As nearly everyone on the internet has noted, the English accent Oscar Isaac adopts in the upcoming Disney+ series Moon Knight has no basis in the real universe. But you may be surprised to learn that it has no basis in the Marvel Comics universe, either. The choice to play Steven Grant, one of Moon Knight’s alter-egos, as a nervous Brit with an unusual accent came entirely from Isaac himself.
For comic fans, Isaac’s performance changes more than Steven Grant’s voice. One of four personalities vying for control in the mind of former mercenary Marc Spector, Steven Grant is a suave American millionaire in the mold of Bruce Wayne. In fact, up through the early 90s, Steven Grant was Moon Knight’s primary secret identity. Writer Doug Moench, who co-created the character with artist Don Perlin, used the Grant personality to channel Spector’s ill-gotten gains as an amoral mercenary into a respectable business. Like Wayne before him, Grant’s posh public life diverted attention from his brutal work as Moon Knight, agent of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu.
Based on the few glimpses we’ve seen, Isaac plays Grant not as a debonair member of the upper crust, but as a timid antique dealer. But that creative freedom was crucial to getting such a high-profile actor to join the series. “I had just kinda got out of the whole, you know, big machinery of Star Wars,” Isaac said of his first reaction when Marvel offered him the role. But after adopting the voice and trying it out for his family, Isaac found himself hooked. “I couldn’t help but feel that there was this opportunity there.”
Isaac’s depiction of Grant isn’t the only deviation Moon Knight fans can expect in the series. Thus far, there’s been no sign of Jake Lockley, Spector’s earthy cab driver personality. In the first Moon Knight solo series, largely written by Moench and penciled by Bill Sienkiewicz, Lockley appeared as often as Grant, allowing Moon Knight to better survey the city.
Also markedly different is Ethan Hawke’s evil cult leader Arthur Harrow. Comic book Harrow is a typical mad scientist, complete with unholy experiments and connections to Nazis. Of course, Hawke had much more leeway to reinvent his character, as Harrow has appeared in only one issue: 1985’s Moon Knight #2.
While some comic fans demand total fealty to the source material, such revisions are nothing new to the MCU. Avengers: Age of Ultron gave us a killer robot created by Tony Stark instead of Hank Pym. The movie Thanos has a love of resource management driving his quest for the Infinity Stones, while the comic book Thanos gathers Infinity Gems to prove his love to the embodiment of death. If comic book fans can accept those revisions, there’s still hope that the English will accept Isaac’s accent.