From the mythical realm of ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, to Arab Trap music: the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)’s latest Disney + project: Moon Knight, which premiered on 30 March, brings authentic Egyptian talent into the world of the MCU.
Moon Knight stars 17 local Egyptian talent in the crew and cast. From the crew, alongside Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, who debuted as Marvel’s first Arab director, is music composer Hesham Nazih, and film editor Ahmed Hafez.
The series features a star-studded cast, with Egyptian actresses May Calamawy, Zizi Dagher, and Antonia Salib, alongside actors Ahmed Dash, Hazem Ehab, Amr El Kady, and Karim El Hakim.
From the casting and direction departments is local casting director Marwa Gabriel, cast assistant Amina El Sharnouby, dialogue coach Talaat Abdelwahab, consulting producer Sarah Goher, and assistant director Hayat Aljowaily.
The behind the scenes’ crew includes costume designer consultant Reem El Adl and consulting art director Ali Hossam.
The Disney + show follows the sleepless Steven Grant, played by American star Oscar Issac, a nebbish employee working at a London museum gift shop who is plagued by his lack of sleep.
Throughout the mystery-structured episode, Steven experiences puzzling gaps in his memory that lead him to an internal struggle as he battles confusion and disorientation. He later realizes that there are two alternate personalities living inside of him: Mark Spector, played by Isaac, and the voice of the Egyptian god Khonshu, played by F. Murray Abraham.
Steven’s Mark and Khonshu come head to head during his first encounter with a religious zealot named Arthur Harrow, played by Ethan Hawke, who is a follower of the Egyptian demoness, Ammit.
As Issac grapples for control over his own body, the first episode sees a glimpse of the Moon Knight suit as Steven comes to terms with the existence of Mark Spector. The suit mirrors a close resemblance to an Egyptian mummy, with an intact combination of the cape and bandages.
The series is layered with details that embrace Egypt. Throughout the first episode, Egyptian music composer Hesham Nazih subtly brings elements of Arab and Egyptian music into the show. Nazih has composed original music for the Disney + show, which marks his first English-language project debut.
Diab relied on local talent to accurately portray Egyptian culture throughout the show, which will surely encourage international filmmakers to rely on local talents for more accurate representation in shows and movies.
The show has been filmed in multiple locations around the world, including Jordan, which further highlights the show’s intention to integrate more Arab representation in Marvel Studios and Hollywood at large.
Moon Knight stands out from other Disney + Marvel creations, with the show being the first one to not reference any MCU superheroes and characters such as Iron Man, Captain America, Spiderman, etc.
Previous Marvel projects, such as Loki which stars Tom Hiddleston and WandaVision which stars Elizabeth Olsen, have all followed characters that have been previously introduced in the MCU; however, Moon Knight marks the start of a new era for Disney + Marvel creations.
For the Marvel fanatics, this show will bring forth the darker corners of the MCU, adding new depths and heights to what has been released before. The lovers of thrilling dramas will enjoy the show’s stirring events.
Egyptians can watch the show on the soon to be released streaming service, Disney +. The show’s first season is set to have six episodes, with each episode airing every week for 45 minutes.
The show marks a change in the tone of diversity and inclusion in Hollywood, with Arab representation in the cast and crew, as well as incorporating one of the very few superheroes who openly struggles with a mental illness.
The unsettling premiere of Moon Knight has left fans wanting more, with hype and suspense building up as they wait for the show’s second episode which is set to air on 6 April.