In the course of Marvel’s show Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac’s Steven Grant/Marc Spector is confronted by a large creature with a bird’s skull.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Moon Knight episode 1.
Marvel’s Moon Knight reveals Oscar Isaac’s Steven Grant being chased by a bird-skulled monster dressed in robes. What is it? Is it real? And why is it chasing Steven? The terrifying supernatural stalker makes Isaac’s hero question his sanity when the large creature with a bird skull for a head appears to him in the corridor of his apartment. However, this monster might not be just a terrifying figment of Grant’s imagination. Either way, this is viewers’ first look at Khonshu, the reason why Oscar Isaac’s new Marvel hero became the violent vigilante known as Moon Knight.
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Moon Knight episode 1, Steven Grant reveals that he has a condition where he can’t tell the difference between when he’s awake or when he’s asleep, so much so that he’s even tied himself to his bed. On top of that, he begins to see things he believes are hallucinations, including another version of himself talking to him in reflective surfaces. Eventually, he even takes a phone call on a phone he didn’t know he owned on which he’s referred to as Marc instead of Steven, confirming that Oscar Isaac’s true character Marc Spector has dissociative identity disorder (with Spector being Moon Knight’s primary personality in the comics).
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At this stage, Moon Knight’s origin remains a mystery, but a focal point for that transformation is the bird skull which terrifies him in a dark hallway before disappearing. Moon Knight’s bird skull monster is Khonshu, the Egyptian Moon God who, in the comics, saves mercenary Marc Spector from death in the comics, choosing him to be his avatar on Earth known as the Moon Knight. Sure enough, his depiction in the comics features the skull of an eagle or falcon—in line with mythological descriptions—as well as the staff with a crescent moon at the top.
Who Is Khonshu? Marvel Powers & Origin
The Marvel character Khonshu, an Egyptian god, is in fact based on a real ancient Egyptian deity (whose name is spelled Khonsu), the god of the moon, travelers, vengeance, and time. The Marvel comics canon keeps much of Khonshu’s symbolism and power associations the same, as he’s depicted as being a time traveler/teleporter, a wrathful spirit, and of course, the patron god of Moon Knight, who possesses special lunar abilities. There are plenty of gods and godlike figures based on real-life folklore within the Marvel pantheon, with some of the most recognizable characters and places being those taken from Norse mythology, namely the likes of Odin, Loki, Hela, Thor and Asgard. Likewise, the Egyptian gods also play a role in the Marvel comics. The Ennead, also known as the Heliopolitans, are an immortal and immensely powerful race abiding in a pocket dimension (called Celestial Heliopolis) just adjacent to Earth. Worshipped by the ancient Egyptians as deities, the Ennead (which include Khonshu) are also known to engage occasionally with Marvel’s other heroes and figures.
Khonshu is often portrayed in the Marvel comics as temperamental and vengeful, both of which are qualities Moon Knight himself expresses. Because Khonshu cannot operate directly on Earth, he enacts his will through a long lineage of Moon Knights which goes back to ancient Mesopotamia and currently exists in the 21st century in the form of Marc Spector. While Moon Knight may be his earthly fist, however, Khonshu himself is also very powerful. He possesses the typical power set of all the Heliopolitan gods: superhuman strength and durability, regenerative healing, immortality, and magic manipulation. In addition, Khonshu also has lunakinetic abilities that give him control over moon rocks, and the ability to absorb and store the powers of various heroes throughout time.
Is Khonshu Real In Moon Knight
In the comics, it took some time before the question of whether or not Khonshu was indeed real or just a figment of Marc’s imagination was finally answered, with the reveal being that the moon god was indeed real. As such, a similar mystery will likely be presented in the MCU’s Moon Knight. Regardless, Marc and his god certainly have a rocky relationship which could be adapted to the new series as well. While Spector has had eras where he’s a devoted priest, there’ve been others where he resists Khonshu’s will, so it will be interesting to see how their partnership develops in the MCU.
Related: Is Moon Knight Marvel’s Most Brutal Ever?
This new trailer has already confirmed that Steve/Marc is going to be experiencing quite the adjustment period as he begins his evolution into the brutal vigilante Moon Knight. It also seems he’ll be questioning his own sanity, at least until he potentially decides to simply roll with the plans this Egyptian moon god has for him—assuming he’s not just in his head. Real or not, Khonshu will no doubt play a big role in the journey of Moon Knight, bird skull and all.
More: How Many Episodes Of Moon Knight Are There & When The Finale Is
New episodes of Moon Knight release every Wednesday on Disney+.
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About The Author
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Kevin Erdmann is one of Screen Rant’s staff writers. With a major in Cinema Studies and a minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies from the UofO, Kevin is pretty sure he’s writing for the right site. While Kevin is a huge Marvel fan, he also loves Batman because he’s Batman and is a firm believer that Han shot first. Disney also shares a big part of his fan patronage. Kevin lives in Oregon with his wonderful wife and sinister cat who is no doubt currently plotting his demise.
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