Marvel Studios' recently-completed series Moon Knight introduced Marc Spector into the MCU. Marc, played by Oscar Isaac, has dissociative identity disorder and at least two other alternate identities that share his body. Those two alters are kind-hearted Steven Grant and cold-blooded Jake Lockley. These three identities serve as the avatar of Khonshu, an ancient Egyptian god with an attitude problem.
It's Jake Lockley who appears at the end of the show, escorting the villain of the piece, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), out of a psychiatric hospital and into a car. Once inside the vehicle, Jake leans over into the backseat, draws a pistol, and seemingly shoots Harrow point-blank.
Now, Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab previously and deliberately drummed up some ambiguity over whether Arthur Harrow truly is sleeping with the fishes when he posed the question to a fan, "Are you sure he's dead?"
But now, the head writer on the series has stepped in to offer a differing perspective.
Moon Knight's Head Writer Speaks on Harrow's Fate
When asked in an interview with The Playlist if Arthur Harrow is actually dead, Moon Knight head writer Jeremy Slater stated that, "in [his] mind," Hawke's villain is no more. This is a conflicting viewpoint from Diab's cryptic comments which suggested that Harrow lives:
"That’s the way I wrote it on the page. Again, because you don’t actually see a body, no one’s ever dead until you see the body. We had that teaser pretty early on in our story. I didn’t want to introduce Jake until the very end because I knew that it was going to be hard enough to make the audience care about the relationship between Marc and Steven if it was just the two of them. And I knew that if you put three personalities in there, it would just become a mess and that it would be too hard for the audience to track."
Slater went on to add that while he does personally count Harrow as dead, it's up for the next crew that gets their hands on Moon Knight to decide since there are "a few cards in their deck just in case:"
"So the goal from the very beginning was we’re going to save Jake for the teaser. He’s going to be the one who kills Harrow. But the fact that we don’t see a body, and I think the fact that everyone loved Ethan Hawke so much and had so much fun working with him on this project, I think they’re just kind of keeping a few cards in their deck just in case the circumstances are ever right. It could have been a flesh wound. It could have been a warning shot. I don’t know. In my mind, he’s dead. But again, the person who gets to answer that is whoever kind of tells the next Moon Knight story."
The head writer also commented on the "incredibly intentional" efforts to confuse and disorient the viewers as much as possible with regards to tracking whether the on-screen events were actually happening or if they were all in Marc's/Steven's mind:
"Oh, I think all of that stuff was intentional because I think you want the audience, especially in those early episodes, to be asking the same questions that the main character is, which is, 'What is happening to me? Is any of this real? Am I losing my mind? Am I hallucinating?' So all of that stuff was incredibly intentional to try to disorient viewers as much as possible. But I think by the time we get to the end of the story, we realize the stakes of the journey that he went on actually mattered and actually happened in the MCU."
And finally, Slater remarked that some questions posed by the show could possibly never be answered in MCU canon:
"But some of those conversations that he has with Arthur Harrow, where Harrow is like the head of the psychiatric institute or he’s posing as a doctor, I think questions like that of like, 'Well, was that real? Was that inside Marc’s mind? Was that another manifestation of one of his alters or one of his personalities?' I think those are questions that don’t have a definitive answer yet and possibly never will. Some of those storytelling decisions are above my pay grade because whoever picks up the reins on the character and tells the next story, I think, is going to get to kind of definitively answer some of those outstanding questions."
Did Arthur Meet a Harrow-ing End?
Jeremy Slater has a solid point: Jake could have merely fired a warning shot at Harrow, or he could've just wounded him and not ended his life.
As mentioned above, Arthur Harrow was left in a sedative-addled state as a patient in a mental facility by the close of the series where he was wheeled outside, only to find himself face-to-face with the third alter, Lockley. This identity was still working with Khonshu, despite Steven and Marc being released from their duties with the Egyptian moon god.
Khonshu believes in justice but has a pretty skewed perception of how it should be enacted. He has no qualms whatsoever about egging on Marc to kill those who he believes should be killed. So, with Jake still in servitude of Khonshu, it seems quite likely that the bullet released from Jake's gun was a kill shot, especially since Lockley doesn't seem to have the same moral compunction as the other alters.
All six episodes of Marvel Studios' Moon Knight are now streaming on Disney+.