Schrödingers’ Khonshu: More Myth Than Moon Knight’s God
Moon Knight is a fascinating character and a great addition to Marvel Studios’ Disney+ line-up. Initially, he was Marvel’s answer to Batman. He even had moon-shaped versions of the Batarangs. Yet, the character grew into his own as time went on. Marc Spector is commonly known for having a Dissociative Identity Disorder, so he started to adopt a variety of names and identities over the years. One of his most recent additions was the detective, Mr. Knight. The most iconic aspect of Moon Knight is also his relationship with a God known as Khonshu. In a mission in Egypt as a mercenary, he gets betrayed by his employer Raul Bushman. Left for dead, an Egyptian God gave him a new lease on life. He would, later on, believe that this encounter was nothing more than an illusion. Yet, the Moon God’s influences stuck with him in his designs. His disorder also made him an unreliable narrator, so it was uncertain for quite some time if he was real. As the show is slowly starting production, it is unclear if Khonshu is an actual character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Well, that was until a report by The Direct was pointing to the addition of four Egyptian characters. This casting is interesting if you consider that Moon Knight’s main base of operation in New York City. One character’s definition is as a female lead. So, they will play somewhat of an essential role in the series of some kind. Now, this may tease that Khonshu’s past is a massive part of the story. The hiring of Mohamed Diab also highlights that the characters’ Egyptian heritage will have some influence, so it makes sense to explore this mystical aspect of the MCU. Thor is proof that Gods do exist, so this would allow us to get another perspective on one of the many undiscovered corners of the MCU.
Yet, Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige toyed a bit with audiences when he announced the show initially. He said that Marc might be crazy, which opens a lot of questions. Khonshu, as a character, adds a lot of depth to this universe, so it would be a waste for him not to exist. Yet, at the same time, they could use him as a red herring to make you question the sanity of Spector. If Khonshu exists, we will be learning about his history with the other Gods. It also allows us to uncover how their existence played into the MCU’s past. Plus, they can use that aspect to make you accept Khonshu exists in Spector’s view of the world before pulling the rug from under your feet. This aspect is what sells Moon Knight as a show. It isn’t as crazy as WandaVision‘s sitcom-based multiverse shenanigans, but it can screw with its audience. As I mentioned before, Marc is an unreliable narrator, so if he retells the story of Khonshu, there is a chance it is just all made-up in his head. It would also open up the possibility to see his already broken mind fall apart as he begs for a God for help that does not exist.
In the comics, Khonshu is very much a tangible existence. He even got into conflict with the Avengers, which ended up with him fighting Robbie Reye’s Ghost Rider and Black Panther. In Avengers Vol. 8 #37, he ended up losing and being apprehended by the team of heroes. Even if he exists in the comics, it doesn’t chain the series to do the same. He may be an illusion by Spector after seeing an idol of the lunar God shortly before he passed out. It’s a great way to play with expectations, especially as it allows the director to play around with some crazy visuals. I do hope we get the design from Moon Knight Vol. 7 that features him in a white suit with a bird skull instead of a head. It’s such an iconic visual that can also add a unique atmosphere to this show, as he may seem like just one of the many personalities. Yet, in his thirst for vengeance is manipulating Marc to follow a darker path. Right now, we have no idea as they could go either direction. We might get to meet a real Egyptian God, or just the remnants of a broken mind. Until Moon Knight releases on Disney+, he is Marvel Studios’ Schrödingers’ Cat.