How is Moon Knight over already? It feels like yesterday that news broke Oscar Isaac was going to play the mysterious, powerful Marvel Comics character for Disney+, and now we’ve already seen everything the show has to offer. But could there be more?
io9 spoke to Moon Knight executive producers Grant Curtis and Mohamed Diab (Diab also directed the show’s first two and last two episodes) about it. The duo also dove deep into some of the finale’s big moments and reveals, and the intentions of the show across the entire season. Let’s dig in.
Though Moon Knight ends with Khonshu releasing Marc and Steven from his service, in the mid-credits scene, we find out the god still has the human in his grasp. As telegraphed earlier on the show, there’s one more personality inside of Marc: Jake Lockley. Jake kills Arthur Harrow, who had the spirit of Ammit in him, leaving Khonshu, through Jake, back to his old judgmental ways.
“The Jake Lockley tag was either the tag from very early on or he was part of the end of the [show] in that scene,” Curtis told io9. “I would have to go back and look at the script, but I’m pretty sure that tag was kind of cemented in stone after Jeremy Slater and our amazing team of writers plotted it out at the beginning, because it’s such a great way to not only end but to hint at a potential future.”
In fact, building episodes to specific cliffhangers such as this one was how Moon Knight was structured throughout. “What we always wanted to do and, as you can imagine, Kevin [Feige] was driving this from day one, is ‘What’s the cliffhanger ending of every episode?’,” Curtis said. “And then what we started talking about in the writer’s room is ‘What’s going to elicit that watercooler talk at the end of episode one, two, three?’ and that started to map out that journey.’”
That cliffhanger ending obviously leaves much more story to be told. What will Marc and Steven do now that Jake is out there? What is Jake’s story? Where did he come from? And, of course, how the heck does Moon Knight fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? As you’d expect, even if they did know what’s next, neither Curtis nor Diab could say.
“I don’t know where Moon Knight lands next, if he lands next or where,” Curtis said. “[That’s a] great question for Kevin, as you can imagine. But I do think the way that we leave this narrative with the audience is people want to see more and we’ll see where that is.”
Diab had similar feelings. “I want to tell you that Jake scares the hell out of me,” he said. “I hate him. But I’m sure one day if we expanded him, hopefully, if I’m part of that, I’m sure I’m going to sympathize with him because definitely there is a story behind why we became who he is.”
A few weeks back, news broke that star of Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac, signed a contract for these episodes of Moon Knight, and these episodes alone. Now that we’ve seen the finale, we know there’s more story to tell, so we asked the show’s producer if there was any chance Isaac could not come back.
“You know? Above my pay grade,” Curtis said. “But I will tell you this. I think Oscar enjoyed his journey. I think he’ll be the first one to tell you. And he said in the press when Marvel first approached him about this journey, he was hesitant and he didn’t know whether to jump in. But I will tell you, on the backside of this, I think he is extremely happy. He led this charge in front of the camera and I hope to see him again. Man, I hope to see him again because through his leading and I will tell you this, you know, Oscar is not only playing Marc Spector and Stephen Grant and to Jake Lockley in the show, he’s also an executive producer on the series. And it shows. He’s a storyteller at the height of his game, both in front and behind the camera. And that’s why I want to see his journey continue, because he wears multiple hats and one of those hats is behind the camera with this storytelling instinct. And I want to see him continue the journey.”
And while we didn’t ask Diab specifically about Isaac returning, he echoed those sentiments. “I’m happy that today Oscar was saying that this is the thing that he’s most proud of in his career,” he said. “So I’m really happy that we achieved that. And he was talking about how many promises he heard from so many filmmakers or the dreams that you have. And a lot of times it’s a disappointment. But thank god it’s not this time.”
If you had never seen a single Marvel movie, you could still enjoy Moon Knight. Though it’s set in the same universe as Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain Marvel, none of those characters—or any big Marvel characters—get mentioned. Ever. In fact, throughout the show, there are only a handful of throwaway references to the MCU at large, like a mention of Madripoor (seen on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) and the Ancestral Plane (from Black Panther), that let you know it’s in the same universe at all. So, we were wondering, was that by design? And were there ever more references?
“You know, it was not by design,” Curtis said. “Admittedly, it’s thin but it was never the design... When you have that whiteboard on day one, your gut instinct, your kneejerk is to start grabbing everybody. Like, ‘Oh, can we have this cameo? Can we do this? Can we go to this world? Can we go to this land?’ But you realize, through Kevin leading the charge, is the Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings are character studies first and foremost. And our character study, obviously executed by the amazing Oscar Isaac, is first and foremost about Marc Spector, Steven Grant and now I can say, Jake Lockley.
“And as we started to make that journey, led by our head writer Jeremy Slater, as rich as possible, all the other connectivity that we thought we needed at the onset of this journey started to fade away,” he continued. “[This] character that debuted in 1975 decades ago is so rich in his own right. And then you add Layla El-Faouly to the mix and introduce the Scarlet Scarab into the MCU and the incredible Arthur Harrow played by the amazing Ethan Hawke. We have so much story, the connectivity just didn’t fit into this story anymore. It’s there. But what I think is also cool if you’ve not seen any other MCU offering and Moon Knight is your first deep dive. You can jump in and you know everything you need for the framework.”
Diab agreed that he appreciated how Moon Knight could be an MCU entry point for some but also revealed that, early on, there was a bigger MCU bookend that had been discussed.
“[Originally] there was a crossover at the beginning of episode one, and a crossover at the end of the last episode,” he said. “But as we progressed, everyone felt, it’s not really important. It wasn’t a discussion. We just felt it doesn’t need anything and it stands on its own. And everyone at the end [said] ‘Are we going to shoot another post-credits scene?’ No, we don’t. This is working by itself.”
And no, he would not tell us what that crossover was when we asked.
Hell yes, she is. In addition to the reveal of Jake Lockley as the third personality inside Marc Spector, the finale of Moon Knight saw Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy) temporarily accept a role as the avatar of Taweret. In doing so, she becomes the Scarlet Scarab, the MCU’s first Egyptian superhero, which was very, very important to Diab.
“We don’t know how big this moment is for Egyptians,” he said. “The moment that there is finally an Egyptian superhero, someone who looks like us. My daughter, when she was five, always wanted to straighten up her curly hair because she never saw herself in any of the animation movies. But today she can look up to May, looking gorgeous and being a superhero... I couldn’t be prouder.”
On a more behind-the-scenes note, Curtis revealed Layla’s journey to becoming the Scarlet Scarab was actually pretty complicated.
“Very early on, the character that eventually became Layla El-Faouly was another character in the writer’s room, and she was half Egyptian and half another nationality that just goes out of my brain for a second. My apologies. But once Mohamed came on board and once we just started leaning into all things Egypt, and how fascinated we are all by that art and architecture that we can’t recreate to this day, and once May was on board and started really embodying the character of Layla, we realized that the story we were telling naturally emerged with some of the threads that were inherent in the Scarlet Scarab storyline. And so we merged the two.”
Before the mid-credits cliffhanger, Moon Knight ends on a massive action set-piece. On the streets of Cairo, Marc/Steven as well as Layla battle Harrow, and in the sands outside the city, Ammit and Khonshu battle as massive, kaiju-sized beings. Turns out though, that was not always how the show was going to end.
“Everything that you see in the show is collaborative,” Diab said. “Everything is trial and error. So there were so many endings, so many fight scenes designed. But I remember when we came along, me and Sarah [Goher], my wife and a producer on the show, the whole action sequence was supposed to be inside the Chamber of the Gods. Inside the pyramids. And I thought, ‘I don’t like interiors, I want an exterior.’ And I want to see Cairo at night. We didn’t see enough of Cairo and it looks beautiful at night.”
“And what if we separated the gods from the avatars?” he continues. “I don’t remember who came up with the idea of them becoming bigger. Was it me? Was it someone else? So many great ideas from everyone so sometimes you don’t even remember. But I love how it happens and the logic of it and how different they all are. How the fight between the avatars affected the fight between the gods and how it’s all connected and the duality of everything in the show. All through the show, everything, there is duality to it. And it was very important to keep hitting that theme even until the very end.”
Which, we just did too, as that’s the end of the article.
Moon Knight is currently streaming on Disney+. Keep it locked here for news of if, or when, the character will return.
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