After the MCU kicked off its story with 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel Studios built the most successful interconnected universe in entertainment history in the 14 years that followed. The latest release in the franchise, Moon Knight, already takes a direction never before seen in the MCU with its dive into supernatural storytelling and ancient Egyptian mythology.
While Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark ended his story nearly three years ago, he continues to have a heavy presence over everything Marvel Studios brings to Phase 4 and beyond. This also comes in the area of visual effects and costuming, which continues in Moon Knight with a thrilling and intricate new set of threads that debuted at the end of Episode 1.
After being teased through Moon Knight’s promotional tour, seeing the suit form over Oscar Isaac’s body was one of the most epic moments in the show’s first week of action. Ahead of its next appearance on screen, the show’s head writer shared part of what made bringing the suit to life such a big challenge.
Moon Knight Avoiding Iron Man Similarities
Before the premiere of Moon Knight’s second episode, head writer Jeremy Slater shared some insight into how the lead character’s costume was created in a Twitter thread:
"While we're all waiting for the second episode of Moon Knight to drop, I've been trying to think of some fun, non-spoilery details I can share here.
How about some backstory on the creation of that incredible costume?"
Slater shared that the scene featuring the suit's first appearance in the bathroom was the first concept he conceived for the show. Additionally, he knew early in the process that there had to be a “supernatural” feel to the outfit:
"My very first idea for the show was a scene where Steven was trapped in a bathroom by a monster, only to be saved by the man in the mirror.
So right from the beginning, I knew his suit would need to be supernatural."
After explaining that this couldn’t be a suit hidden under Steven’s clothes, he knew that there had to be a way to conjure the outfit over the hero’s body:
"(It wouldn’t make sense for Steven to be wearing a bulky costume beneath his clothes, after all, or for Marc to always have to fetch his costume from some hiding spot.)
So we knew the suit would need to be conjured into existence somehow. We just didn’t know how."
Slater then turned his praise to producer Nick Pepin, who shared every possible piece of reference material for the lead character and his look:
"Enter Nick Pepin.
Nick was one of our two Marvel producers, and part of his job included supplying us with every piece of Moon Knight reference material on the planet. Every inch of our writers' room was papered with incredible comic art."
One of those numerous art pieces featured the “Universe X” version of Moon Knight, as Slater offered praise to the men who created this visual look for Marc Spector while sharing an image of their work:
"And one of those pieces of artwork was this UNIVERSE X version of Moon Knight, created by Alex Ross, Doug Braithwaite and Jim Krueger.
Look at that thing. Tell me that’s not awesome."
In order to differentiate it from Tony Stark’s Iron Man nanotech armor, the team instead imagined the suit being conjured “like the bandages of a mummy.” He also looked at how the costume would pay homage to Moon Knight’s original imagery in the comics:
"We realized if the suit was conjured into existence *like the bandages on a mummy,* it would feel visually distinct from all the Stark/nanotech suits that currently populate the MCU.
At this point we assumed his costume would be some variation on the traditional comic look."
When Slater and the team pitched the idea to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, the top executive not only loved it, but asked the group to take the idea even further with the mummy bandages:
"We pitched the 'summoning' idea to Kevin Feige using the Universe X costume as a visual aid. He loved it… but wanted us to take it a step further. It was Kevin’s idea to combine the modern Moon Knight look with the Universe X mummy bandages."
To close, Slater called this costume "one of the coolest" that he's seen in MCU history, heaping praise onto the team that delivered the final product:
"The end result is one of the coolest costumes we’ve ever seen in the MCU, brought to brilliant life by Marvel’s team of artists and designers. And it all started with a 20-year-old piece of comic art pinned to a whiteboard."
Moon Knight Costume Shining on Disney+
The MCU has built up an incredible standard when it comes to its heroes' costumes ever since Iron Man debuted - a trend that continues well into Phase 4 with all nine entries in Phase 4 from 2021 from WandaVision to Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, the biggest challenge for Moon Knight was making sure it stood on its own in the costume department from other iconic Marvel films.
Thinking about how Marc Spector's suit is conjured onto his body, it would be easy to make something that looked similar to how Tony's suits either flew onto him or formed over his body with the nanotechnology from later films. This is where the mummy-style visuals from ancient Egyptian mythology came into play for 2022's first Disney+ series.
Even though both outfits go onto Tony Stark and Marc Spector in similar fashions, the mummy fabric differentiates this series from Iron Man in a big way. Aside from the uniqueness of the fabric compared to the Stark-tech suit seen throughout the Infinity Saga, the way it slithers up Marc's body helps to put it in a league of its own visually.
Fans are only hoping to see more of this suit in action with the second episode of Moon Knight, which premieres on Disney+ on April 6.