Mythology is having quite the renaissance when it comes to pop culture. And it’s no wonder because these foundational tales were designed to answer key questions about human existence. But they also carry with them a fantastical element, telling stories of powerful gods and mysterious magic. Ancient mythologies rival even the most riveting modern movies and TV shows, so it’s no wonder they draw storytellers to them. Marvel’s Moon Knight, starring Oscar Isaac, definitely brought Egyptian mythology into focus. But which gods of Egyptian mythology can we expect to see on Moon Knight?
Marvel Comics, Egyptian Mythology, and Moon Knight: The Ennead: Marvel Comics’ Take On Egyptian Mythology // The Egyptian Gods and the MCU
Marvel Comics, Egyptian Mythology, and Moon Knight
The Ennead: Marvel Comics’ Take On Egyptian Mythology
In its comics, Marvel has quite a history of retelling myths. In fact, it has a whole group of comic characters based on Ancient Egyptian deities called the Heliopolitans or Ennead. While Heliopolitans is a made-up name for Marvel’s Egyptian deities, the term ennead stems from history. In Egyptian mythology, enneads were typically groups of nine gods, though not always. And the main ennead was the Great Ennead of Heliopolis. Ra led this grouping of gods, and it also included “Shu and Tefnut, deities of air and moisture; Geb and Nut, who represented earth and sky; and Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys.”
In Marvel’s comics, Ra also led the Heliopolitans/Ennead, and it included similar gods. But they did not interact with Earth at first. Instead, these Egyptian gods lived and ruled in “Celestial Heliopolis, a small pocket-dimension adjacent to Earth.” Eventually, though, they made contact with humans and were worshipped in Egypt.
The Egyptian Gods and the MCU
Throughout Marvel’s comics, these gods of Egyptian mythology interacted with Celestials and Asgardians, who now both have roles in the MCU. Some of the Heliopolitans/Ennead remain worshipped as the Orisha, or guardians, of Wakanda. Bast is the nation’s patron deity, and Thoth and Ptah also serve as Orishas. Wakanda, of course, offers another MCU tie. Given these connections, Marvel could seek to introduce more of Egypt’s pantheon of gods into the MCU, making Moon Knight the obvious place to start.
Though most of the Ennead do not appear prominently in Marvel’s Moon Knight comics, Khonshu, Moon Knight‘s central god-figure, is a part of the Ennead, thus tying them all together.
Moon Knight and the Gods of Egyptian Mythology
But which Egyptian gods might appear in Moon Knight‘s take on the mythology, now and in possible future seasons? After all, Moon Knight‘s synopsis promises us “a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.” In answer, we break down the most likely suspects, delve into their mythological backgrounds, and share their connection to the Marvel universe at large.
Khonshu, the Egyptian God of the Moon and Time, and Moon Knight’s Origin Story
One Egyptian god that will appear in the MCU’s Moon Knight is Khonshu. Khonshu may not be Egyptian mythology’s most famous god, but he’s the main god tied to Moon Knight.
Mythology’s Khonshu is known as a god of the moon and time. And he is the personification of the crescent moon. In some stories, Khonshu was the son of Amun (eventually Amun-Ra or Ra), the king of the gods, and Mut, the mother goddess of Thebes. He was also a companion of Thoth, another god associated with the moon. Khonshu’s connection to the moon, specifically, the crescent moon, makes him an obvious choice for Moon Knight’s patron god. Additionally, like Moon Knight‘s Marc Spector, Egyptian mythology’s Khonshu contains multitudes.
Sometimes, mythology considers Khonshu a violent and dangerous god, even a cannibal who feasts on the hearts. Other texts, meanwhile, see him as a gentler, compassionate being. He also takes on different forms in accordance with the moon’s phase. During a new moon, Khonshu is known as “the mighty bull.” Meanwhile, he is known as “the neutered bull during a full moon.” (Perhaps in relation to his embodiment of the crescent moon.) Furthermore, Khonshu controls evil spirits that cause humans pain and even death. But conversely, he helps “plants to grow, and fruit to ripen, and animals to conceive, and… is the god of love.”
Khonshu’s personality dualities lend themselves well to Moon Knight‘s tale. Marc Spector himself is well known for having several contrasting identities. Like Khonshu, some of Moon Knight’s personalities focus on heroism, while violence drives other versions of him.
Moon Knight‘s MCU Take on Khonshu
In Moon Knight, Khonshu also plays the role of an Egyptian god. As mentioned, he belongs to the Heliopolitans/Ennead. In Moon Knight’s comic book origin story, a dying Marc Spector is brought to Khonshu’s temple. There the god agrees to resurrect him if he becomes his champion on Earth, a.k.a. Moon Knight. Spector agrees, and Khonshu returns him to life. Moon Knight‘s god aligns with Egyptian mythology in this way because mythology’s Khonshu, too, had powers of healing.
So far, Khonshu is the one Egyptian god confirmed to appear in the MCU’s Moon Knight. In the comics, Khonshu has powers typical of an Ennead member. Which is to say long-life, but not immortality, and the potential to unleash great magic. Recently, Khonshu was also revealed as an Elder God, who wields cosmic power, with connections to Black Knight, who appeared in the Eternals, and Gargantos (by way of Shuma-Gorath), who will appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Perhaps the MCU’s Khonshu will appear more powerful than ever before.
Marc Spector and Khonshu have a complex relationship in the comics, oscillating from friendly to antagonistic. We guess it’s hard for even Moon Knight to get along with a mercurial Egyptian god. Moon Knight‘s trailers imply Khonshu will have a meaty role in the series and likely beyond. F. Murray Abraham voices Khonshu in the MCU.
Could Moon Knight‘s Villain Arthur Harrow Connect To Ammit, The Devourer?
Ammit, the devourer, was a crocodile-headed beast who ate the hearts of the unworthy on their way to the afterlife. Ammit (or Ammut) also appears in Marvel’s Moon Knight comics. In Egyptian mythology, Ammit played a key role in ‘The Weighing of the Heart” ceremony. The ancient Egyptians believed that at death, a person’s heart would get weighed on scales against the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth and justice. The ceremony included several key gods and one key symbol. Those gods were either Anubis or Osiris, labeled as the heart’s judge, Thoth, the god of reason/writing, who recorded the results of the weighing, and the hungry Ammit, ready to leap into action should a heart prove false. The key symbol of ‘The Weighing of the Heart’ ritual, of course, is that of the scales. And we do see scales tattooed on Arthur Harrow’s skin. Very interesting.
Ammit was ultimately the “personification of divine retribution” and if your heart came out too heavy, she would consume it, preventing you from entering the afterlife. Of course, the doesn’t make Ammit evil, necessarily. Each individual’s choices made their hearts ready for consumption. Although she was seen as a demon, she was also a reminder of the order necessary for peace. And her symbol was used to ward off evil. Still, Ammit is undoubtedly a dark god, and Ammit seems like a good companion for Moon Knight‘s villain. After all, MCU villains, similarly to Egyptian mythology’s Ammit, often see themselves as nothing more than forces of order.
Sobek, the Egyptian God of Crocodiles May Appear in Moon Knight
Sobek (sometimes spelled Sebek) is the ancient Egyptian god of crocodiles. In mythology, Sobek is depicted with the head of a crocodile and the body of a man. He often wears “a plumed headdress with a horned sun disk or the Atef crown (associating him with Amun-Ra) and [carries] the Was scepter (representing power) and the Ankh (representing the breath of life).”
The Nile River, of course, played a central part in ancient Egyptian life. And crocodiles were its chief inhabitants. Thus, it makes sense the crocodile god played an important role in ancient Egyptian mythology. Sobek was the protector of the pharaohs and a patron god of the military. Egyptian creation myths occasionally depicted Sobek as the world’s creator. In some tales, his sweat became the Nile, the giver of life in ancient Egypt, while in others, his eggs gave birth to the universe. Though integral, Sobek was known as a darker god who needed to be appeased. Interestingly, Sobek was sometimes named Khonshu’s father.
Sobek’s Role in Moon Knight
The god Sobek does exist in the Marvel universe. And Sobek was briefly linked to Moon Knight comics. Not to mention, Khonshu and Sobek’s familial connection in Egyptian mythology creates an interesting story Moon Knight could tell. Both Khonshu and Sobek have links to Amun-Ra as well, making them a powerful duo. There’s no telling if we’ll see the Crocodile god, but he sure would make for an interesting addition.
Bast’s Connection to Black Panther and Moon Knight
Although oftentimes known as the cat goddess, Bast (or Bastet) was first linked to the lion or desert-sand cat. However, as humans domesticated cats, Bast became exclusively associated with them, though she never lost her initial ferocity. As a daughter of Ra, Bast has the heart of a predator. But her fierceness is well used. Cats were seen as protectors in ancient Egypt, helping crops by killing vermin, and thus Bast became the goddess who protected the home. Bast was also the goddess of pleasure and bringer of good health. She held cats as sacred creatures. And mythology often depicts Bast as a woman with the head of a cat.
Bast has officially appeared in the MCU as one of the few Egyptian gods we’ve met. In the introduction to Black Panther, Bast manifests as a giant panther and bestows the heart-shaped herb and its powers onto a warrior shaman. This warrior becomes the first Black Panther and protector of Wakanda. Although Bast did not appear as a true character, Moon Knight could offer the perfect opportunity for the Egyptian goddess to return.
In Marvel’s comics, Bast appears as a panther goddess and protector of Wakanda, along with Thoth, the god of reason, Ptah, the god of craftsman, and Sekhmet, the lion god. Additionally, Bast possesses scales of great magical power. And scales, we already saw, could become a Moon Knight motif. As part of the Ennead with Khonshu, it feels very possible Bast would know the god in the MCU’s world. And given Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s 2022 release date, we could see Moon Knight lay foundations for the upcoming movie.
Worth noting that, in later periods, because of Greek intervention, Bast became the goddess of the moon.
Taweret, the Protective Goddess of Mother and Child
Of all the gods of ancient Egypt, the goddess Taweret will appear on Moon Knight. According to Variety, Moon Knight‘s Taweret will be played by Antonia Salib, although the actress did not herself confirm. In mythology, Taweret played the role of a protective goddess. She watched over pregnancy, mother, and child. In her earliest myths, Taweret was seen as a volatile force, often portrayed in the form of a hippopotamus, lion, or crocodile. Animals that Egyptians both feared but also revered.
But over time, aggression gave way to protection. And Taweret came to be known as a nurturing force, closer to a mother or nurse protective of their young. We can’t say for certain whether Moon Knight will feature any pregnancy, but anything’s possible in the MCU. Interestingly, it appears Marvel does not have a comic analog for Taweret, so this Egyptian goddess will be entirely new to the Marvel universe. Taweret also has links to the ancient Egyptian afterlife, which could play a prominent role. We can’t wait to learn more about her story.
Other Gods From Egyptian Mythology That Could Appear in Moon Knight: Ra, the Sun King
In some way, the mythological gods with direct connections to Moon Knight or the MCU all tie back to one major god, Ra (also known as Amun-Ra when combined with another power deity). Ra, the sun god, rules as the king of the gods in Egyptian mythology. He is seen as the father of creation and the “patron of the sun, heaven, kingship, power, and light.” Additionally, he could turn into the very sun itself. Given that the ancient Egyptians based their society on agriculture, it follows that the sun god plays a significant role.
As mentioned, Ra fathered Khonshu in some versions of the mythology. Meanwhile, Sobek often wears a sun-disk, associating him with Ra. Finally, mythology also names Bast as Ra’s daughter. All signs that Ra may come into play in Moon Knight.
In addition to this, Marvel’s version of Ra, also called Atum, plays father to Moon Knight‘s Khonshu. And in the comics, this cosmic father and son do not get along. Like Khonshu, who selects a champion to become his Moon Knight on Earth, Ra, too, chooses a defender. Ra’s champion becomes known as the Sun King and represents Ra’s interests on Earth since the god “cannot enter the earthly plane.”
The Sun King and Moon Knight have clashed many times throughout the comics. (Though the Sun King has never triumphed over Moon Knight.) And this sun vs. moon collision seems like a made-for-TV rivalry if there ever was one.
Other Gods From Egyptian Mythology That Could Appear in Moon Knight: Osiris & Set
When it comes to dramatic rivalries in Egyptian mythology, Moon Knight could adapt one of the most well-known conflicts between the gods. Osiris and Set’s story feels perfect for the MCU… Especially given Marvel’s rich history of sibling skirmishes.
At one point in time, Osiris ruled Egypt, helping its civilization flourish by giving laws to humans and teaching society agriculture. But his brother Set (or Seth) grew jealous of him. So Set tricked Osiris by holding a great feast in his honor and tempting him with a beautiful chest, a prize for whichever guest could fit inside of it. When Osiris lay in the chest, Set had it nailed shut and threw it into the Nile. However, realizing this was not enough, Set also dismembered his brother and flung the pieces of him all over Egypt. (Maybe something the MCU could consider engaging with, now that Disney+ has parental controls?)
Lucky for Osiris, his wife Isis and Set’s wife Nephthys collected his body parts and resurrected him. Osiris then had a son, Horus, and became lord of the dead and the afterlife. With the MCU exploring many realms in its multiverse, the afterlife could potentially appear. Marvel has explored versions of it before.
Set, meanwhile, has domain over the desert, thunderstorms, and earthquakes. Though he appears as a frightening and strange god, he does not necessarily qualify as evil. Ra adopted Set, and Set served as his protector “from the chaos serpent Apophis during the sun’s nightly travel through the underworld.”
In Marvel’s comics, Seth and Osiris are part of the Heliopolitan gods. And the conflict between them exists. If the two join the MCU, they will follow in the footsteps of sibling pairs like Thor and Loki and Gamora and Nebula.
Other Gods From Egyptian Mythology That Could Appear In Moon Knight: Isis, Mother of Magic
The MCU has embraced magic in its Phase 4. Wanda Maximoff finally became the Scarlet Witch in earnest. When we last saw her, Wanda was studying the Darkhold, a book of spells also known as the Book of the Damned. And with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness just around the corner, we know sorcerers will come back into play.
So who better for Moon Knight to introduce than the Egyptian goddess, Isis? In some versions of the mythology, Isis is known as the Egyptian goddess of healing and the mother of magic. Even her priestesses supposedly had magical powers that stemmed from the goddess.
Though her main story links Set and Osiris’ struggle, Isis has power in her own right. The ancient Egyptians called Isis, Aset. Her original Egyptian name means “Queen of the Throne.” As such, Isis was at times known as Queen of the Universe and the “embodiment of cosmic order.” Sounds like an MCU character if you ask us.
The goddess Isis also exists in Marvel Comics. In her main story, her brother Seth traps Isis, her husband Osiris, and their son Horus in a pyramid beneath Egypt. To escape, they use their magic to contact familiar figures, Odin and his son Thor. Thor becomes embroiled in the conflict with Seth. With Thor: Love and Thunder releasing on July 8, perhaps Moon Knight could set up this mythology-driven tale. After all, the movie will feature a villain, Gorr the Butcher, known for killing gods.
Other Gods From Egyptian Mythology That Could Appear In Moon Knight: Horus & Hathor
Another important god of Egyptian mythology is Horus, the falcon-headed god of Kingship. As noted, Horus is the son of a powerful duo, Osiris and Isis. But in his family’s struggle with the god Seth, Horus is seen as Seth’s key opponent. After Isis resurrected Osiris from Seth’s treachery, she gave birth to Horus but hid him away. Eventually, Horus emerged to challenge Seth and reclaim the throne of his father. Horus won the struggle and become King and god of Kings. But not before Seth damaged his eye, fracturing it into six pieces. The god of reason Thoth healed the wound, creating the eye of Horus, or the famous symbol known as the Wadjat. The six pieces of the symbol represent the six senses, including the sense of thought. If the MCU engages with any of this story, it would be wise to include Horus.
Additionally, Horus’ wife Hathor, could also play a role in this family dynamic. In Egyptian mythology, Hathor plays is the goddess of women and love. Hathor plays patron to cosmetics, beauty, dancing, music, and pleasure. And, as a daughter of Ra, she is also very powerful. A lovely goddess to have around, for sure.
Other Gods From Egyptian Mythology That Could Appear in Moon Knight: Horus, Anubis, and More
Those are just a few of the possible gods that Moon Knight could introduce when it releases on March 30. Of course, just introducing Khonshu implies the existence of all these other gods. A few of our other favorites include Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the dead; Sekhmet, the leonine goddess of war and healing; and Thoth, the god of reason who has made several appearances in our writeup already.
Moon Knight only has six episodes to its name, so not everyone can appear. Nonetheless, we feel excited to see which gods of Egypt join Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight/Marc Spector in his multiversal adventures.