SPOILER WARNING This story discusses the major plot points of Season 1, Episode 6. “Moon Knight,”Disney+ is currently streaming.
Throughout Marvel Studios’ “Moon Knight,” it’s been clear that the titular superhero at its center, played by Oscar Isaac, was contending with a profound issue with his mental health. His dissociative Identity Disorder had divided his psyche into Mark Spector, an American mercenary and Steven Grant, a British gift shop worker.
The smartest viewers “Moon Knight,” however, have picked up on hints about Mark that fans of the Marvel comic series already know: Mark’s mind harbors a Third identity. In the final scene of (possibly) the last episode “Moon Knight,”He was finally available for the public to meet: Jake Lockley. In the comics, Jake is a street-wise cab driver, but on the show, the audience comes to suspect — after Mark or Steven has blacked out when their life was in mortal danger — that Jake is capable of blistering acts of overwhelming violence. It’s not until the post-credits scene, though, that Jake finally shows up. He extracts Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow from a psychiatric hospital, dumps him inside a stretch limo and kills him on behalf of the Egyptian god Khonshu. End of the series!
Or is it? Marvel recently referred the episode to as the “season finale”Of “Moon Knight,”This is not the series finale. Beyond Jake’s introduction, we also see Mark’s wife Layla (May Calamawy) become a superhero in her own right, as the avatar of the Egyptian goddess Taweret. According to Marvel, Layla’s superhero name is the Scarlet Scarab, taken from a male superhero introduced in 1977 (and killed off in 1982), and she is officially the first Egyptian superhero to occupy the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
All of that suggests a wide-open future for Mark/Steven/Jake and Layla — something Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab, who directed the first, third, fifth and sixth episodes of “Moon Knight” — definitely hopes to help make happen. He spoke to VarietyLayla is proud to have brought Jake to life. “Moon Knight”There are no crossovers with other MCU members.
Did you know that you wanted to close the show with Jake Lockley?
The show’s story is the result of trial-and-error, which was something we all experienced. There were so many endings — like, not completely different endings, but just, let’s stop here, let’s stop here, let’s stop here. The third or fourth draft was probably the most important. Everyone knew this would be the final scene. But how much of Jake we’re seeing is something that we discussed for a longer time. We made the right decision. Everybody wants to know more. But if we would have introduced him in the show without really giving him the time to develop and be a full character like Mark and Steven, it wouldn’t have been fair to him. Now, I believe we have opened the door. If there is an expansion one day — which I hope there is, which I don’t know that there is — I could be a part of it and Jake can have his time to shine.
Oscar Isaac was the first to approach him. “Moon Knight”As a contained story. Given his previous experience with other franchises, he was cautious about being tied into the MCU beyond that. However, the Jake scene suggests there’s still more to be told.
If you ask me, that is what I would tell you. “Moon Knight”He is here to stay. He’s an interesting character. I believe that if you’re Marvel, it would be smart business to keep him. Marvel is not traditional. If you succeed, it doesn’t mean you’re gonna get a Season 2. By the way, I’m kept in the dark. I don’t know. I’m just thinking as a businessman right now. But I think they’re going to stay. Maybe it’s going to be a film. Maybe it’s going to be a journey like what happened with “WandaVision.”One day I hope to be part of an expansion. The ending felt like a start. Mark and Steven become a new dynamic as they are one person. We see Jake. We see Jake. This is very interesting.
The series does play with the idea that all of this is in Mark’s head. Does the show end with a definitive answer?
I would say that this show should be viewed at least once, twice, and three times. There’s so many clues. It’s not clear what’s real and what’s not. One example is that we saw his brother draw fish. This is how Steven got a fish with only one fin. What was the inspiration? It’s a loop. Many clues can be like this, I think.
Did you discuss the idea of having the show definitively exist just in Mark’s head — to truly have it be like a superhero story of the mind?
It had to be open. Funny! Kevin Feige used to tell me that I wanted an ending because he will discover the entire MCU. So it’s an open question.
In the final, Layla is introduced as the Scarlet Scarab. How did it happen?
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the writers who came up with the idea that Layla was an Egyptian. When Sarah [Goher]My wife and producer on the series, May, and I were there. Together, we developed the character as Egyptians. When May came along, she became Layla’s biggest ally. The most important thing for us wasn’t just the idea of a superhero, but the idea of making her completely the opposite of every trope about Arab woman as submissive or weak. I’ve directed three movies: women in my movies are completely fierce and strong — like my mom, my sister, my wife and my daughter.
This is going to make us proud as superheroes. When she was five years old, my daughter wanted to straighten her hair. I had to take her Disneyland and tell Princess Elsa & Anna. “Please tell her that her hair is beautiful.”She has never seen anything on television that looked like her. So today, seeing Layla, you don’t know what that means to people who look like us. It’s very important. “Moon Knight”Egypt is proud of it. It is treated like an Egyptian national pride. “Black Panther.”They love the fact that there are Egyptians behind the camera and Egyptians in front. There’s Egyptian music that the world is enjoying. They believe in their abilities. They believe that they can accomplish anything. I’m so proud of that.
Did you know Layla would be the Scarlet Scarab? Or did you consider other characters of Egyptian origin that Layla could be?
Honestly, I didn’t come up with the name. I didn’t connect her to the Scarlet Scarab. Marvel sometimes picks a name for a character and gives it to them. [for the show]. As an example, Arthur Harrow is completely different from the Arthur Harrow in comic books. We’re just using the property. So we’re creating Layla free of all of that and then we gave her a name. I keep saying that she may not be the Scarlet Scarab. Because right now, she didn’t get her powers through the scarab. But maybe, if the story continues, that’s gonna happen — or not. The name of the character isn’t important to me. What she represents is what’s more important. I can’t wait to know one day, is she still going to be a temporary avatar? Is she willing to accept it? What’s going to happen? I don’t know.
It sounds like you do, but I’ll ask directly: Would you want to work with Marvel Studios again?
That is something I would do. Definitely. Because I have stories to tell, I was drawn to being a director. I’ve always made intimate films. My dream is to do what Denis Villeneuve is doing — making your small, intimate films on a bigger scale, so you connect to more people. It was a great opportunity to do this on the show. It retains the essence of my intimate films and films. Oscar, Ethan May, Marvel and May were there to support me.
There are just a few very brief references to the MCU. “Moon Knight,” but there are no crossovers at all — up to the post-credits scene, where crossovers almost always happen. How do you feel about what that means about the show’s place in the MCU?
We were free to place it wherever we liked. You will recall that the crossover was in the very first scene. The crossover was also in the final scene. We felt like this as the story evolved and we kept changing the scripts. “We don’t need that.”It was all of us. It was a group decision. And then I kept thinking: It’s a rule. There must be a scene at end that links us to the MCU. But, I think they made the right choice. “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.”We get the most compliments on the show from people who tell us. “This doesn’t feel like a Marvel show. It feels like a standalone show that feels more dramatic, more dark, grounded.”We have succeeded in bringing Marvel closer to our community. I am so proud and happy.
This interview was edited and condensed.