Marvel’s Moon Knight may be based in Egyptian mythology but it certainly doesn’t play up to the age-old Orientalist tropes.
During an interview with IGN, director Mohamed Diab explained why it was important to subvert expectations when it comes to the character’s Egyptian heritage.
“As an Egyptian, seeing us always portrayed in the wrong way, always portrayed with this… we call it orientalism,” he explained. “Look, we are very exotic, and we are… it dehumanizes us. And where women are submissive, and those kind of tropes.”
Moon Knight draws his powers from a deity known as Khonshu – the Egyptian lunar God, voiced in the Marvel series by F. Murray Abraham.
However, Diab explained that the othering of Egyptian people means that it’s important for them to be seen as human beings – not fetishized as guides and desert wanderers as we’ve seen in cinema countless times before.
“It was very important for me to portray us as normal human beings,” he added. “Even the location itself, showing Cairo, which always we see the pyramids in the middle of the desert, even though if you just looked a little bit to the right, the pyramids are in the middle of the city, and it’s twenty million people, and we have skyscrapers, and it’s a normal place just like this.”
The recent Moon Knight trailer gives us a brief glimpse of the character’s Egyptian backstory via the character Khonshu, who appears to Marc Spector amid an Egyptian museum exhibit.
“Killing those tropes, having the chance to show that… even though in the music, if you heard the songs, we have an art scene… beautiful Egyptian composer, Hesham Nazih, with this beautiful score that is Egyptian, but it’s international at its core, it’s universal. So that all drew me, I had this dream I put together, me and Sarah Goher, my wife and my producer, and all my projects. She’s a producer in the show now. This two-hundred-page pitch saying everything that I just told you, and we got the job and is the show that we did today.”
Moon Knight suffers from dissociative identity disorder, adopting several personalities throughout the series, including a veteran mercenary, a consulting detective, and even a weirdly-British gift shop worker.
One thing we won’t see is any outdated Egyptian stereotypes.
Moon Knight stars Oscar Isaac in the lead role alongside Ethan Hawke, Gaspard Ulliel, May Calamawy, Lucy Thackeray, and F Abraham Murray.
Moon Knight is set to premiere on Disney+ on March 30, 2022.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.
Author: Ryan Leston. [Source Link (*), IGN All]