Moon Knight's Hippo Originally Had a Bigger Role in the Finale

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Moon Knight, Mr Knight, Taweret, Hippo

Moon Knight told a thrilling tale of Egyptian gods and monsters, all while providing a deep exploration of its central cast: Marc Spector, Steven Grant, Layla El-Faouly, and Arthur Harrow. The ancient gods of Egypt proved to be a powerful influence over every character, with Marc/Steven serving as the Avatar to Khonshu, Layla to Taweret, and Harrow to the villainous Ammit. 

Just as they do in Egyptian mythology, each of these gods had a distinct and unique appearance for their brief screen time, no doubt requiring plenty of work to create. Khonshu had the skeletal head of a bird, Taweret looked like a hippo, and Ammit was primarily influenced by a crocodile.

With Khonshu controlling Marc and Steven to serve his purposes and Ammit seeking to massacre millions, Taweret proved to be the only friendly one of the bunch. After previously helping Marc and Steven travel through the underworld, Taweret teamed up with Layla for the finale to make her an Avatar, allowing her to get involved in the climactic battle.

Moon Knight Hippo

One particularly funny scene in which Layla first agreed to become Taweret's avatar saw the hippo-like goddess speaking through her, but it seems that moment almost played out very differently.

Moon Knight's Taweret Almost Had a Bigger Role

During a recent interview with The WrapMoon Knight's Layla actress May Calamawy revealed the hippo-like goddess Taweret almost had a bigger role in the climactic finale.

The Bahrani actress explained the scene which saw Taweret speaking to Layla through herself was originally quite different, as the goddess "was going to be in the chamber" with her instead. Calamawy also noted that she was only told about the change 30 minutes before filming:

"You know, I found out that I had to do it 30 minutes before we did it. Because initially, Antonia Salib, who plays Taweret, was on set. She was going to be in the chamber with Layla. And then Mohamed Diab comes to me in the trailer while I’m getting ready, and he’s like, 'You know, I thought about it, and actually, she has to come through you.' And I really didn’t know what that meant. I was like 'You want me to mimic, like, suddenly be possessed by Taweret?' And he’s like, 'Yeah, cool,' and he leaves me."

Layla Moon Knight Taweret
Marvel Studios

Following the surprise to Calamawy, Taweret actress Antonia Salib went to her trailer, so she could study and attempt to copy her body language and facial expression:

"And so Antonia came, we went to my trailer, and I told her, just do whatever you would have done as Taweret. I’m just going to keep copying your body language. And kind of her facial expression, she does that so well. And that’s just what I took."

Calamawy went on to explain that she "didn't have time to think" before filming and that made it the "most freeing experience of the whole show for [her]:"

"And I had to just bring it. I didn’t have time to think. And I sometimes wonder what it would have been like had I had that time to sit with it. But I just threw myself in, and it was probably the most freeing experience of the whole show for me. Because I had Mohamed just giving me some notes, and then I would go, and I didn’t have time to look at myself. And also with everything that had gone on that day, I felt this totally makes sense for Layla. She’s like, having this break right now, a moment."

The actress addressed her new powers as Scarlet Scarab, saying now she is now "capable of much more" and so she doesn't foresee her giving that up, but "you don't know with Layla:"

"Then she definitely is capable of much more with the power, so I don’t foresee her being like “Take this away.” But who knows. You don’t know with Layla, but I do think that journey of, especially me personally, I came into it being super intimidated. There were a lot of men that I was working with; there were much fewer women. And I saw how I didn’t know how to really take the space. And then by the end of it, the more I allowed myself to just be me and really interrogate the parts of me that were intimidated and question why and hold that side of me and just kind of let go, I was able to be more myself and to just come out more and be more free. And so the whole Scarlet Scarab is — it feels like it’s almost a point of freedom for Layla."

Taweret and Layla's Future in the MCU

After spending much of Episode 5 helping Marc and Steven navigate their way through the underworld asylum, Episode 6 instead paired Taweret up with Layla as she recruited her to be her avatar. Watching Taweret's energetic persona coming through Layla in a moment of peril proved to be among the funniest finale moments, and it also gave May Calamawy an excellent opportunity to flex her acting ability, making this change for the best.

In terms of what the future holds for the Moon Knight cast now that the finale is out the way, Oscar Isaac's hero will inevitably continue to expand his role in the MCU moving forward. His Disney+ debut proved to be a rather standalone affair, but the future will undoubtedly see him appear alongside more heroes in MCU crossover events and other projects.

To the surprise of many, Moon Knight's finale set the stage for Layla to get a similar treatment as she assumed the mantle of Scarlet Scarab. With Layla proving to be an ever-so-slightly more optimistic hero than Marc, perhaps her Egyptian hero could one day appear alongside the Avengers, while Moon Knight goes the Midnight Sons route.

Wherever her role in the MCU may take her, Taweret will be there beside her provide the costume, deliver instructions, and offer advice inside her head. But as a giant hippo makes for a rather significant and expensive CGI undertaking, Taweret's role will most likely continue to be primarily vocal, with only occasional in-person appearances.

Moon Knight is streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.