‘Moon Knight’ Director Mohamed Diab Wants to Make a Moon Knight Movie Next

·10-min read

What’s next after the six-episode first season of the Marvel Disney+ series “Moon Knight?” Well if you ask executive producer and director Mohamed Diab, it’s taking Oscar Isaac’s new MCU character to the big screen.

While Diab – who directed four of the “Moon Knight” episodes and helped steer the creative direction of the series as an executive producer – warns Marvel has kept him in the dark about future plans, he told TheWrap during a recent interview that if he had his druthers, he’d direct a “Moon Knight” movie next.

“If you ask me, I would love to have the chance to make Moon Knight into a film,” Diab said. “Maybe join someone from the Marvel Universe so it’s like partnering up with someone else or being a part of another journey.”

Diab added that he’d like to further explore the personality of Jake Lockley who was introduced in the credits scene of Episode 6, and wants to build on the character dynamics explored in the series.

“I would love to see more of Jake, see life through Jake’s point of view at some point. The best thing about starting a new story is the Marc and Steven dynamic is going to change because they’re now living in one body. So it’s such an interesting world. I want to see Layla, who doesn’t like being an avatar and how is she going to live with that or is she going to reject that or is she going to come to terms with her being a superhero? I love all that. So I hope we can put all that in a blender and just play with it.”

Executive producer Grant Curtis told TheWrap in a separate interview that the Moon Knight character could “go anywhere in the MCU” from here and “merges into a lot of different storylines” while also staying tight-lipped on the future of Isaac’s character.

But for Diab’s part, making the TV series was an opportunity to bring his more dramatic indie filmmaking sensibilities to the MCU, telling TheWrap that he fought to include the traumatic twists in Episode 5 – including Marc’s abusive mother and the drowning death of his younger brother.

“The backstory was [originally] completely different,” Diab revealed. “There was no mom, the brother was older and died differently, and there was no guilt. So bringing that in, making him die in this way was something that we needed our allies Oscar and Ethan [Hawke] for and even May [Calamaway], but Marvel at the end loved it.”

Diab was also passionate about ensuring Egyptian representation was accurate and positive, saying that Egyptians are wholeheartedly embracing the series right now.

“You don’t know how big this is in Egypt,” Diab said. “Egyptians are dealing with the show as if this is their ‘Black Panther.’ People in the third world countries, a lot of them are culturally defeated. They see the West as very superior. So they couldn’t even imagine that people are going to like our music when you put some Egyptian music in, they couldn’t believe that Egyptians could direct something as good or be behind camera or in front of the camera, and eventually having an Egyptian superhero. Oh my God. It’s so big in Egypt that it becomes like a national pride, and I hope everyone gets their own representation. It’s very important.”

Read on for our full interview with Diab in which he also reveals the origin of the “Woo! Hippo!” line and talks about the Godzilla-inspired Egyptian gods fight.

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Mohamed Diab and Oscar Isaac on the set of “Moon Knight” (Marvel Studios/Disney+)

One of the things that is really striking about the show is how dark it gets as it delves into Marc’s traumatic backstory. What were the conversations that went into that? Was there any pushback from Marvel?

I think I was hired because my movies are very dramatic and very grounded in reality, the pitch my wife Sarah [Goher] – who’s a producer on the show – and I was we wanted to find a middle ground between Marvel movies and our movies and find a middle ground. And I thought this mind game we’re seeing, if it’s made with absolute groundedness and making it seem so real, it’s going to confuse people more. Not for the gimmick, but I wanted people to feel what people with DID feel. So I don’t think there was a push back. Maybe Episode 5, because the backstory was [originally] completely different. There was no mom, the brother was older and died differently, and there was no guilt. So bringing that in, making him die in this way was something that we needed our allies Oscar and Ethan for and even May, but Marvel at the end loved it and I was just not sure if this is what Marvel fans like, and ironically, people are calling it the best Marvel episode ever. So I’m really happy that people liked it even more than the action.

I think it makes it all the more easier to commit and buy into Marc’s journey as well. But I also can’t talk to you without asking about creating giant fighting Egyptian gods. Was Godzilla an inspiration there?

I think Godzilla was an inspiration, but I honestly can’t remember if it was my idea or not. It’s collaborative. But what I remember very well is that the final episodes, the whole action was [originally] inside the chamber of the gods. But I decided that we saw Cairo during the day in Episode 3, what if we saw it at night. And if we saw the gods fighting on one level and the avatars fighting on another level, that would be very interesting. It became something interesting and people loved it, and it’s something different – gods going that big and people fighting in Cairo at night which looks fantastic. So I’m really happy with the results.

There is also a line in and around that sequence, “Are you an Egyptian superhero?” and Layla says “Yes.” Tell me where that came from.

Ah I love that. First of all, the writers came up with the idea of making Layla Egyptian, so I have to give it to them and I have to thank them. When me and Sarah joined, we definitely helped shape who she is and it was very important to avoid all the stereotypes about Egyptian women, and we wanted to make her fierce and strong. All our independent movies have women who are like that, completely against the stereotype, so turning her into a superhero was the icing on the cake. You don’t know how big this is in Egypt. Egyptians are dealing with the show as if this is their “Black Panther.”

People in the third world countries, a lot of them are culturally defeated. They see the West as very superior. So they couldn’t even imagine that people are going to like our music when you put some Egyptian music on, they couldn’t believe that Egyptians could direct something as good or be behind camera or in front of the camera, and eventually having an Egyptian superhero. Oh my God. It’s so big in Egypt that it becomes like a national pride, and I hope everyone gets their own representation. It’s very important.

And I want to tell you, people are not just happy in Egypt. It’s in the Middle East, 300 million people. Southeast Asia. Everyone who looks brown or a little bit different. My daughter, when she was five, she wanted to straighten her curly hair because she never saw anyone in the cartoon who looks like her. So to find someone like May [Calamaway] today looking gorgeous with her beautiful hair. That is something historical and it’s going to change people’s lives.

It’s wonderful. Tell me a little bit about the credits scene because it’s really exciting. When we catch up with Harrow, that asylum looks very different, maybe a little bit more realistic than the asylum that Mark was in. Tell me about approaching that scene and introducing Jake.

It’s not the same asylum for sure. That’s not supposed to be the same asylum, it’s supposed to be a real asylum. With Jake, there was a process of picking where we should introduce him. From the get-go, Jeremy and Marvel thought the best way to do them is to give Marc and Steven the time on screen. And when we tried to put in Jake, it felt like we didn’t do justice to him. And it felt like if we introduced him at the end, that would be the best way to introduce him so we can give him — one day if there’s an extension [of this story] — the time to flesh him out and make him into a character that he deserves. But it was a process of trial and error. And that’s everything in the show. Everything you see, every ending of every episode, every scene has been written so many times. The show was being written and rewritten for the past three years, a year even before I joined. So thanks to the writers more than anyone else.

So in your mind, where does “Moon Knight” go next? Do you want to see a Season 2? Is he gonna be hanging out with the Avengers? What do you want to see for this character next, hypothetically?

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Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke in “Moon Knight” (Marvel Studios/Disney+)

First of all, Marvel’s keeping us in the dark so I don’t know anything. But if you ask me, I would love to have the chance to make Moon Knight into a film. Maybe join someone from the Marvel Universe so it’s like partnering up with someone else or being a part of another journey. I would love to see more of Jake, see life through Jake’s point of view at some point. The best thing about starting a new story is the Marc and Steven dynamic is going to change because they’re now living in one body. So it’s such an interesting world. I want to see Layla, who doesn’t like being an avatar and how is she going to live with that or is she going to reject that or is she going to come to terms with her being a superhero? I love all that. So I hope we can put all that in a blender and just play with it.

I’m also curious, one of the lines that fans have really latched on to from this episode is “Woo! Hippo!” Where did that come from? Was that Oscar ad-libbing?

Sarah just whispered to me that it was Oscar. She remembers it more than me. But I honestly can’t remember. That’s the best thing about great collaboration with great people. Writers, Jeremy, Marvel executives, Kevin Feige, Oscar, Ethan, May, who sometimes would even chip in with ideas for the other characters. Me and Sarah, Justin and Aaron like, I don’t want to forget anyone but there’s so many great collaborators that every one of them came up with a great idea at some point and everyone else builds on it.

“Moon Knight” is now streaming on Disney+.

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