Are you ready to embrace the shadows? The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is stepping into the darkness with its next phase of projects that promise to be more complex, brutal, and haunting.
Horror maestro Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is expected to deliver nightmares, whilst a Halloween special adaptation of Werewolf By Night will be spectacularly scary for the spooky season.
Before all of that, this new chapter starts with one of Marvel’s most obscure characters: Moon Knight, who has been given his own dedicated Disney+ series.
Many comic book fans will be unfamiliar with this mysterious vigilante, and that includes star Oscar Isaac who admits he had no idea who Moon Knight was when Marvel Studios first approached him about the role.
He revealed to Zavvi: “I collected comics when I was younger but had never heard of Moon Knight. So, I started getting into it and saw how much creative inspiration there has been since he first popped up in 1975, how different writers and artists have interpreted that character.
“Because he’s so little known, there’s been lots of opportunities for people to express themselves with that template, which provided us with a lot of freedom. We could take things we loved and felt inspired by – figuring out that puzzle was really exciting.”
As Isaac observes, Moon Knight has a complicated history in the comic books, which left the filmmaking team with plenty of freedom but also the tough call of where their focus should lie.
Whilst some things are switched up for the show, it also honours the character’s roots, crucially that he is a mercenary with dissociative identity disorder who also happens to be the conduit for Egyptian moon god Khonshu.
The role proved to be a daunting challenge for Isaac as the character is made up of several identities, all with distinctive personalities.
This includes mild-mannered Brit Steven Grant, brutal American mercenary Marc Spector, suave detective Mr. Knight, and of course, the almighty vigilante Moon Knight.
Navigating this required a lot of planning, with Isaac wanting to take the time to ensure he would be able to easily switch between the identities. He explained:
“It was incredibly challenging, but it was fun too, figuring it all out. Because I wasn’t totally comfortable with switching between them, I asked if we could just start with Steven and film for at least one week with just him, then come in the next week and do Marc.
“I needed the chance to wrap my mind around it all, especially since I didn’t want it to feel like a party trick or one-man show with different funny hats I’d put on. I wanted them all to feel like fully formed individuals, and thankfully I was given the space to do that.
“As the shoot went on and I got more comfortable, I became more flexible with the switching. By the end I could do it in the same take, with something as simple as the shoulders dropping or it all being in the eyes. But it was a real journey to get to that place.”
Isaac was also aware that his character’s mental health had to be approached with sensitivity, noting above that Spector’s dissociative identity disorder is in no way a “party trick”.
This was something everyone involved in the show took seriously, deciding to build the series and Moon Knight’s emotional journey around it. Isaac elaborated:
“We oriented the entire show around it so it’s not just a plot point, or part of his backstory – everything is connected to his trauma, the abuse he endured when he was a child. And it’s an honest assessment.
“The show talks about surviving abuse through the power of the mind as whilst it’s called a disorder, it’s actually all about survival – something the brain does to get through that abuse. It’s outstanding.
“The journey starts in a light place, allowing audiences to access it, and then integrates with the darkness, never running from it or pushing it away.”
In line with this approach, we first meet the character when he is Steven, the very polite, shy, and awkward British gift shop employee which sees Isaac putting on quite the accent.
It helps our journey start in that lighter, humorous place, making Moon Knight more accessible for audiences, ensuring we have already formed a connection before the violence and chaos starts.
Isaac admits he couldn’t wait to set the tone with this strange comic streak:
“I’ve always enjoyed embracing comedy and so when this role came to me, I saw an opportunity to create an indelible comic character that leads you down this strange, dark road.
“I was excited to play with that and push the envelope as much as I could. That tone disarms people, but it also allows them to enter the story, and feel for Steven. Especially because he doesn’t know when he’s being funny, it’s more the way he interacts with the world.
“He wants to connect but doesn’t really have the tools to do so. As an audience you easily build a relationship with him, so when stuff goes crazy and he feels terrified, you are too.”
So, gear up for an adventure like none other – one that, like its central character, is wrapped up in mystery and hopes to inspire imaginations. Get ready to step into the shadows with Moon Knight.
Moon Knight is streaming weekly on Disney+.