Who is Ethan Hawke playing in Moon Knight?

·4-min read
Photo credit: Marvel Studios - Disney+
Photo credit: Marvel Studios - Disney+

We're exploring the dark side of the Moon, as the first trailer of Disney+'s Moon Knight sees Oscar Isaac enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Alongside Isaac as the sleep-deprived Marc Spector, Ethan Hawke is making his MCU debut as the show's villain.

From the first look, we get beneath the mask of Moon Knight, a hero who is dealing with a disassociative identity disorder. As with any good Marvel outing, it's a complicated case of good versus evil, but the question is, who is Hawke's character as the big bad of Spector's story?

The first trailer's closed captions confirm Hawke will be playing Dr Arthur Harrow – a name that might not be familiar to many. Harrow only appeared in 1985's Moon Knight: Fists of Khonshu #2, featuring as a Nobel Prize-nominated doctor who developed his own pain theory.

Suspicious parties traced Harrow's treatments back to the Nazis and Auschwitz – which drew the attention of Moon Knight. As a minor villain in a single issue, he's not exactly Thanos. Then again, the MCU has turned this kind of character around before.

Harrow could be an alias for a much bigger adversary, and if this is the case, viewers think they've already spotted a potential twist that Hawke is actually the infamous Sun King. In the comics, the man known as Sun King is an ex-marine who is admitted to the famed Ravencroft Institute (cue Venom crossover) under the name of Patient 86.

Sun King burns the institute to the ground and reveals himself as a manifestation of the Egyptian god Amon Ra. Spector gets his powers from the god Khonshu, who (you guessed it) is the son of Amon Ra.

Photo credit: Marvel/Disney+ - Disney+
Photo credit: Marvel/Disney+ - Disney+

Further hammering home the idea that Harrow is a cover for Sun King, Hawke's fleeting appearance in the trailer features him walking through a nondescript town while wearing robes. Before long, those around "Harrow" bow down in a cult-like manner, like he's a god.

It fits with an interview with Seth Meyers on Late Night with Seth Meyers last year, where Hawke explained he based his character on cult leader David Koresh. As a grim tie to real life, Patient 86's story isn't too dissimilar to when Koresh's Branch Davidians were brought to an end by a standoff with the FBI: a fire started in their compound and many members burned to death.

The Moon Knight trailer has already shown off one of Spector's alters in the form of the questionably Cockney Steven Grant, so we're expecting his Jake Lockley personality to also appear. Finally bringing everything together with the idea of Egyptian mythos, the series has pitched Grant as a mild-mannered man working at a London museum.

Even if Hawke is Harrow, who's to say Moon Knight won't adapt the source material and also have him suffering from DID? It would definitely be one way to get around him going under the guise of Harrow.

Elsewhere, there are some serious Morbius vibes from the trailer, which might not be the only comparison to Sony's much-delayed vampiric outing. Creaking open the crypt, there has been plenty of speculation that Hawke would be playing Dracula in the MCU.

Photo credit: Marvel Comics
Photo credit: Marvel Comics

Hawke definitely has the acting chops to portray Dracula as a villain that wouldn't be wasted on a limited series. Spreading his wings beyond Moon Knight, Dracula could also factor into the upcoming Blade reboot and our hopes that the end of Eternals was setting up a Midnight Suns team with the likes of Black Knight, Blade, Moon Knight, and a new Ghost Rider.

Just like Hawkeye heralded the return of Vincent D'Onofrio and Loki introduced Jonathan Major as Kang the Conqueror (well, a variant), Moon Knight has the potential to add a major player to the roster of vile villains set to grace the silver screen. Then again, it's entirely possible that Harrow (or whatever his cover is hiding) could be just another Karli Morgenthau from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

We'll find out when Moon Knight debuts on March 30…

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