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Why Marvel Got Confused by Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight Performance

Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac, Marvel Studios
By Richard Nebens

Marvel Studios is slowly inching closer to restarting its Phase 4 slate with Oscar Isaac's Moon Knight, which debuts on Disney+ on March 30. This will be one of the MCU's wildest series to date as Isaac explores the franchise's newest solo hero, largely coming outside of the overarching franchise narrative. From ancient Egyptian mythology to multiple personalities, the story is set to get really weird really fast.

Although the core version of Isaac's character is his Marc Spector personality, fans will see him starting off as Steven Grant, a mild-mannered British museum employee living a relatively normal life. Footage from the show already teased how his meetings with Egyptian gods and monsters will add a sense of crazy into his life before he fully becomes a superhero.

With Moon Knight taking such a different path than many of the MCU's more straightforward stories, fans are already curious to see how these creative decisions add or detract to the growing narrative. As it turns out, according to Isaac, this was a tough thing to get right while developing the show too, especially with how differently his character started in theory.

Oscar Isaac on Weird Moon Knight Performance

Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac
Marvel

In an interview with Radio Times, Moon Knight star Oscar Isaac looked back on how differently his performance in the show turned out than how it was initially planned.

Regarding his meetings with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, Isaac remembered how much the Steven Grant persona evolved through their conversations. The actor revealed that the character was written another way before Isaac suggested how he would play the role on screen:

“It wasn’t necessarily written that way at all. And so I thought, ‘OK, well, let me see what Kevin says about this.’ And so I had a meeting with Kevin, I said, ‘This is how I’d want to do it.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, OK, go for it.’“

Feige even told him after shooting that nobody had a clue about what Isaac was doing and Marvel wasn't sure that Isaac's eccentric take on the character "was going to work at all." Thankfully, it wound up being part of what pulled everything together for the plot and the character:

"And it’s funny, because afterwards he told me they didn’t know what the hell I was doing. And they weren’t sure it was going to work at all. But you know, in the end I’m glad we did that, because everyone says it kind of makes the show.”

This added to the risk of bringing this new hero to the MCU, particularly with trusting the team developing the series. Isaac praised Feige and the crew for having so much faith in him and the opinions he brought to the table:

“It took a lot of figuring out if this was the right thing, and to take that risk. But part of that was also getting the people that I was going to trust. And what was amazing about Kevin and everyone at Marvel is that there was a lot of faith and a lot of trust in my opinions about it, and my feelings about it.

Isaac himself wasn't even sure about the choices he made, even describing it as "months of smashing my head against a stone wall" debating whether he was doing the right thing. After finishing his work on Star Wars, which was much more structured and set into stone, Isaac wanted to transition into "character studies," but he was unsure about the end results at the time:

“For me, it was all reservations. It was months of smashing my head against a stone wall like, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ I thought, ‘I shouldn’t do it. Maybe maybe... I had just kinda got out of the whole, you know, big machinery of Star Wars. And I was like, ’I just really want to do character studies. And I don’t know.’”

The Confusion of Bringing Moon Knight to Life

Oscar Isaac certainly had a tough challenge ahead of him by taking on Moon Knight, having to play at least three different characters in one show. Even though this was a challenge that he wanted to take on after more of a classic blockbuster series in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, it came with some self-doubt from some of his character-based decisions.

Even in a show that's bringing supernatural creatures and mythology to life for the MCU, the core focus is on Marc Spector dealing with his dissociative identity disorder and finding his true identity. This plot point allowed Isaac to make some bold choices regarding the personalities he plays, and that kind of freedom seemed to bring some confusion and nervousness from various angles.

Isaac's choices already appear to be making an impact according to early reviews, even considering how many conversations he had with the creative team about how his characters should be portrayed. Making a show like this was sure to come with some bold decisions, but thankfully, viewers are already eager to see the results.

Moon Knight will debut on Disney+ on March 30.


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