Oscar Isaac's Steven Grant and Marc Spector are taking the spotlight on Moon Knight, but there are other notable characters who also deserve to be pushed to the forefront. The series is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe from its massive Phase 4 slate, and it revolves around the titular hero's struggle with living with dissociative identity disorder combined with the fact that he serves as the avatar of an Egyptian Moon God named Khonshu.
Based on the show's marketing, one of the character's allies is May Calamawy's Layla El-Faouly. Before entering the MCU, May Calamawy already had an impressive resume. The Egyptian-Palestinian actress portrayed Dena Hassan on Hulu's Ramy while also being featured in several shows, such as National Geographic's The Long Road Home, CBS' FBI and Madame Secretary, and NBC's The Brave.
The actress' role was a mystery during Moon Knight's promotional push, but it was confirmed that she at least has a history with the titular hero.
While Moon Knight's premiere only featured the voice of Calamawy's Layla, the second episode went all out in highlighting the character, thus laying the groundwork for her intriguing MCU future.
May Calamawy's Layla: MCU History Explained
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Moon Knight's second episode.
Calamawy's Layla made a proper debut in Moon Knight's second episode. In the installment, it is revealed that Layla is actually Marc Spector's wife, and both of them are in the midst of a divorce. Aside from being Spector's wife, Layla is also an archeologist and adventurer from the titular protagonist's mysterious past.
Layla was also not aware of Spector's dissociative identity disorder, as she was confused when she first met the Steven Grant persona of her husband.
Based on the timeline of events, it's safe to assume that Layla and Spector (and presumably other allies) are working on a mission in Egypt that could've led to an unfortunate end. The show's second episode does reveal that Spector's backstory appears to follow the same trajectory as the comics. After Spector died, there's a strong chance that he was later revived by Khonshu to become Moon Knight.
If this is the case, then it's likely that the Steven Grant persona emerged after the incident, with Spector being presumed dead. This is backed up by the fact that Layla also knows about the Moon Knight persona, suggesting that Steven emerged later on unless Marc was simply able to keep his other alter ego a close secret. Layla's shock during Grant's phone call in the first episode indicated that she was not fully aware that her husband was alive, thus leading to the fateful encounter in the following installment.
Layla also revealed that the Scarab is an artifact pointing to Ammit's ushabti, saying that it is "what we fought side by side for." This could suggest that the mission where Spector died has something to do with the Scarab, with Layla initially being involved with it.
All signs indicate that Spector could've surrendered the body to Grant in order to keep Layla safe, with him only using the body as Moon Knight to fulfill Khonshu's mission. However, Grant's meddling with the Scarab has led to Layla's involvement as well, forcing Spector to do whatever it takes to protect his wife.
What's Next for Moon Knight's Layla?
Although the character has no history in the comics, Moon Knight is clearly setting up Layla as a major figure in the vigilante life of Spector moving forward.
The episode established the idea that Layla is not the usual damsel in distress partner of the hero. Instead, the character is being showcased as a badass who can hold her own against Arthur Harrow's thugs. It is also made clear that Spector still cares for Layla, potentially hinting that this affection could be addressed in the later episodes.
The second episode indicates that Layla has no extraordinary powers or abilities, but it's possible that it could manifest down the line if Marvel Studios decides to push that concept. The fact that the character has no comic backstory already presents an endless number of possibilities.
In Marvel Comics, the closest character who has a similar name to Calamawy's character is a mutant named Layla Miller. Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel in 2005, Miller is a mutant who grew up in an orphanage after her parents died in an accident.
The character initially struggled to fit in after the emergence of her powers, but the House of M event where the Scarlet Witch played with the fabric of reality gave birth to Layla's powers of resurrecting dead beings and healing. Given that the backstory of MCU's Layla has yet to be explored, it's possible that the character could be hiding something.
Still, the second episode may have teased Layla's MCU future. During a confrontation between Spector and Grant, the former reveals that Khonshu wants Layla to be his replacement as the fist of vengeance. However, Spector told Grant that he's "never gonna let that happen."
It seems that Khonshu is trying to lure Spector into doing his "servitude" in exchange for Layla's freedom.
Whether or not Khonshu will be successful in passing the torch to Layla from Spector remains to be seen, but it's reasonable to assume that Moon Knight will do whatever it takes in order to protect his wife.
Moon Knight's first two episodes are now streaming on Disney+.