The Moon Knight finale had more than a few surprises up its sleeve, but its biggest may have come in the form of May Calamawy‘s Layla El-Faouly. After being introduced as an original character, fans began to view Layla as an updated version of Marc Spector’s comic book love interest Marlene Alraune. However, the show’s final episode revealed her to be quite a bit more. A big twist has Layla bonding with the goddess Tawaret and transforming into a version of the Scarlet Scarab, an obscure character from Marvel lore and the first Egyptian superhero.
In an exclusive interview with Murphy’s Multiverse, Moon Knight producer Grant Curtis explained how Scarlet Scarab came to be a part of the show and why Calamawy’s Layla was the perfect choice for the role:
We had an incredible female protagonist. Whether or not she had wings in the previous episode, she was already a superhero in her own right. When you start looking at the Marvel canon for potential superheroes, we found the Scarlet Scarab. We learned that was Egypt’s first superhero and what an incredible actress in May Calamawy to lead that charge. It was a natural merging of two different stories into one character. I think it worked quite well.Grant Curtis
In the comics, Scarlet Scarab is a man named Abdul Faoul, a version of whom is revealed to be Layla’s father in the MCU series. Faoul gains supernatural abilities from a mystical scarab amulet and vows to rid Egypt of all foreign invaders. He comes into conflict with the superhero Invaders during World War II but eventually sides with them against the Nazis. His amulet, and Scarlet Scarab title, are eventually passed down to his child, in a similar manner to Layla picking up her father’s torch in Moon Knight.
It’s unknown if Layla will continue to appear as the Scarlet Scarab going forward, or if this was simply a one-time appearance. The character’s fate is left in the air at the end of the Disney+ series. If fans are lucky, though, Marvel will find a way to keep revitalizing this long-forgotten hero for years to come.