Why Oscar Isaac’s MCU Batman Needs Radical Reinvention To Fit Phase 4

MCU’s Moon Knight series may need serious retcons in order to make Oscar Isaac’s version of the character appropriate for the franchise.

Oscar Isaac’s casting as the MCU’s Moon Knight may be a great move for the Disney+ show, but the violent comic book means the adaptation will have to change a lot to avoid an R rating. Marc Spector, the hero Isaac will play is a blend of The Punisher and Batman and will need a major revamp to sit alongside the more family-friendly content on Disney’s streaming platform. He’s an excellent character to add to the MCU roster, as Marvel’s Moon Knight has ties to the Avengers, Heroes For Hire, and has interacted with most major Marvel heroes at some point or another. The caped crusader has also had his fair share of stand-alone issues and volumes, and so there’s a wealth of untouched source material for those creating the series.

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And a wealth of exciting places to start the series, especially since Moon Knight is a character many fans would have placed last of their list of figures most likely to receive a television adaptation. Even dyed in the wool comic fans often know very little about Moon Knight, as – fitting with his lone-wolf personality – many of his adventures are standalone events featuring no other heroes, making it borderline impossible to stumble upon him and want to read more. That said, it’s also not a bad thing, as Moon Knight’s source material wouldn’t quite mesh the lighter tone of many of Marvel’s more popular series.

Related: Moon Knight: Oscar Isaac’s Marvel Character Explained

Unfortunately, this is exactly the problem, as comic readers will attest that Moon Knight has some moments that are more akin to Sin City or another R-rated graphic novel and film adaptation than the PG style of the usual Disney fare. Moon Knight is more akin to The Punisher in many senses, as both have little regard for those they deem law-breakers and criminals, and generally, maim and murder those who fall under these categories, often in violent detail. Given the fact that Netflix canceled The Punisher and anything massively deviating from the cheery tone of the current Marvel formula seems consciously avoided in the MCU, it seems that this brutality will have to be cut down. To make matters more complicated, even when Moon Knight himself isn’t this violent, his backstory is certainly one of Marvel’s darkest, as part of it has a young Marc Spector discover a long-time family friend is in fact a Nazi serial killer. Sacrificing parts of Moon Knight’s established lore isn’t a pleasant reality, but it also increasingly appears to be one that is necessary.

Moon Knight is a character shown to have great depths, who could potentially provide the most insightful look into mental illness the superhero genre has seen since Tony Stark was diagnosed with PTSD in Iron Man 3. But Disney seems intent on avoiding including more adult characters like Deadpool in the MCU, and so a careful line will have to be walked, that allows Moon Knight to be dark and Batman-esque, but not commit atrocities akin to his comic counterpart, who once ripped his archenemies’ face off to wear as a mask. Disney is not in the business of making R rated series, despite Netflix’s model for less censorship – but they’ve clearly recognized that Moon Knight is more than the brutalities he has carried out by even proposing this series, suggesting they understand the character enough that a toned-down adaptation will still stay true to the core aspects of Marc Spector.

Even a relatively toned-down version of Moon Knight could still establish himself as one of the MCU’s most intense heroes yet. Having Moon Knight serve as a Batman-like figure for the MCU – more brutal and more serious than his allies, but also far more human for his struggles with being these things – could make the roster of Phase 4 Marvel heroes all the more dynamic and different in their views, while still preserving the majority of what makes Moon Knight such an interesting upcoming series.

Next: Everything We Know About Marvel’s Moon Knight Show

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Updated: November 29, 2020 — 8:06 pm

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