Every Easter Egg We Found in MOON KNIGHT's Premiere - Nerdist
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Every Easter Egg We Found in MOON KNIGHT’s Premiere

Moon Knight episode one is here. This could likely be one of Marvel’s most divisive shows yet as the MCU takes on a controversial comic book character and his complex backstory. But aside from the conversations it will likely spark, the frantic first episode has some intriguing hidden details, fun creator nods, and Easter eggs for fans to uncover. There’s also some history and context that matters to this show so we’ll be including that in here too! Let’s dig in.

Those Shoes Don’t Look Too Comfy
A still from Moon Knight shows Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow walking through a crowd of followers with an alligator headed cane
Marvel Studios

The whimsical opening of Moon Knight sets up the show’s dueling tones. As the dulcet tones of Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand” plays we see Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow—though he’s not named this episode—drinking water and preparing an uncomfortable walk for himself. In the tradition of self flagellation, Harrow fills his shoes with glass. It’s creepy on its own but it makes a lot of sense if we look at the comic book history of Harrow. In his singular appearance, Harrow is a scientist focused on the theory of pain, something he’s clearly still interested in here.

An Auspicious Introduction

We see Harrow walking through a large temple-like room which is another nod to his only comic book appearance in Moon Knight Vol. 2 #2. In that same issue Harrow continues Nazi experiments on local people in a Mayan temple, which looks similar to where we find him here. However, we later find him in the Bavarian Alps, so this is probably based there. That would align with the comic book Harrow’s use of Nazi science for his nightmarish experiments. This mini-series, Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu, is clearly a big influence on the series.

A Cheeky Nod to Lost Civilizations

As Steven heads to work at the museum—a melding of the National Gallery and the British Museum—he passes a business called Atlantis. Of course, Marvel heads will immediately go to Namor the Sub-Mariner, leader of the lost city in the comics. But here it’s more likely a fun nod to the lost civilizations that will play a large part in Moon Knight going forward.

Don’t Forget to Scan the QR Code

If you’re wanting to catch up on your Moon Knight comics, good news, because Marvel is delivering a free issue of Moon Knight thanks to a hidden QR code. In the first episode the code appears in Steven’s workplace, the yet-to-be-named Museum. It redirects users to https://www.marvel.com/moonknightcomics where you can read Werewolf by Night #32 AKA Moon Knight’s first appearance! How cool!

Steven Grant’s Bookshelf
A photo of the cover of The Birth of Western Civilization shows
Amazon

As Steven wakes up in his apartment and undoes his night shackles, we see his bookshelf behind him. The titles that we’re able to see include The Birth of Western Civilization, World Architecture, Pompeii, Ancient Egypt, and Millennium. It’s a nice nod to Steven’s interest and intelligence, though the rest of the episode may make you forget he’s an expert in anything.

A Deep Cut Comic Book Tone-Setter

Aside from the influence of Fist of Khonshu, there’s another ’80s issue that feel incredibly important to the tone of the first episode. Moon Knight #21 features a backup written by Alan Zelenetz, Harrow’s creator and Fist of Khonshu scribe. The story sees a strange man who runs into an ancient Egyptian exhibition and is pursued by Khonshu. It’s a terrifying horror story that absolutely feels like a massive inspiration for this episode, especially the final act.

A Hawkeye-Style Name Drop?

Hawkeye used multiple notable character names for recurring side characters who were not the same as their comics counterparts. It seems like this series is doing the same with Steven’s gift shop boss, Donna. In the ’90s Moon Knight comics Donna Kraft is Marc Spector’s head publicist at SpectorCorp. And interestingly her first appearance in Marc Spector: Moon Knight #39, we see Marc face down with Doctor Doom in Latveria, which will become very relevant as we continue.

A Familiar Friend
A still from Marvel Spotlight #28 shows an old man Crawley walking into a diner
Marvel Comics, Doug Moench, Don Perlin, Irene Vartanoff, Irv Watanabe

While it seems like Moon Knight is melding many comic book characters, one Moon Knight ally does make an appearance. After work, Steven sits and talks to a living statue. In the credits the character is named Crawley, who is a recurring figure in Moon Knight comics. The homeless man acts as an informant and ally to Moon Knight, and will likely play a similar role here.

A Very Special Scarab

Moon Knight‘s McGuffin seems to be a magical scarab that Harrow tells Steven belongs to the Egyptian Goddess Ammit. In the comics, Moon Knight is actually given the scarab in Moon Knight Vol. 2 #1. As we learn, Marc’s lover and ally Marlene briefly convinced him to abandon the Moon Knight persona. But he soon finds himself called to a hidden cavern in Thebes. There he meets the Priests of Khonshu who give him scarab darts along with some other ancient artifacts / weapons that make him Moon Knight once more! So expect the scarab to be important to both Harrow and Moon Knight going forward.

Welcome to Doomstadt

Steven Grant awakens in a strange location, disoriented and mangled. After finding the scarab in his pocket, he glances up at a large imposing castle. The presence of this old hillside manor conjures images of an important Marvel locale. Latveria—a fictional Marvel country located in the heart of the Bavarian Alps—is home to Castle Doom A.K.A. Doomstadt A.K.A. the residence of Doctor Doom. Many appearances of the famed castle even show it overlooking a small village, the kind which Steven desperately runs towards as armed guards fire on him.

A Hooded Figure
Marc Spector's Moon Knight Costume
Marvel Studios

Sadly, Victor von Doom is nowhere to be found. Steven approaches the village and finds Ethan Hawke’s character. As he enters the town, we get our first nod to the Moon Knight costume as Steven briefly flips up his light gray hoodie to shroud himself among Harrow’s followers. Marketing materials have revealed that Moon Knight will appear in various forms throughout the show, and this is our first nod to the costume.

von D–

Another Doctor Doom reference arrives in the form of selective framing. Marc/Steven steals a cupcake delivery van from the Alpine town and gets into a mountainous car chase. Although the name on the van says von Darrelman, a carefully positioned box behind Oscar Isaac’s head frames the name as von D, clearly meant to pair with the Alpine setting and evoke the infamous Marvel villain. With the Fantastic Four on the way soon, these nods are likely intentional.

Moon Knight Can’t Get a Date

This is either a massive coincidence or a direct Easter egg from the Arthur Harrow introduction issue. In that comic we see Marc Spector being stood up by his date Marlene, something replicated here as Steven thinks he’s being stood up by Dylan. But in the show he soon realizes that he’s two days late for his unexpected date with his sweet-hearted museum co-worker. Could Dylan end up as a reimagining of Marc’s sometime lover and teammate, Marlene?

Praise Ammit
Could Moon Knight's villan Arthur Harrow have ties to Ammit a god from Egyptian mythology
Marvel Studios/Wikimedia Commons

While we—and many fans—thought Harrow’s alligator cane was a reference to Sobek/Sebek, it’s revealed in this episode that he leads a cult dedicated to Ammit. The alligator-headed Egyptian deity is associated with times of judgment. It’s that aspect that Harrow wields as he seems to be able to judge anyone he touches, thanks to a color-changing tattoo. If they are not deemed worthy by his ink then he kills them. In his mind he thinks it’s a representation of Ammit’s powers and he’s in battle with Marc/Steven because they have the aforementioned scarab that Harrow claims belonged to the deity.

“There’s Chaos in You…”

“Use them to battle dark chaos,” a Priest of Khonshu says in that vital issue Moon Knight Vol. 2 #1 when, among other things, Marc Spector receives his scarab darts. This isn’t just a Moon Knight nod, though, as Chaos Magic seems to be key going into the future of the MCU. So could this version of Moon Knight get his powers from the same source as Wanda? We wouldn’t be surprised, especially with the king of Chaos Magic himself, Shuma-Gorath/Gargantos, making an appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness soon.

Who Is Layla El-Faouly?

This is a really big question. May Calamawy is credited high up in the show’s cast and her character Layla is the voice we heard Steven talking to over the phone. In the comics there’s no Moon Knight character called Layla, and promo images make it look like the pair knew each other in the Middle East, where Marc was a mercenary. That sounds a whole lot like his ongoing flame, Marlene Arlaune. There’s a Moon Knight character named Lyla who was a rising mob boss and cult member who faced down against the anti-hero. The Marvel shows have often reimagined characters from the comics, so there could be a connection there. Interestingly, though, there are a couple of other characters who might play a big part in Layla’s future.

In Marvel Comics there’s a character known as the Scarlet Scarab. A rare Egyptian Marvel character, Abdul Fahoul was an archaeologist who created the Sons of the Scarab and briefly joined the Axis powers in the 1940s in an attempt to extricate Egypt from British control. Powered by his Ruby Scarab, he first faced off against Marvel’s WWII team in Invaders #23 and joined their fight against Nazis in #25. The mantle passed to his son, Mehemet, who became the Scarlet Scarab in Thor #326 and teamed up with the Asgardian to reclaim a stolen Egyptian artifact. The similarity in the surnames and Egyptian connections make us think that Layla could possibly be the daughter of one of the Scarlet Scarabs and/or will become a much needed recontextualized version of the character.

The Return of a Marvel Icon
An image by Avi Granov shows Iron Man in the superhero pose
Marvel Comics

Another exciting nod came not in the course of Marvel’s Moon Knight but in its credits. This one didn’t come in the cast or special thanks, however. Instead it was in the art department; credited as a visual development concept artist is Adi Granov. He’s a legendary Marvel Comics creator who defined Iron Man during the Extremis era. Adi’s covers were so influential that they became the foundation of Iron Man’s appearance in the MCU. That includes the now infamous superhero pose with one knee bent and one knee on the ground, fist pounding the earth.

Thanking Those All Important Creators

This is the section where we shout out all the creators who are thanked and tell you why they’re mentioned—and hopefully getting paid—and what they created.

Moon Knight created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin

Alex Ross, Doug Braithwaite, Jim KruegerUniverse X #0/Mummy Moon Knight costume
Chris Warner, Alan Zelenetz – Co-creators of Arthur Harrow
Bill Sienkiewicz – Longtime Moon Knight creator and creator of Marvel Universe’s Khonshu
Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood – Creative team behind the influential Moon Knight (2016) series
Gregg Hurwitz, Jerome Opeña – Creative team behind Vengeance of the Moon Knight (2009)
Declan Shalvey – Co-creator of Mr. Knight and the design of Khonshu they use in the show

Do These Credits Hold a Deeper Multiversal Secret?
Oscar Isaac in his full costume as Moon Knight from Marvel
Marvel Studios

These thanks feature creators who have crafted multiple Moon Knights from different worlds. The show’s representation of dissociative identity disorder and mental health has so far been questionable, but what if the three versions of the character we’re seeing aren’t different personalities but are instead different multiversal versions of the hero converging on one Earth in one body? It would be a really interesting take that would move away from the more complex character aspects. And it would fit into the multiversal stories that the MCU is currently concerned with.

Featured Image: Marvel Studios

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