Ethan Hawke’s “Moon Knight” Villain Might be a Hybrid of Two Very Bad Dudes
Yesterday Marvel revealed the first trailer for Moon Knight, their next upcoming series on Disney+ starring Oscar Isaac as the titular superhero. The trailer focused on the struggles of Isaac’s decidedly unheroic gif shop employee Steven Grant, a man who seems spooked by just about everything. That’s because Grant soon learns he has another name—Marc Spector—and what’s more, he suffers from dissociative personality disorder. Soon enough Steven/Marc’s enemies arrive, and this hybrid, divided individual is plunged into a dangerous mystery.
It seems Isaac’s character won’t be the only melding of two personalities. One of the enemies Steven/Marc will be facing is portrayed by Ethan Hawke, although in the trailer he comes in the guise of a mentor. Hawke’s unnamed character tells Steven/Marc to embrace their inner chaos. That’s the kind of advice a villain would give (it sounds a bit like what Heath Ledger’s Joker advised a horribly disfigured Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight), and it’s clear by the bowing, fawning people surrounding Hawke’s character that this dude is some kind of cult figure.
It’s been noted widely that Hawke gave some insight into his character’s identity on Late Night With Seth Meyers, where he revealed he’d channeled the late Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, who got a whole bunch of his followers killed in the Siege of Wach in 1993. It’s also been revealed that Hawke’s character’s name is Arthur Harrow, a very bad dude who appeared in a single 1985 issue of “Moon Knight” by Chris Warner and Alan Zelenetz. In that issue, Harrow was revealed to be a scientist eager to carry on the work of the Nazis who had experimented with trying to make a human body immune to pain. Harrow himself had a chronic ailment, and part of his sadistic work was to cure himself.
That issue of “Moon Knight” is very dark. Harrow experimented on Mexican peasants and ended up creating a small army of subjects who he controlled, and who would continue to fight no matter how grievous their injury. Harrow ultimately escaped before Moon Knight could capture him.
Considering Marvel’s deep bench of villains, it might seem weird that they’d pit Moon Knight against Harrow, a minor villain who never appeared again. This is why there’s a ton of speculation going around that Hawke is a hybrid of Harrow and another Moon Knight adversary—The Sun King.
The Sun King appeared in “Moon Knight No. 188” in 2017, known as Patient 86. He was bipolar and is actually the manifestation of the Egyptian god Amon Ra. He can conjure and cover his body in flames, and eventually had followers who worshipped him as he set himself the task of destroying Moon Knight.
The trailer clearly shows Hawke’s Arthur Harrow bowing followers, who may end up being (if they’re not already) his mindless army, immune to pain. And it also seems likely that Harrow is not going to be satisfied merely controlling his followers, but becoming a deity like The Sun King himself.
All of this points towards how different Moon Knight will be from Marvel series (and MCU films) of the past, leaning into mental illness, cults, monsters, the gods of Ancient Egypt, and more. Moon Knight will be Marvel’s most supernaturally inclined project yet and will lead the way for more series and films like it. Three examples of this are Jared Leto’s Morbius, Mahershala Ali’s Blade, and Kathryn Hahn’s Agatha Harkness upcoming Disney+. All three will further explore the supernatural, and there’s a lot more where this came from for Marvel. Gael Garcia Bernal has been cast as Werewolf by Night in an upcoming Marvel Studios’ Halloween special, and the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters is rumored to be working on Ghost Rider and Clea.
Leading the charge is Moon Knight, which will bring a very different energy to the MCU when it debuts on Disney+ on March 30.
Here’s the official synopsis from Disney+:
The series follows Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.
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Featured image: NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 29: Actor Ethan Hawke attend MoMA’s Contenders Screening of “First Reformed” at MoMA Titus One on November 29, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for MoMA The Contenders)