch date yet, which likely means it’s at least three years from landing on Disney+, and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is still two years out, hitting theaters in May 2021.
Whatever happens, we just hope this means the MCU is getting some werewolves in the bargain.