The first episode of Marvel Studios' Moon Knight has been a big hit with fans, specifically including praise for Oscar Isaac's performance as the timid and sympathetic Steven Grant. But, as fans quickly became attached to the meek gift shop employee, it made it all the worse for them to see Khonshu disparage the confused man repeatedly.
Khonshu, voiced by Oscar-winning actor F. Murray Abraham, debuted in Moon Knight's first episode, berating Grant for interrupting Marc Spector's vital mission. This mission has something to do with a scarab Grant finds in his pocket that everyone, including Ethan Hawke's Arthur Harrow, desperately wants.
So, what exactly is the scarab? What are Khonshu's intentions? Is it simply to prevent Harrow's goddess, Ammit, from reaching the physical plane or does the Egyptian god of the moon have his own agenda? The vindictive and bird-headed god certainly makes that a habit in the comics, but do they match what could happen in future episodes?
Why Is the Scarab So Important?
When confronting Steven Grant at the museum, Harrow tells Grant that the scarab doesn't belong to him, but rather his goddess, Ammit. Harrow also explains that after Ammit "grew weary of having to wait for sinners to commit their crime before punishing them," her fellow "indolent" gods, and even her own Avatar, betrayed her.
Whether this means she was somehow killed or imprisoned by them, Harrow, as her new Avatar, needs the scarab to free her so that she may punish the past, present, and future sinners of the world. However, attentive fans will notice that the same scarab appeared in a featurette video for Moon Knight, where it can be seen hovering in Harrow's hand.
Perhaps the scarab acts as some kind of compass, pointing Harrow and his expedition to a hidden tomb holding Ammit prisoner. Once found, Harrow will use what power Ammit bestowed upon him to free her, something which also seems to appear in the trailer with a purple storm targeting a pyramid.
Regardless, Khonshu is keen on preventing that from happening by any means necessary. But, does Ammit's story of betrayal point to Khonshu being one of those "indolent" gods?
Who Exactly is Ammit?
Ammit, as described by Harrow, actually matches actual Egyptian mythology, being a goddess feared, not worshiped, for threatening to condemn sinful hearts to eternal restlessness. But, before Ammit could devour the hearts of sinners, they would have to be weighed by Anubis, the god of the dead, against a feather of Ma'at, and if they were deemed to be impure, only then could Ammit consume them.
It is likely this system that, according to Harrow, drove Ammit to become "weary" of waiting for sinners to die, which caused her to rebel and be "betrayed" by her fellow gods and Avatar. Fans even saw Ammit's ultimate goal in action when she judged Harrow's followers, through him, before they had died or even committed any sins.
As for Khonshu being one of those "indolent" gods that helped quell Ammit's rebellion, it'd make sense if he's anything like the comics. Not only is Marvel's Khonshu the god of the moon, but the god of vengeance, and you certainly can't have vengeance without victims of sinners to avenge.
Is Khonshu Still a God of Vengeance?
It's unknown if the depiction of Khonshu in Moon Knight will align with the comics since, in Egyptian mythology, Khonshu is only the god of the moon and not a god of vengeance. Marvel's moon god even takes precedence over his actual responsibility over the moon, his priority with vengeance boarding on an obsession.
In Egyptian mythology, while it was true that the Egyptian god was depicted as one that would watch over and protect those who traveled at night, even having the title of "Defender," he wasn't focused on enacting any vengeance. Khonshu in mythology was practically the opposite of his comic counterpart by being the god of fertility and even healing.
Although, the series has thus far shown Marc Spector, Khonshu's Avatar, to be quite violent. Thus far, Spector has already bludgeoned multiple human beings until his fist was covered in blood and beaten a monster to death barehanded. At one point, Khonshu even threatened to kill his Avatar if he failed in taking the scarab.
So far, Khonshu hasn't really reflected his mythologically accurate self in the first episode, especially if things only escalate moving forward.
But, beyond keeping the scarab away from Harrow and his devoted cult of followers, what plans does Khonshu exactly have? After all, in the comics, Khonshu is one of the Egyptian gods that has involved themselves the most with humanity for his own selfish ends.
The Many Machinations of the Moon God
We've already explained many of Khonshu's exploits in the comics in the past, such as possessing Marc Spector to act as an Avenger or manipulating him to cut off his sworn enemy's face. But, there is one that we haven't delved into that potentially connects to the Moon Knight series.
In Jeff Lemire's "Moon Knight," reportedly the primary inspiration for the Disney+ show, Khonshu tasked Spector to kill Seth, the Egyptian god of war, to prevent him from invading Earth. Khonshu explained that a place called the Othervoid, also known as the Celestial Heliopolis, is where all the Ennead resided—trapped.
Now, none of the Egyptian gods can leave this place to visit our dimension and must project their consciousness into our world through an Avatar. Such as former mercenary Marc Spector acting as the Avatar of Khonshu or Arthur Harrow as the Avatar of Ammit in the series.
So, it appears that, like Seth, Ammit is attempting to break through her entrapment, similar to the Othervoid, to impose her will on Earth. Something that Khonshu has tasked Spector to stop at all costs, which involves, in the case of the first episode, preventing Harrow from obtaining the scarab.
However, it is revealed in Lemire's comic run that Khonshu had deceived Spector. His true intention was to, once again, possess Spector's body so that he may be reborn on Earth and escape the confines of the Othervoid himself. So, who's to say that Khonshu won't pull something similar by the end of this series? Khonshu certainly seems like the same controlling and abusive father figure he's depicted as in the comics.
Not to mention that he already sees him as disposable, having threatened to kill him for failing. After all, if Spector dies, Khonshu can simply approach another desperate soul to be his Avatar.
Funny enough, Ammut actually worked with Khonshu to help him steal Spector's body in this story. It's an unlikely possibility, but something worth mentioning considering the irony of Ammut and Khonshu opposing one another in Moon Knight, unless, like the comic, it is also a ruse.
Another possibility is that Khonshu, after Spector has stopped Harrow, could get the same idea that Ammit had and attempt to break into our world himself. After all, he's attempted it several times in the comics, only for his Avatar to quell his ambitions multiple times, even seemingly killing him once.
The show has even set this up by mentioning how Ammit's own Avatar "betrayed" her, so fans should pay close attention to the moon god and not exclude the thought of him using his Avatar's body as more than a timeshare but a permanent residence.
Fans can continue watching Moon Knight on Disney+ on Wednesday to see Khonshu's true motives.