Who Is Marvel's Moon Knight?

Moon Knight - Publicity Still - H 2019
Greg Smallwood/Marvel Entertainment
It's not easy to define the new Disney+ superhero, who has a winding history in the comics.

The news that Marvel’s Moon Knight will be getting his own Disney+ series is surprising for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that, even for fans of the character, it’s far from clear just who will be appearing onscreen when the show debuts.

If nothing else, it should be noted Moon Knight is an unusual choice for his own series if only for the fact that he is historically a character that’s proven to be a tough sell for Marvel, despite its many attempts to convince audiences that they needed a Moon Knight comic book in their life; in the past two decades alone, there have been no less than six different series, with the character being repositioned and recreated in ways both subtle and dramatic in an attempt to find what would compel readers to return month after month. As a result, not only is there no single “Moon Knight” approach for the Disney+ series to model itself after, but the character’s history and concept is somewhat complicated as a result.

The basic set-up is this: Moon Knight is Marc Spector, a former marine turned mercenary who has multiple alter egos that allow him to better gather information and operate without being noticed. In addition to the rough and ready Spector, he’s also cab driver Jake Lockley and socialite and millionaire Steven Grant, giving him access to all levels of society. He’s also a costumed hero, although his heroism is a matter of opinion; he did, after all, debut in 1975’s Werewolf by Night No. 32 as a villain. (The mercenary game is complicated.)

From this point, however, things get complicated. Depending on the period fans were reading, Moon Knight has also been the physical vessel of an Egyptian god called Khonshu; someone with multiple personalities that are in conflict, which prompts him to be overly violent in his crime-fighting methods; a television producer in Los Angeles who creates new, task-specific personalities based on existing superheroes as necessary for any given mission; and a police consultant who goes by the name “Mr. Knight” and dresses in all-white while solving crimes.

Whether or not he has superpowers is also a question that has different answers at different times, with those powers having different origins when they reappear: Does he have moon-based super strength because he was bitten by a werewolf, or because he’s been blessed by a moon god? The answer, for those curious, is yes to both. 

If there’s a relative constant in Moon Knight’s history, it’s the lack of consistency. For the majority of his comic book existence, his mental state could best be described as “troubled,” if not outright fractured, to the point of the Marc Spector personality disappearing for significant stretches altogether, replaced either by “Khonshu” or the Jake Lockley persona. Any prospective Moon Knight show will, presumably, be leaning into this defining feature, and giving the Marvel Cinematic Universe something new — if, admittedly, groundwork covered by both FX’s Legion and DC Universe’s Doom Patrol: a superhero whose greatest struggle isn’t against a supervillain or criminal mastermind, but against his own sense of self and reality.

Of course, if that doesn’t appeal to Marvel Studios, there’s also the fact that Moon Knight has been a member of three different Avengers teams throughout his varied career, appearing (relatively) normal in each incarnation, so there’s always the potential to just portray him as a straightforward superhero with a particularly bright wardrobe. It’s good to have options, after all.

There is currently no word on when Moon Knight will bow on Disney+.