Who is the Creepy Monster Hiding in ‘Moon Knight’? A Guide to Marvel’s Khonshu

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Steven Grant/Marc Spector/Moon Knight looking confused with Khonshu right behind him

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios’ next original series coming to Disney+ is Moon Knight, which will drop its first of six episodes onto the streaming service on March 30. Oscar Isaac (Star Wars) will play Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Moon Knight. This dark entry in Marvel Phase Four will be very different from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Marvel fans are used to.

Among the new characters set to debut, director Mohammed Diab will introduce a new pantheon of Marvel gods – the Ennead and, specifically, the Egyptian god of the moon, Khonshu.

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Who is Khonshu in Moon Knight?

Oscar Iscaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Moon Knight versus Khonshu
Credit: Marvel Studios

Khonshu is not a god-like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) or Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who humans mistook for gods when the Asgardians visited Earth in the past. Khonshu is a member of the Ennead, the Gods of Egypt, who hail from Celestial Heliopolis, a small pocket dimension adjacent to Earth. The Ennead are Elder Gods and not aliens.

Khonshu is the nocturnal “God of the Moon,” “God of Vengeance,” and the “Shepherd of the Lost.” He was described as the “Greatest God of the Great Gods.” He exerts his will through the Fist of Khonshu, a lone warrior that he calls his “Moon Knight.”

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What is Khonshu’s Origin?

Marvel Comics Egyptian Moon God Khonshu Moon Knight
Credit: Marvel Comics

Khonshu is also known as Chons. He is the son of Atum/Ammon Ra, the Sun god, and Amaunet, the air goddess. He chose his first mortal avatar around the year 1,000,000 B.C., during the time of the Stone Age Avengers and initially fought against them after being denied membership on the team.

Throughout time, he has chosen multiple Moon Knights, including a gladiator in Ancient Rome, to battle his eternal enemy and father – Ra. Ra would wage war with his son using his own avatar, the Sun King. In the modern age, the Fist of Khonshu is Marc Spector.

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What role does Khonshu play in ‘Moon Knight’?

Marvel Moon Knight Trailer Shows Khonshu with Staff
Credit: Marvel Studios

Khonshu will appear to Steven Grant, the main alter in the Moon Knight series, as a monstrous figure with a bird skeleton for a face. Voiced by F. Murray Abraham, Khonshu is one of the identities living inside Steven’s head.

In Marvel Comics, Marc Spector is the main alter, and he has Dissociative Identity Disorder and has multiple personalities that come into play. These include Steven Grant, Jake Lockley, Moon Knight, Mr. Knight, and Khonshu.

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Is Khonshu Real?

Marvel Comics Moon Knight Alter Steven Grant
Credit: Marvel Comics

During the 2018 Moon Knight comic book run by Jeff Lemire, it was not clear whether or not Khonshu was a real god who had chosen Marc to become Moon Knight or if he was just another one of Marc’s altered personas. Much of that run is told by jumping between the perspectives of each of Marc’s identities, the ultimate unreliable narrator.

During the King in Black event, Knull eldritch god of darkness and the creator of the symbiotes like Venom and Carnage, it was confirmed that Khonshu was really an elder god. It was later established that Khonshu could be the cause of Marc Spector’s mental illness, as his presence in his mind is what caused his unstable mental state to fracture into multiple personalities.

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Khonshu and Marc Spector

Marvel Comics Moon Knight Marc Spector Steven Grant Talks to Khonshu
Credit: Marvel Comics

Marc Spector was the first Moon Knight introduced in Marvel Comic in Werewolf by Night #32 (1975) by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. Marc Spector was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of a rabbi who, as a child, had managed to escape Nazis during World War II.

A traumatic event with an anti-Semitic serial killer caused Marc to develop dissociative identity disorder. Marc then joined the Marines but was discharged because of his psychological problems. He joined the CIA but left after trying to kill his brother Randall Spector/Shadowknight. Marc became a mercenary and was mortally wounded by Raul Bushman during a mission to Egypt, where his spirit first met Khonshu.

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How did Khonshu meet Marc Spector?

Marvel Comics Marc Spector Dies In Front of Khonshu Statue
Credit: Marvel Comics

After Marc Spector’s mission in Egypt left him dying at the foot of the statue of the Moon god, Khonshu resurrected Marc Spector and blessed him with superhuman powers and abilities under the Moon. Though later, their first meeting was retconned to Khonshu visiting Marc Spector as a young boy. His family had sent him to Putnam Psychiatric Hospital for treatment when his different personalities began to emerge.

Due to the way many Moon Knight comic books are written, readers must doubt much of the way that information is presented. It is not clear whether he had dissociative identity disorder before or after the first time Khonshu and Marc Spector met.

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What does Khonshu want from Marc Spector?

Marvel Comics Marc Spector Talks with Khonshu
Credit: Marvel Comics

When Marc Spector lay dying at the feet of Khonshu’s statue in Egypt, his spirit encountered Khonshu, who promised to save his life in exchange for his service. As a vigilante in New York City, he found a new purpose in life. He developed a unique personality – Moon Knight – to act as the first of Khonshu.

Spector’s first significant job as Moon Knight came when the Committee, a secret organization of anonymous businessmen and financiers, hired him to capture Jack Russell/Werewolf by Night. As Moon Knight, he would battle villains like Midnight, Conquer-Lord, Shadowknight, and the Sun King.

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Khonshu’s Powers and Abilities

Khonshu
Credit: Marvel Comics

As a member of the Ennead gods, Khonshu has an array of typical god-like powers. This includes immortality, magic manipulation, superhuman strength (Khonshu can lift 60 tons), superhuman durability, and a regenerative healing factor. He is also able to teleport and can resurrect the dying, like Marc Spector, who has been brought back to life multiple times by Khonshu,

One of Khonshu’s specific powers is power absorption. During the Age of Khonshu (2020) story by Jason, Aaron Khonshu was able to steal the powers of various heroes and store them inside some Ankhs, or the “key of life.” The Ankh is a symbol Marvel uses in conjunction with many Egyptian gods. It is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol used in Egyptian art and writing to represent the word for “life.”

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What weapons does Khonshu use?

Marvel Comics Cover Moon Knight showing weapons
Credit: Marvel Comics

Khonshu also has the power of lunakinesis – he can manipulate anything made out of moonrocks (including Uru, like Thor’s hammer Mjolnir). Khonshu does not use weapons himself, but he has used his power to bestow power upon several artifacts. This includes the Divine Ankhs, which have become part of Moon Knight’s arsenal.

Most of Moon Knight’s weapons are regular technology. And many of them are shaped like a crescent moon. His glider cloak expands to a crescent, and his favorite weapon is his crescent darts. His close combat weapons are his truncheon, a combination club, nunchaku, and a grappling hook, and his silver cestus, or knuckle pikes.

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What is Khonshu’s greatest strength?

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight
Credit: Marvel Studios

There are many great gods in the Marvel Universe. Because Khonshu exists outside of the natural flow of reality. In Moon Knight, Vol. 8 Annual #1 by Cullen Bunn, Ibrahim Moustafa, and Matt Horak, Khonshu was able to alter Moon Knight that Kang the Conqueror had changed all of reality.

This could prove to make Marc Spector immune to other reality-warping abilities in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – such as what fans have seen by characters like Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in WandaVision or Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).

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What is Khonshu’s greatest weakness?

oscar isaac as moon knight scared
Credit: Marvel Studios

Khonshu cannot enter the physical world and must act through his avatar – the Fist of Khonshu. However, his presence in the mind of Moon Knight could have caused his mind to break, resulting in the dissociative identity disorder.

Breaking Marc’s mind into alternate personalities like Steven Grant and Jake Lockley is a double-edged sword. It makes it hard to coordinate or keep in control of Moon Knight. But Moon Knight does have a use for each of his personalities. The Steven Grant persona is a financier making money from gambling, and Jake Lockley is a cab driver whose purpose is to gather information at street level.

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Is Khonshu a good character?

Moon Knight transformation
Credit: Marvel Studios

While Khonshu says he wants to protect people and fight for justice, he is also a very selfish character. He is a good character when he wants to be. However, he has no problem lashing out for revenge if he feels he has been wronged – such as when the Stone Age Avengers rejected him.

When Khonshu fights with Marc Spector, he chooses a second Fist, with Dr. Badr/Hunter’s Moon, and caused Marc’s mind to create yet another persona – Mr. Knight. Mr. Knight is the identity that surfaces during Spector’s visits to his psychiatrist and when meeting civilians seeking help.

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Who are Khonshu’s greatest enemies?

Arthur Harrow talking to Steven Grant/Marc Spector/Moon Knight
Credit: Marvel Studios

In Marvel Comics, one of Khonshu’s greatest enemies is his father, Amon Ra. Ra chose his own avatar, the Sun King, during World War II to fight with Hydra. The Sun King was first introduced in Moon Knight #190 by Max Bemis and Jacen Burrows. The next Sun King was Patient 86 from the Ravencroft Institute, who was being treated by Doctor Emmet, who diagnosed him with bipolar disorder.

In the Moon Knight series on Disney+, Khonshu and Moon Knight are taking down Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke). Arthur Harrow was a Nazi scientist introduced in Moon Knight #2 (1985) by Alan Zelenetz but only appeared in one issue. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his character has been reimagined as a religious zealot and cult leader who associates himself with the Egyptian god Ammit on a righteous mission that turns murderous.

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What are the worst things Khonshu has ever done?

Avengers: Endgame Writer Wants to Tackle a Moon Knight Movie
Source: Marvel Comics

Khonshu and Moon Knight are not like other Avengers in the Marvel Universe. He is more violent, which is why Disney+ added new parental controls before the premiere of Moon Knight. In Moon Knight’s own words:

“Let’s establish some parameters. I’m not Spider-Man. And I’m not the Punisher. They represent extreme ends of the same costumed spectrum. I’m Moon Knight. And you all know that means one thing. No one in this room –myself included– knows precisely what I am capable of.”

Some of the lists of horrible things he has done in his mission as Moon Knight include carving off the face of Bushman, the man who tried to kill Marc Spector in Egypt. Even tough mercenary Marc Spector believes that Khonshu and Moon Knight take things too far, which is why he tried to retire once.

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What can fans expect from Khonshu?

oscar isaac as mr. knight version of moon knight
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Moon Knight series will be different from every show that Marvel Studios has released so far. Do not expect accurate ancient Egyptian mythology or even reliable storytelling. Since Kevin Feige and Marvel have changed the dominant alter from Marc Spector to Steven Grant, Khonshu is seen as a terrifying monster by Steven, who does not know what is going on at all.

Directed by Mohamed Diab, starring Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, and May Calamawy, Moon Knight drops on March 30. Marvel official describes the series as:

“Moon Knight follows Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.”

The series will have much more in common with the tone and style of the Netflix Marvel shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and Punisher, which just moved to Disney+. However, Moon Knight could have MCU fans question everything they knew about the Marvel Multiverse.

Let us know in the comments if you are ready for Khonshu to debut in Moon Knight.

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