Handling something as complex as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in a superhero TV show is no easy feat. (According to WebMD, DID is a “severe form of dissociation, a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity.” The person may have multiple and distinct personalities, which is often a coping mechanism that stems from severe trauma.) In Doom Patrol, Jane has DID and her relationship to her alters and trauma play a key role in her story. She was a character that some people with DID found refreshing and quite representative of their experience.
Other shows and films inspired by the real life experience of people with DID include Legion and Split, the latter of which was widely criticized. Now, in the first episode of Moon Knight, viewers meet Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac). Like his Moon Knight comic book counterpart, he appears to have DID as we see his multiple personalities. But the Special Thanks credits offers up a different option that could recontextualize Moon Knight’s characterization in the MCU. And it could avoid another lacking representation for people with DID.
Who Got Thanked in the Moon Knight Episode and Why Does It Matter?
If you watch to the very end of the Moon Knight credits—which you should!—then you’ll reach the Special Thanks segment. It’s always a nice place to see the creators who made the show possible, but can also reveal some secrets too. In WandaVision’s episode one Special Thanks, we saw the creative team of House of M thanked. That confirmed that the famed comic arc would play a large role in influencing the series, which it did. Here we get some classic Moon Knight creator thanks. And we see thanks to others who did things like specific character designs and famed arcs. But there’s another layer to the Moon Knight the list. And that leads us to believe that the MCU’s version of Marc Spector doesn’t have DID at all. Instead, it could be multiple universes’ versions of Moon Knight converging in one body.
The first notable names here are Alex Ross, Doug Braithwaite, and Jim Krueger. The main reason they’re thanked is likely because they were behind the introduction of the Moon Knight suit that looks like it’s created from mummy bandages. But their version of the hero actually came from another universe. In the Universe X series where he hails from, Marc is from Earth-9997. In an interesting MCU-relevant twist, on that Earth Marc got his powers from inhaling Vibranium during his death in Egypt. Next up is Jeff Lemire. His inclusion is no surprise as his 2016 Moon Knight run is beloved. But in the context of this piece, it’s also relevant as he has created multiple multiversal Moon Knights. Finally, there’s Bill Sienkiewicz, another iconic creator who played with alt-universe versions of Moon Knight.
How Could Those Creators Lead to a Different Story for Moon Knight?
In the comics, Moon Knight has DID. It’s a complex condition to cover in just six episodes and the first episode of Moon Knight doesn’t mention it at all, even though we see the character’s multiple personalities. The premiere also plays Steven’s struggles for laughs, which would be pretty insensitive if they were actually trying to portray DID. So if our theory is correct, the show will not follow that route and will instead present Steven/Marc as a sort of Nexus Being who can experience and connect to every universe at once. And that would mean his multiple personalities are actually different versions of Moon Knight from throughout the multiverse. These creator thanks could allude to that idea. And it would be a smart way to move away from the often problematic mental health aspect of his comic book backstory.
WandaVision already alluded to Nexus Beings. And we know that the Multiverse exists and is out of control. It’s very possible that the Moon Knight we see here is one who’s struggling to contain and understand all the different versions of himself. It would fit into the current multiversal exploration of the MCU, and would expand the notion of who Moon Knight is. In the comics, each alt-universe version of Marc Spector has lived a unique life. In one universe he’s a Horseman of the Apocalypse. There’s a version of him in the Old Man Logan timeline. There are even worlds where he has three entirely different alters. While we doubt the MCU will go there, it shows there’s comic book precedent for multiple universe Moon Knights. So what if those versions are who’s been sharing Steven’s body rather than alters created by his DID?
If He Is a Multiversal Version of Moon Knight, What Does That Mean?
Well, it would mean a pretty large shift from his comic book origins. But in the Moon Knight comics, Steven’s DID and the presence of multiple personalities has always been inherently connected to the supernatural, thanks to Khonshu. So it wouldn’t be that strange for the MCU to reimagine him as a Nexus Being. The many multiversal shifts that have recently occurred easily could have activated his powers. That could be why these different versions of himself from throughout the multiverse are converging in his body. If this is the case, then it’ll likely be for a reason. Maybe after the events of Loki, the once pruned Moon Knights now exist and need a home? Or the multiversal Moon Knights need MCU Marc’s help to stop Kang in their universes? There are a lot of options that would be totally reasonable.
With the Lord of Chaos—Shuma-Gorath/Gargantos—appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Magic alongside Chaos Magic user Wanda Maximoff, the dark power will be key. If there are multiple reality versions of Moon Knight, they could be connected to Chaos Magic. That’s already been alluded to in the trailer for Moon Knight when Arthur Harrow tells Steven that “there’s chaos in you.” But what if instead of him talking about the perceived chaos of DID, he’s talking about the literal chaos of multiple universe’s Moon Knights battling for control of Steven’s body? We’ll have to wait and see if this theory ends up being correct, but it would fit with the MCU’s trend of recontextualizing characters with problematic origin stories.
Featured Image: Marvel Studios