Ethan Hawke Explains Key Difference Between Moon Knight & Spider-Man

By Pierre Chanliau Posted:
Ethan Hawke, Moon Knight, Spider-Man

Many were shocked when esteemed actor Ethan Hawke was cast as the main villain in Moon Knight, primarily due to his past comments about the superhero genre. Hawke explained that one of the biggest reasons he joined the cast was because of leading star Oscar Issac.

Despite Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige describing Moon Knight as "an action-adventure Indiana Jones-type story" with plenty of action typical of the superhero genre, he also said that "the mental illness is a unique aspect of the program." 

Issac himself described Moon Knight as "a wild, wild, show" with Hawke giving his own reason for what will make Moon Knight unique.


Ethan Hawke

In an interview with The Wrap, Ethan Hawke expressed one aspect of Moon Knight that appeals to him, which is the character's lack of popularity with the general audience, unlike Spider-Man and other popular superheroes:

"If you were an actor in the '50s, you know, they made Westerns. If you're an actor in the 2020s, you've got Marvel. And I'm really fortunate because we're dealing with a story that doesn't have a lot of ancillary baggage. If you play Spider-Man or Batman, they've got so much baggage and the audience have such expectations."

Hawke compared taking on a well-established superhero role to playing a known character like Hamlet, which "you can't play it in a vacuum," as you will inevitably be compared to past actors in the role. Luckily for Hawke, Moon Knight as a character has no such baggage:

"It's like playing Hamlet — you can't play it in a vacuum. You're playing it in relationship to the other Hamlets. Whereas with “Moon Knight,” people don't know much about it. It doesn't have a lot of baggage. Oscar (Isaac) is giving an absolutely phenomenal performance, and it feels exciting to be a part of it with him."

When asked if this meant Hawke was not playing a known Marvel character, he was quick to deflect, speaking about Marvel Studios' relationship with actors and how they "create space for [them]" instead:

"Yeah, it's … (Pauses) I've signed 10,000 NDAs and they give me a hard time anytime I say anything about it. They're very secretive about it. They like to create a lot of anticipation. But I understand why people love working for them. They're extremely active, friendly. They do good world-building and create space for actors. If you want to play, they want you to play."


Ethan Hawke's role in Moon Knight has been a secret since he was cast, with the only clue to his character being that Hawke based his performance on infamous cult leader David Koresh. Fans had theorized that he could be playing Dracula, but this recent interview seems to have squashed that idea.

Hawke referencing a character as classic as Hamlet means that it's doubtful that he would be playing Marvel's own interpretation of Dracula, a character that has existed for centuries and been played by hundreds of actors. For the moment, Hawke will have the luxury of playing a character that most of the general audience has never known, at least until Marvel Studios makes this character a household name like all its characters.

Moon Knight is currently scheduled to release on Disney+ in early 2022.

- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.