MCU: Doctor Strange Restricted Moon Knight's VFX In 1 Key Way

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Moon Knight, Doctor Strange

When designing the portals in Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight, Marvel Studios restricted itself due to Doctor Strange’s iconic orange ones.

Everyone knows what those sparking orange circles of light are—even casual audiences who only see the occasional MCU movie. Avengers: Endgame, in particular, truly cemented that imagery, ingraining it into the public’s memory.

With a franchise like the MCU, which is constantly being added to and expanding, everything that came before can easily influence new choices in future projects.

Doctor Strange Affected Moon Knight's Portals

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel Studios

The latest MCU artbook, Marvel Studios' Moon Knight: The Art of the Series, was recently released. In it, Visual Development Supervisor Rodney Fuentebella revealed some restrictions he encountered when designing some elements of the Oscar Isaac-led Disney+ series.

This included figuring out what it would look like for Khonshu and Marc to magically enter the hidden chamber of the Gods in Episode 3.

Moon Knight portal concept art
Marvel Studios

Fuentebella mentioned how they had "already done so many portals," such as the ones used by Doctor Strange and Thanos. So the team had to keep that in mind when figuring out something "fitting to Khonshu:"

"We wanted to come up with some very interesting looks for what that kind of portal would be... We have already done so many portals— from Doctor Strange's to Thanos'—and I wanted to come up with something new that could work with our show and be fitting to Khonshu. Something that's mysterious, something that's a little dark, inspired by the moon and shadows."

Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel Studios

Some versions of their designs included Khonshu creating a "shadow in this moon shape," while another iteration made the Moon God himself into the portal:

"In the first versions, the light that Khonshu is creating would create the shadow in this moon shape, and that moon shape would be the portal. In the ones after that, Khonshu himself would be the portal—the shadow would come from him. "

Other ideas included Khonshu "tracing a moon-shape with his staff:"

"In the ones on the top right, he is manipulating the walls, emitting some kind of glow. And, in the last ones, Khonshu is tracing a moon-shape with his staff, and something happening in parallel on the wall would create the portal."

Moon Knight portal concept art
Marvel Studios

How Designs Continue To Evolve in the MCU

Needless to say, the creatives behind Moon Knight did a fantastic job at avoiding similarities to other notable portal designs in the MCU. It probably helps that the situation doesn't generally come up too often in Marc Spector’s story.

Another portal that likely had to be considered was America Chavez's unique star-shaped tears in the fabric of the Multiverse—though it's hard to imagine that one causing any issues.

This is hardly the first time previous MCU designs have dictated future Marvel Studios choices.

Doctor Strange's portals influenced the look of Harry Styles' entrance at the end of Eternals. Other examples include how Black Panther affected the look of Scarlet Witch's runes in WandaVision and how Wanda and T’Challa’s powersets played into how Shang-Chi's ten rings worked in their debut movie.

Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.