Moon Knight has taken Marvel fans by storm and introduced many viewers to the chaotic titular hero. The Disney+ show sees Marvel finally embracing its darker side in the mainline MCU, channeling some of the grittier energy seen in the Netflix Defenders series.
This new version of the character is as confused as he is confusing. Audiences first meet Steven Grant, a character that comics fans know as a secondary personality hiding within Marc Spector’s multifaceted mind. As viewers come to learn, Steven isn’t alone in his own body.
If you’re curious about the many faces of Moon Knight, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re breaking down all of Marc’s disparate identities to help you make sense of the chaos. Who is Marc Spector, and what else is he hiding?
Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for Moon Knight.
The Avatar of Khonshu
Marc Spector is the Avatar of Khonshu, the ancient Egyptian god of the moon. Khonshu is not a creation of Marvel Comics; like Thor and Loki, he’s a real-world mythological deity who was worshipped in antiquity. His name means “traveler,” referencing the moon’s apparent transit across the night sky.
Khonshu was said to protect those innocents who traveled at night, giving his name another layer of meaning. His role in mythology was as “the light of the night,” a warm protector who comforted people when they were sick or frightened.
He keeps much of this characterization in the Marvel universe, though he’s depicted as an unforgiving deity who drives his avatars to insanity through his multifaceted nature. However, some authors have toyed with the idea that Moon Knight might not have any supernatural powers, and that Khonshu is just a reflection of Marc’s worsening dissociative identity disorder.
Marc Spector is the “host” personality of the collective that comic readers know as Moon Knight. In his earliest appearances, Marc Spector was Marvel’s answer to Batman: a well-trained, non-powered human with a secret identity who chose to fight crime at night. He created three distinct alter egos to aid in his crime-fighting: Moon Knight, the masked avenger; Steven Grant, the millionaire investor; and Jake Lockley, the streetwise cabby.
In more modern comics, authors have reframed Marc’s alter egos as symptoms of a mental condition called dissociative identity disorder. People who suffer from DID have at least two distinct personality states, sometimes called “alters,” that often have no knowledge of one another.
These multiple personalities often develop as a result of traumatic experiences. In Marc’s case, his DID likely arose due to his brutal career as a mercenary and his multiple close brushes with death.
In the comics, Marc Spector is a mercenary who becomes Moon Knight after he is nearly killed in an altercation with mercenary Raoul Bushman while on a mission in Egypt. His body is brought before a statue of Khonshu. Marc, near death, sees a vision of Khonshu, who offers to save his life if he’ll agree to become the deity’s new avatar. Marc agrees and is reborn as the super-powered Moon Knight.
Marc, as an unreliable narrator, might have simply hallucinated the appearance of the ancient deity. It’s possible that he survived a near-fatal attack from Bushman and his DID symptoms manifested as the image of a deity in his unusual surroundings.
Whatever the case, Marc returns to the US to fight crime by night as the Fist of Khonshu. Whether driven by a divine mentor or his own fractured psyche, Marc has a profound effect on criminals in New York City.
In the earliest Moon Knight comics, Steven Grant is an identity that Marc dons when he needs to integrate himself into high society. The comics’ depiction of Steven presents him as a suave millionaire philanthropist who expertly invests Marc’s earnings as a mercenary and helps finance his efforts as Moon Knight.
In the Disney+ series, Steven is a gift shop employee who is unaware of his role as an alter in a DID collective. He simply believes he suffers from bouts of intense sleepwalking. He struggles to separate waking life from dreams.
In reality, Steven is a secondary personality to host Marc, a mercenary who leads a secret life without Steven’s knowledge. The show’s version of Steven is woefully ill-equipped for superhero work, as he abhors violence and is largely incompetent in combat.
In the comics, Mr. Knight is a more recent alter ego that Marc created during an attempt to calm the storm raging within his mind. A cool, collected version of the Moon Knight alter ego, Mr. Knight is a genius detective who often works closely with the police to help solve crimes.
Mr. Knight is also the most public-facing aspect of the Moon Knight collective. In the comics, when Marc needs to address the general public, he does so as Mr. Knight. This is because he can typically trust the calm aspect of the crime-fighting personality to keep his cool in front of a crowd.
In the Disney+ Moon Knight series, Mr. Knight is Steven’s version of the Fist of Khonshu superpowers. When Steven tries to “summon the suit” in Episode 2, he inadvertently creates the Mr. Knight personality. Fans are eager to see more of this remixed version of the character, as it represents a fresh, supernatural twist on the street-level hero.
In the comics, Jake Lockley was initially Marc’s answer for dealing with the average criminal. While Steven Grant can rub shoulders with high society, driver Jake Lockley is more likely to overhear criminal chatter in the back of his cab or on a street corner.
Jake is the most secretive of the three primary identities within Marc’s mind. In one arc, Marc learns that Lockley has secretly hidden his wife and child from the rest of the personalities. Jake’s role as the no-nonsense member of the collective makes him a common character in Moon Knight comics.
Jake has yet to appear in the Disney+ show. However, given the liberties the show has taken with the comics so far, it’s easy to picture Marvel altering Jake for his live-action debut. Some fans have speculated that Jake might also have his own version of the Fist of Khonshu identity, just like Steven has Mr. Knight and Marc has Moon Knight.
Who Else Is Hiding in There?
While Marc, Steven, and Jake make up the main trio in the Moon Knight collective, there are other personalities hiding under the surface in Marc’s mind. In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, another version of Marc Spector develops a disorder like DID after receiving a Super Soldier procedure similar to the one that made Steve Rogers into Captain America.
Ultimate Marc Spector treats Moon Knight and Steven Grant as his two primary alter egos. He also experiences some thoughts from the point of view of a young girl with red hair who he identifies as his “inner child.” This version of the character also develops personalities that serve as the Ultimate Comics versions of both Paladin and Ronin, minor characters from the main continuity.
It’s unclear how many of these alternate personalities will appear in Moon Knight on Disney+. In the comics, Marc’s DID is said to be related to Khonshu’s multiple aspects as a moon deity. As Marc’s mind attempts to expand and reflect his patron, he develops more personalities and descends further into his disorder.
Oscar Isaac Delivers
Star Oscar Isaac has impressed audiences as Marc Spector and Steven Grant in Moon Knight. His differing accents and mannerisms across the two distinct characters inhabiting the same body make each feel independent. You can tell when Marc is in control just by looking at how Isaac carries himself. While Steven slouches and averts his gaze, Marc stands tall and meets his opponents with a steely intensity.
Fans are excited to see the show explore more aspects of the Moon God Khonshu and Marc’s ever-expanding repertoire of personalities. Many viewers hope to see Jake Lockley, Marc’s streetwise cab driver persona, make an appearance on the show. Watching Oscar Isaac portray these different versions of the same man is a treat for fans of the character.
What Does This Mean for Phase Four?
While the show’s horror-tinged psychological exploration of its protagonist is a far cry from the super-powered heroics of Captain America and Thor, the show serves a similar purpose as those early entries. Moon Knight needs to introduce audiences to an unusual and obscure Marvel character that the studio plans to use for years to come in movies and TV shows.
In doing so, Marvel Studios has taken several liberties with the character’s comic book origins. While some fans have gnashed their teeth at the prospect of the character differing from his comics counterpart, this is no different from the studio’s liberties with characters like Spider-Man and Thor.
Moon Knight is only just getting started, and it’s already one of the most unique shows in Marvel’s ever-growing roster of properties. It will be interesting to see how the chaotic Moon Knight interacts with other Phase Four heroes like Shang-Chi and Captain Marvel in future crossovers. Either way, Marvel Studios clearly has big plans in store for the future of the MCU.