This Moon Knight article contains spoilers.
“Why else would we be in Cairo?” When Oscar Isaac asked that question in a viral TikTok video with director Mohamed Diab, it sparked hopes that a new season of Moon Knight was in the works. After all, since the first season ended its run in May, there has been no clear sign of what the future holds for Marc Spector, Steven Grant, and Jake Lockley in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Between the show’s lack of clear connection to the rest of the MCU and the single-season deal signed by Isaac, many wondered if the series would return for another go around at all. But while no official announcement has been made, the video — and Diab’s decision to share it with the header “Moonknight season 2?” — seems to indicate that Marc Spector and his many personalities could indeed return to television screens.
But is that a good thing? While the show enjoyed strong ratings during its run on Disney+, reception was decidedly mixed, including here at Den of Geek. Weekly reviews expressed disappointment, and even I — the biggest defender of the series on Marvel Standom — had to admit that the final episode failed to meet expectations. If the Fist of Khonshu does get a second season, can it overcome the problems of the first season and deliver on the promise of the concept?
What Went Wrong in Moon Knight Season 1?
Even the series’ most ardent detractors admit that Moon Knight has a lot of good things going for it, beginning with star Isaac, one of the best actors working today. But it was May Calamawy who really impressed viewers with her vibrant performance as Layla El-Faouly, Spector’s estranged wife. Where Layla’s comic book source Marlene Alraune rarely transcends “damsel-in-distress level,” Calamawy transformed the character into a complex and dynamic hero in her own right.
In addition to established horror directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, Egyptian filmmaker Diab helmed several episodes, bringing a unique cultural specificity to the series. Throughout Spector’s adventures in Cairo, Diab would pause to show something rarely seen in Western series, including a wedding ceremony and local cuisine. This attention to detail set Moon Knight apart from other MCU entries, which too often take place in either New York or outer space.
But despite these attributes, the series got off on a wrong start by focusing on the Steven Grant personality, reimagined here as a bumbling English museum worker. In addition to subjecting viewers to Isaac’s questionable accent, the storytelling decision put the more action-oriented Marc Spector identity in the background, making Marc a side character in his own story. Furthermore, the producers decision to dramatize the change in identities as cuts to black meant that key action moments, include the climactic battle in the finale, happened off-screen.
In many ways, Moon Knight suffered from the same problems as many Marvel shows, going longer than the length of a movie but not devoting enough episodes to properly tell the story. As a result, Moon Knight often felt too lackadaisical, taking its time to watch Steven fumble around, while rushing through the final two episodes for significant character development.
What Should Moon Knight Season 2 Be About?
Despite these significant issues, the second season of Moon Knight would give Marvel a chance to rectify its errors and capitalize on the premise. The first season closes with Marc and Steven establishing a type of equilibrium, which eliminates the need for creators to short-change the former and emphasize the latter. Furthermore, with Layla taking the identity of the Scarlet Scarab, she can be more active in the story without being subordinated to Spector and Grant.
While the first season wrapped up many of its basic plotlines, several others still remain. Most notably, the post-credit scene revealed the existence of a third personality, the violent Jake Lockley, who is still in Khonshu’s service. A second season could operate as a buddy comedy, in which Marc and Jake team-up to stop Jake and free themselves from Khonshu for good.
That plotline would be especially compelling if Lockley ends up on the Thunderbolts, the dark Avengers that Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) has been assembling throughout Phase 4. Although there had been some consideration of bringing in Dane Whitman the Black Knight, last seen in Eternals, or Gorr the God-Butcher from Thor: Love and Thunder into Moon Knight, the series largely stayed separate from the rest of the MCU. But if Moon Knight’s comic book adventures are any indication, it would be a lot of fun to watch other heroes (or the rogues of the Thunderbolts) try to deal with Marc and Steven. If Marvel chooses this direction for the live-action version, Moon Knight season 2 could focus on introducing the character to the larger MCU.
Finally, there’s the question of villains. Despite getting Ethan Hawke to play the role, no one considers Arthur Harrow to be Moon Knight’s greatest nemesis. In fact, the character appeared in only one comic book issue, and in a very different form. That leaves plenty of more notable Moon Knight adversaries to explore on screen.
In addition to the dream demon Morpheus (not to be confused with the Sandman over at DC) and the Sun King, Moon Knight’s prime antagonist is Raoul Bushman, Marc’s former mercenary boss. To be sure, Bushman invokes more than a few cultural stereotypes. But as seen with the Mandarin in Shang Chi, Marvel knows how to reshape a character with a problematic past.
But Does Moon Knight Deserve a Second Chance?
While a second season offers numerous possibilities, the question still remains: should Moon Knight get to come back? Some may say no, suggesting that we’re starting to see the onset of “superhero fatigue”, fueled in part by the many movies and shows Marvel releases a year. A new Moon Knight season may only fuel that exhaustion. On the other hand, even Disney has only so much money to devote to the MCU, and a Moon Knight second season might take resources away from another character, who deserves a chance in the spotlight.
While I certainly want to see more lesser-known Marvel heroes like Wonder Man and the Great Lakes Avengers make it into the MCU, I certainly think Moon Knight offers too much potential to be ignored. Leaving aside the fact that he’s played by Oscar Isaac, Moon Knight offers a unique opportunity to examine mental health through a superhero lens. Over the years, Marc Spector has become a character who learns how to not only survive with a unique mental state but actually thrive and do good. Where too many superhero stories portray different mental states as inherently evil (looking at you Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), Moon Knight shows that different is not the same as broken, and can actually be heroic.
It remains to be seen if Diab and other creatives on Moon Knight can craft a television series that does justice to those concepts. But with so much potential to do something different, it would be a shame if Disney didn’t even give it a shot.
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