THEORY THURSDAY: Khonshu is ‘Moon Knight’s’ Big Bad

With the big twist at the end of Moon Knight Episode 4, the series is telling us to question everything we thought we knew. While Steven and Marc’s mental health certainly will come into play, it’s worth noting that the door is open for certain elements of the show to be drastically different from what we thought up until now. My guess is that the villain Moon Knight has set up so far, Arthur Harrow, is actually a red herring for the Big Bad of the series—Khonshu.

It would be pretty bold to throw a villain twist in after the “what is reality?” twist we just got, but it could be fantastic. For one, it could easily work with what looks like a Lemire-Smallwood comics-run-inspired psych ward twist. But Khonshu as the series’ ultimate villain has a strong foundation in the comics, and it would improve upon the still vague and generic-feeling Arthur Harrow.

Marvel Studios’ ‘Moon Knight’

So first, why would Khonshu be the villain? As you know from Moon Knight, the lunar god isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy. He was banished and is now imprisoned by the other Egyptian gods of the Ennead. While his imprisonment was framed as a situation where Khonshu tried to do the right things while the others just ignored what needed to be done, perhaps there is much more going on. Weirdly, Harrow told the Ennead that Khonshu was actually the one who had him start looking for Ammit. Accusing Khonshu of now working due to jealousy and paranoia towards stopping him.

While Harrow is obviously not looking like a good guy, he is a big advocate of honesty. Either way, the fact that we still know little to nothing about the Khonshu-Harrow relationship is suspicious. There is a very good chance whatever that Ammit-related history between the two is, it could fundamentally change how we look at Harrow’s mission and Khonshu’s interest in stopping him.

So, yes, there are some shady open questions. But Khonshu has been helping Marc and Steven this whole time, right? From what we’ve seen, the god has not acted against either personality, but we know that Khonshu is actively interested in Layla as his next avatar. In that way, he does not seem overly enthused or pleased with Marc. I think that Moon Knight can and will reveal that Khonshu’s motives are similar to the god’s in the Lemire-Smallwood comics run—the same run that clearly inspired the end of Episode 4.

Long story short, Khonshu puts Marc through psychological warfare because he wants to break Marc’s mind completely in order to take complete control of his body so that he would essentially have a direct presence on Earth. Moon Knight actually already teased this idea if we look back at what the series has told us so far.

After Khonshu was banished, Harrow gives a dramatic speech to Khonshu’s stone statue. He specifically says to Khonshu, “if you hadn’t broken me completely, I never would have learned the value of healing.” So, the concept of Khonshu breaking his avatar “completely” has already been introduced. During the “trial” in the Pyramid of Giza, Harrow also suggested that Khonshu is taking advantage of Marc, who is clearly suffering from a dissociative identity disorder. That tracks with the theory that Khonshu, like in the comics, chose Marc because he knew his mind was “weak”, so he knew he had a better chance of breaking or controlling him.

‘Moon Knight’ (2016)

Basically, Khonshu could be revealed as the ultimate or final villain in the next two episodes. It would be another dramatic twist, and it would make a more interesting story than Arthur Harrow. Don’t get me wrong, Ethan Hawke puts in a phenomenal performance, but Harrow and his motivation are unfortunately a bit generic. While that could just be something the rest of the series has to develop, it also would make Harrow a perfect red herring. Considering he has been killing people because a cane told him to, it’s less likely that he will be a surprisingly good guy.

His goals and actions might just take a backseat to whatever Khonshu is up to—as noted above, there is something missing regarding the Ammit plot. We have not seen any version, memory, or depiction of Ammit. Harrow is a devout follower despite not being her avatar and never communicating with her considering she has been imprisoned for thousands of years. Khonshu is apparently the one who set Harrow on his Ammit-obsessed path in the first place. Whatever Khonshu’s interest in Ammit is, he might want control over Marc’s human body to carry out his own plans.

The biggest issue with this theory, in my mind, is that Khonshu is currently imprisoned. It is not exactly clear who would set him free—my guess is Layla—but presumably, the god might be needed to resurrect Marc from the water he died in before the Episode 4 twist. The water resurrection is a whole theory of its own, but it assumes that everything that happened before the psych ward was not simply imagined and that Marc will come back to that “reality” eventually. If Khonshu does resurrect Marc, though, doesn’t that seem like he is friendly? Not necessarily if he still wants to use Marc as a seemingly “weak” mind to break—especially after Marc might go through the psych ward twist.

‘Moon Knight’ (2016)

This theory also matches up with a common theme in Moon Knight comics. Often, Marc is at odds with Khonshu and his influence. He alongside Moon Knight (to the extent they can) leave Khonshu behind. The human and god are so connected that Khonshu always comes back again, but Marc frequently recognizes how toxic his guardian can be and tries to better his life by leaving him behind. In doing so, he continues to be Moon Knight. At a certain point, the hero/fighter/vigilante is in his personality, and he always wants to continue it. He just wants to do it on his own terms. That could be a perfect jumping-off point for MCU Moon Knight—Marc/Moon Knight saying goodbye to Khonshu to become the hero they actually want to be.

‘Moon Knight’ (2016)

The first four episodes of Moon Knight are now streaming on Disney+.

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