Oscar Isaac, the actor famous for playing Poe Dameron in Star Wars, is training hard for his upcoming introduction to the MCU as the mysterious vigilante, Moon Knight. The character has been an Avenger B-lister, military mercenary and playboy inventor, and while there are a lot of questions about how the cloaked hero will appear in his Disney Plus series – the new fight footage at least reveals he will be on-brand brutal.
Mad Gene Media, the media company co-founded by the actor, posted a video of Isaac fight-training set to Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name.” The fight routine features Isaac performing choreographed martial arts for the character, which seems to be particularly lethal for the MCU so far. Over the course of the video, the actor lands moves that include what appears to be the breaking of the neck of a subdued combatant, the extensive use of a knife, and the licking of said knife.
This is the sort of behavior that likely wouldn’t fly for most Marvel superheroes even at their edgiest, but Moon Knight has always a bit of an outlier.
The Mysterious Moon Knight
Like his fellow creation of the 70s, Punisher, Moon Knight has been depicted as a vigilante willing to go a bit beyond the pale in terms of violence. Like Frank Castle, Marc Spector has a military background, but instead of a revenge story and a bag of ammo, Moon Knight has a supernatural patron. Inspired by the ancient Egyptian lunar deity, Khonshu, the hero has been depicted as bloodthirsty. Whether tearing into street-level supervillains, random criminals, or Spector’s nemeses Bushman and the mysterious Committee – Moon Knight has been happy to push the boundaries of what constitutes a traditional superhero.
Since his introduction in 1975, Moon Knight has evolved from a hero loosely in the Batman mold to a mystical madman without a definitive retcon or rebranding. At various times the character has been a Bruce Wayne type fighting crime with gadgetry, a derelict taxi driver, and a CIA operative. Sometimes the character has powers. Sometimes they are connected to the phases of the moon. In other depictions, Moon Knight’s just a regular joe with few qualms about breaking bones.
In early comics, Moon Knight’s various identities are creations of the character. As of crime novelist Charlie Huston’s run on the title in 2006, the multiplicities of the character were further explained to be facets of Marc Spector’s mental illness, a la disassociative identity disorder. Huston’s run began with the hero de-facing his arch-nemesis with a knife, which is a pretty good indicator of how dark things were going to get. The arc featured a drug-addicted Marc Spector struggling to stitch together his psyche and reclaim his place as the avatar of a maybe nefarious Egyptian god.
Moon Knight will debut on Disney Plus in 2022, part of the ongoing Phase Four of the MCU already underway with the likes of “Wandavision” and “Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Each individual MCU project fits its own niche, and we’re likely to see Moon Knight take on some of the kind of mystical concerns of Dr. Strange as well as the military and espionage found under the Captain America umbrella, but held together at street level – the sort of scope traditional of Daredevil and Spiderman comics.
Whether the series will feature Moon Knight’s compatriot and adversary, Werewolf By Night, or do a good job of handling mental illness remain to be seen, but judging from Isaac’s martial arts, it is going to be a lumpy ride.