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Aside from a sparse collection of nods to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Panther, you wouldn't know that Moon Knight takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The latest television project from Marvel Studios operates almost entirely as its own entity with no surprise appearances from familiar heroes or villains. However, that wasn't always the case.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly about this week's season finale, producer Grant Curtis admitted that the "knee-jerk reaction or your gut feeling is to start trying to pull all the toys down to play with them because it's such an amazing, engaging, rich universe. But you realize that what we do here at Marvel, all these stories start first and foremost with the character. They're really intense character studies, whether it's Iron Man, whether it's the Guardians of the Galaxy, whether it's Moon Knight. It's character, character, character, first and foremost."
The desire to pack the show with what Curtis called "all those bells and whistles" started to fall away when the creative team realized the story was more about Marc Spector (played by Oscar Isaac) coming to terms with his own fractured mental state.
"It just became about Marc and Steven's emotional journey and [how they] learn to come to grips with their past, present, and future," the producer explained. "That's where the connectivity faded away. So it wasn't intentional at first, but I do think it's interesting now, looking at all six episodes. With the series in my rearview mirror, I do think it's one of the things that has kind of boosted engagement in this series, because you can land into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Moon Knight as your first entry point ... So I think that was a blessing in disguise, to not have that connectivity and to really have an organic story that does take place within the MCU but is more contained than most."
According to director Mohamed Diab, who oversaw four of the six episodes, there were two "crossover" moments originally planned for "the very first scene" and "the very end scene" — both of which were ultimately scrapped.
"As the story developed and we kept changing the scripts, we felt like, 'We don’t need that,'" the filmmaker told Variety. "All of us. It was a collective decision. And then I kept thinking: It’s a rule. There has to be a scene at the end that connects us to the MCU. But I think they decided, 'You know what, the surprise is that there isn’t, and what’s going to make this show unique is it doesn’t need anything else.' The best compliment we get on the show is when people tell us, 'This doesn’t feel like a Marvel show. It feels like a standalone show that feels more dramatic, more dark, grounded.'"
While the future of Moon Knight is unclear at this time (perhaps a second season, or even a big screen debut?), any ass-kicking dealt out on behalf of Khonshu will certainly come as a surprise to Marc and Steven, who truly believe themselves to be free of their debt to the ancient deity. The show's mid-credits scene proved their naïveté with the introduction of a third — and unrepentant — identity from the comics: Jake Lockley.
"I like where we leave Marc Spector and Steven Grant and Jake Lockley because Oscar created such an engaging character," Curtis said when asked about the studio's potential plans for more Moon Knight adventures. "People want to see more of him. I think because of where we left the character, he could merge nicely into the MCU, wherever Kevin may want to put him. In that aspect, I'm a fan, and I'll buy a ticket. But I do not know! Kevin [Feige] knows all."
All six episodes of Moon Knight are now streaming on Disney+.
Looking for more content concerning Ancient Egypt? DreamWorks Animation's The Prince of Egypt is currently available on Peacock.