Moon Knight Gets Official TV Rating and It's Lower Than Expected

By Savannah Sanders Updated:
Moon Knight Oscar Isaac Disney+

One of the many keys to the MCU's success is Marvel Studios' willingness to take risks. Even though certain members of the Hollywood Elite have described Marvel's superhero films as "cut and paste," the MCU continues to experiment with new genres, styles, and creators; and when it comes to Disney+, no one series has looked or felt like the other. That tradition of distinctive risk looks to continue with Marvel's first series for 2022, Moon Knight.

In Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac plays mercenary Marc Spector, who suffers from a dissociative identity disorder. His multiple identities, including that of Mr. Knight and Steven Grant, happen to have mysterious connections to ancient Egyptian gods.

From this unique premise to the show's first trailer, it's clear that this Marvel Disney+ series is yet another unique addition to the MCU's ever-expanding library; and as the show's March 30, 2022 release date approaches, fans are learning more about what to expect.

Marvel's "Brutal" Moon Knight Receives Official TV Rating

Moon Knight Violence

On the heels of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige teasing Moon Knight's "tonal shift" and its "brutal" character, some speculated that Oscar Isaac's Moon Knight would receive a TV-MA rating. This is the rating held by Netflix's six prior Marvel series, including that of Daredevill, whose stars recently crossed over into the MCU.

However, that no longer appears to be the case.

Following Feige's statement and ahead of Moon Knight's March debut, Disney+ has now listed the upcoming show with an official TV-14 rating, per the United States' TV Parental Guidelines. 

Disney+ Moon Knight

For reference, the TV-14 rating is described as Parents Strongly Cautioned and intended for children ages 14 and older in the company of an adult. Potential exists for intensely suggestive dialogue, strong language, and intense sexual situations or violence.

Now, while it's true that Moon Knight's "brutal" sequences and "tonal shift" are still possible given this rating, it's also worth noting that every Marvel Studios Disney+ show - (WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If...?, and Hawkeye - has received a TV-14 rating.

What a TV-14 Rating Means for Moon Knight

Even though past MCU Disney+ series have received the same rating as the reportedly darker Moon Knight, that doesn't mean What If...? or Loki or WandaVision utilized all that the TV-14 rating allows. Perhaps Moon Knight will be the first to fully explore the rating's parameters? 

Now, in terms of violence, the difference between TV-14-rated violence and that of TV-MA is two words: intense and graphic. 

Under TV-14, intense violence is allowed, while TV-MA rating television permits graphic violence. The difference? Graphic typically refers to vivid and heightened, realistic imagery, especially in terms of blood and gore. While intense violence also permits realism and the use of blood, it has limitations. 

Even though Marvel Studios wants to push the boundaries of what an MCU project can be, at the same time, the studio also wants to expand its base and its viewership numbers.

Having a television series with a TV-MA rating would eliminate certain audiences and limit viewership, not to mention the fact that Moon Knight is set to debut on Disney+, which strives to be associated with family-friendly and accessible content.

Still, that's not to say that Moon Knight can't be all that Kevin Feige promised.

John Walker's use of Cap's shield in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the imagery of that symbol dripping with blood, was something Marvel fans hadn't seen in the MCU before, but it still fell within the TV-14 rating. It's possible that this type of action is the norm within Moon Knight, as opposed to being a single scene. 

It's also worth noting that less is often more when it comes to scaring, shocking, or implying an act to the audience. The TV-14 limitations might be just what Marvel wants, especially since MCU projects are, by nature, about action and character. Shock value and brutality could detract from that and the story Marvel wants to tell. 

So just how violent and brutal will Moon Knight actually be? Fans are sure to find out when the series premieres on Disney+ on March 30, 2022.

- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.