Moon Knight is yet another in a long line of Marvel Studios’ winning ventures. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road, like the reception to Eternals, which certainly wasn't one of the best Marvel movies according to many fans. But then again, the unbelievable box office performance of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man: No Way Home shattered critical and commercial expectations. All of this is to say that the company’s President, Kevin Feige, knows what he is doing.
Many others who have worked with the studios have voiced similar opinions. The respect that the figure behind the MCU has garnered is truly impressive. His successes have attempted to be recreated various times, but not even Warner Bros.'s DCEU has thrived in the same way.
Now, it seems another name can be added to that long list of admirers. The Direct was able to sit down with the Moon Knight’s editor Ahmed Hafez, where he discussed his time on the show and his admiration for the man behind it all.
The Genius of Moon Knight
In an exclusive interview with The Direct's Russ Milheim, Moon Knight editor Ahmed Hafez talked about his time on the project, how Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is a genius, and how much breadth he was given while piecing together the Disney+ series.
After getting the job, Hafez revealed that “[he] watched everything related to the MCU,” which took him something like “two weeks:”
“[Before boarding the project] I wasn’t a crazy fan, but I liked MCU projects. I liked Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow, and of course, Spider-Man. But, when I got the job, I watched everything related to the MCU. I think I spent like two weeks or something to watch everything before I got the job.”
When asked if he was ever given notes by Feige himself, the editor mentioned how he got the standard “studio notes,” but then continued on to exclaim how “[Kevin Feige] is a genius… [who knows] everything about the MCU, and what the fans like or what they dislike:”
“Of course, there are the studio notes. Marvel knows what the fans like and what they didn’t like. But working with Kevin Feige was a producer was a really great experience for me. This guy is really a genius, and also working with [all of] the executives; Victoria [Alonso], and Brad [Winderbaum], and Louis [D’Esposito], and Grant [Curtis], the producer, they never give a comment or note just to give a note. They all see the bigger picture. They know everything about the MCU and what the fans like or what they dislike. So I should consider myself lucky working with this workflow, and with [these people]. I honestly learned a lot from them.”
With those studios, it makes one think: how much space did Hafez have to be creative during the process?
When asked if they were given room to breathe while working, he firmly said how they “absolutely… gave us room and space,” and that “[they] heard from [them] a lot.”
“Absolutely. Big time. They gave us room and space, especially with this project. I was super lucky that I worked with Mohamed [Diab] in one episode, and the other was Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. I was super lucky; the three of them gave you space and room to make whatever you think, or whatever you imagine, and just accept everything. And also the studio gives you the space to create… [and they] heard from us a lot.”
With a show like Moon Knight, there’s obviously going to be plenty of VFX shots. So what’s it like cutting together an episode without all of those finished effects?
Hafez admitted that “[they needed] imagination at the beginning,” but that he and his whole team had multiple meetings with the VFX department daily.
“I think we just need imagination at the beginning. These kinds of projects need imagination. A big amount of imagination. And it needs time management. You need to cut your days every day, and you need to have a connection with the visual effects [team] every day. Like an hour at the beginning of the day and an hour at the end of the day. During the day [there’s also] some meetings with the visual effects team. [It also] needs a lot of flexibility.”
Being the editor, he undoubtedly sees plenty that never makes it into the final product. In fact, Hafez revealed that “there was a much longer sequence at the beginning of Episode 3… when [the show] went to Egypt:”
“…there was a small sequence at the beginning of Episode 3 that was a much longer sequence when we went to Egypt. But honestly, what we landed on in the final edit of the episode, is much, much, much better. I think it was a great choice from the studio to condense the scene.”
At the end of the day, the editor revealed that the most challenging part of the project was “editing a show not in [his] first language,” while also using a completely new editing software:
“For me, the whole project was challenging. From editing a show not in [my] first language, [and] I’d never worked with [the editing software] Avid... It was challenging to work in a software you’ve never worked with. Also, traveling for the whole year…”
For those wondering if there might be a blooper reel waiting to be released in the future, the odds aren’t likely. When asked how often Oscar Isaac slipped up while swapping back and forth between Marc Spector and Steven Grant, the editor noted that “[he doesn’t] think it ever happened:”
“I don’t think it ever happened. Oscar [Isaac] is a great actor, honestly. I enjoyed editing anything with Oscar. He added a lot of human value to Marc and Steven. I have to say, that anytime I watched any rushes for any scene, I got impressed with his performance.”
Kevin Feige, the Champion of Marvel
It’s going to be difficult to find anyone who disagrees with Hafez about Kevin Feige. Even if one hates the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s impossible to deny what he has been able, and continues, to pull off. His interconnected web of storytelling includes over thirty projects, with plenty more to come.
Even Moon Knight’s editor details how the work environment he was in provided plenty of room for the creative process to flourish. After all, if it didn’t, the MCU probably wouldn’t be around.
It is interesting Hafez mentioned how there really weren’t any deleted scenes, or slip-ups, from the series’ lead actor. It seems those behind the Oscar Isaac-led project had a relatively clear picture of what they wanted to bring to life.
Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.