Marvel’s Latest TV Superhero: Moon Knight

Woman reading a comic book.
Photo by Joe Ciciarelli from Unsplash

On Jan. 17, Marvel released the trailer for its next TV series “Moon Knight,” coming March 30. The trailer is available to watch here if you have not seen it yet. Moon Knight is not a very well-known Marvel character as opposed to many of the recent Marvel heroes. So fans are raising the question: “Who is Moon Knight and what does he do?” Note that this article may contain spoilers for the upcoming show.

Moon Knight is quite unlike any character we have seen before in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU). He was born Marc Spector, an ex-marine, ex-CIA, and mercenary. In his origin story, Marc and his friend Frenchie were hired to assist in the raid of an archeological site. After the head archeologist was killed and the archeologist’s daughter, Marlene, was about to be killed, Marc turned on his employer to save her and was left fatally wounded. Marc was laid, by Frenchie, at the foot of a statue of the Egyptian deity Khonshu, the god of the moon, vengeance, and “shepherd to the lost,” where he died. His spirit had an encounter with the god where he was offered his life in exchange for his service to the god.

Marc has DID, or Dissociative Identity Disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes DID as having a defining feature of “the presence of two or more distinct personality states or an experience of possession.” There is the core personality, the person they were born as, and then an alternate personality (also known as an “alter”), or multiple alternates, who develop after.

It is important to understand that Marc’s alters existed before he developed DID. Initially, they were personas that he put on to further his crime-fighting efforts. His disorder developed after juggling his multiple personas led him to a nervous breakdown, splitting his personas into alternate personalities, including his superhero persona. His core identity, before becoming Moon Knight and developing his other identities, was Marc Spector. His other personas consist of Steven Grant, a millionaire who invested in the stock market and funds Moon Knight’s crime-fighting escapades; Jake Lockley, a taxi driver who collects information essential to Moon Knight’s vigilante career; Mr. Knight, the one who sees a psychiatrist and talks to people who need his protection; and finally, Moon Knight himself, the vigilante, the fighter of crime, the “Fist of Khonshu.” In essence, he is Batman, if Batman’s color scheme was white and he killed people.

Moon Knights’ abilities are enhanced brain function; in the past, he has been resistant to telepathic attacks, and he has immortality. He has also been known to have enhanced strength and speed, but these change depending on the comic run. Moon Knight has many assets such as the Mooncopter, crescent darts (symmetrical throwing blades which are to him what batarangs are to Batman), an energy shield, and a glider cloak. He tends to favor moon-themed armor, weapons, and transportation, but he does also have web-shooters (yes, like Spider-Man).

In the trailer, we are introduced to his alter Steven, however, he appears to be an employee of a museum, not a millionaire. The series may very well focus on Steven more than Marc. The line in the trailer, “Why did you call me Marc,” signifies he has no clue about his DID; he believes it to be simply a sleeping disorder. Throughout the trailer, we see glimpses of his other personalities, like the snippets of Moon Knight in Steven’s reflections or when he seemingly snaps to reality to find himself driving a truck with a gun in his hand (this was probably Steven taking over from Marc).

It is also noteworthy to mention the line “embrace the chaos.” This is because in Moon Knight issue number 12 it was stated that Marc suffers from “a madness so powerful it can only be described as magic.” These two phrases seem to use the words chaos and madness to mean the same thing, or at least, something similar. In the MCU, we were recently introduced to the concept of chaos magic thanks to WandaVision. There’s no correlation between Moon Knight and Wanda in the comics, but because the MCU has a tendency to rewrite characters to fit their needs, this trailer phrasing may be worth keeping in mind.

Hopefully this helped satisfy your MCU knowledge needs. Moon Knight is a very complex character with a lot of room to explore and characteristics to build upon. Let’s see if this show fully explores and accurately portrays this new moon’s many faces.