On April 23, 2018, studio head Kevin Feige gave Marvel fans hints towards heroes they could expect to see one day in a Marvel cinematic film. One of them was the Moon Knight, a popular if somewhat obscure Batman-like vigilante. Rumors have abounded about the hero for years, from whispers about a Netflix show to news about a James Gunn pitched movie.
Why are there so many rumors about this particular character? Why do so many want yet another (sorry, Daredevil) Batman-type running around rooftops beating up bad guys? And exactly who, or what is the Moon Knight?
In the name of the moon, I will punish you
Moon Knight’s secret identity is former mercenary, Marc Spector. The son of an illustrious rabbi, Spector grew estranged from his faith and family and became a hardened soldier for hire after brief stints in the army and CIA. After a job in Egypt at the site of an archeological dig went wrong, Spector was mortally wounded by his former teammate and lay dying at the foot of a statue of the Egyptian moon god Khonsu. In a vision or hallucination, the god appeared to Spector and restored him back to life in exchange for his promise to become his avatar on earth. Upon returning to New York, he took on the Moon Knight mantle and became a vigilante, seeking out vengeance and justice without flinching from violence.
While easily seen as Batman 2.0 the mythological backstory, gleaming white cloak, and on-and-off penchant for seriously wounding or even killing adversaries set Moon Knight somewhat apart. But perhaps the most intriguing part of Spector’s character is his inherent ambiguity, as he maintains multiple personas aside from the original and Moon Knight to aid him in his adventures. Throughout Moon Knight’s existence, the exact role Khonsu plays in the hero’s motives and abilities varies wildly. At some points, it’s not even clear if the god exists outside of Spector’s own mind or whether he has a form of multiple personality disorder. As of current comics, Khonsu is firmly established to be real as well as a possible factor in Spector’s mental health, the ‘lunar’ aspect of the deity causing his avatar to take on multiple facets of his identity.
“A Man in Cairo”
Aside from a nearly cult fan following and industry rumors, there’s another driving force behind the expectation to see the Moon Knight on the big screen: An Easter Egg in a pre-existing film. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) HYDRA agent Jasper Sitwell tells Captain America and Black Widow some key information about individuals both the terrorist organization and SHEILD were keeping an eye on, including a man in Cairo Sitwell that has been “giving (HYDRA) some trouble.”
While this was overshadowed at the time by the much more explicit name-drops of the Hulk and the yet-to-appear Doctor Strange, it was enough to make devoted fans perk up their ears. Aside from a few other characters chiefly tied to the X-Men, and therefore off limits, Marc Spector is really the only character of note to have significant history in Cairo. Since the Cap movie premiered the expectation that Moon Knight is an inevitable part of the MCU, be it a film or a gritter Netflix adaption, has persisted.
Until recently it’s been quite a while since any Moon Knight adaption news of any validity has broken, but Feige’s comment has given new hope to fans. As he says it may be a long, long time until it comes to anything, but for now we can only keep an eye out for any mentions of Cairo or a moon god in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War (2018) as it’s released this very week.