Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight is just around the corner, and the MCU Disney+ drought is almost at its end. Last year's Hawkeye ended the streaming side of the world on a good note, so hopefully, Oscar Isaac’s mind-bending tale of Steven Grant, or Marc Spector, is everything fans hope it to be. Based on the trailer, it seems those odds are high.
Not much is known about what is set to unfold during the show’s six installments. At the very least, the creatives behind the scenes have made it clear how the series will be more brutal than most other MCU affairs and will likely get pretty dark at times.
When it comes to who will be joining Isaac’s titular hero, besides Ethan Hawke’s villain, the rest is almost entirely unknown. Besides the scattered cast names, who they are playing and their role in the proceedings remain a mystery.
Now, May Calamawy, who plays an original character named Layla El-Faouly, has spoken more about her role in and experience on Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight.
Moon Knight, His Friend, and Representation
In an interview with Empire Magazine, Ramy star May Calamawy talked more about her role as Layla El-Faouly in Moon Knight, alongside her experience on the production.
The actress teases how her character “knows Marc Spector from the past,” so when she finds Oscar Isaac’s Steven Grant, “she obviously finds it very strange.”
Both Marc and Layla clearly have a close relationship given the new image, which sees both characters in a dig. There's a good chance this is a flashback to Marc's past, with the two of them likely being near the fateful archeological site that would eventually go on to meet Khonshu.
Both Calamawy, and the series’ director, Mohamed Diab, are of Egyptian descent. This led to the duo communicating in Arabic on set. The actress made it clear that she “love[d] having that experience,” and how it was “the first time [something like that has] happened, working in the States.”
Her enthusiasm for the director’s work was apparent, as she exclaimed how the show could have been made without him in the lead:
“It wouldn’t have the authenticity it does… Mohamed would add tiny details — the text of a prayer over a shop-front — that someone who is Arab would really appreciate. That kind of representation can change people’s lives.”
The director stepped in to make it clear how “[important] screen representation is:"
“There are 300 million people in the Arab world, and I’m the first to [direct a major Marvel project]: that’s beyond huge. May’s character, too — screen representation is so important. If people never see an Arab character that’s normal or funny, that’s why they accept stereotypes. Representation could save lives. It could stop wars. I swear.”
Representation Saves Lives
The series' director isn’t wrong. Representation can change lives and make everything better. Hopefully, Moon Knight is yet another step in the right direction on that front.
Marvel Studios’ success when it comes to diversity has been at an all-time high recently and only looks to be getting better down the road. Eternals boasted one of the most diverse ensembles the MCU has seen to date.
However, these quotes are a little ironic given recent “controversy” over the series potentially getting rid of Marc Spector’s Jewish origins—though there’s no confirmation on this, and it is mostly comprised of speculation. The role of both that area of his origin and the place of religion in the story is completely unknown.
As for Calamawy’s Layla El-Faouly , many might be disappointed in her big role. To many, she seems to be replacing Marlene, a prominent figure in Marc Spector's origin and continued story, as well as being his key love interest.
Only time will tell how all of it plays out.
Moon Knight will be streaming on March 30 exclusively on Disney+.