It was recently revealed that the Marvel Comics superhero Moon Knight almost appeared in the upcoming second season of Iron Fist on Netflix. This came as a big surprise for several reasons. First, fans of the multiple Marvel Studios Netflix series have been waiting to see how the original quartet of Defenders would be expanded ever since The Punisher received his own series spinning out of the second season of Daredevil. Second, Iron Fist has been the runt of the litter at Netflix with the poorest reception of all five Marvel Studios series so far. Finally, Moon Knight has been a likely contender for his own show based on both his history as a street level hero and cult popularity in comics. For many of us the headline that he had almost made the leap to a live action adaptation for the very first time came as a disappointment. However, there's a case to be made that this was actually a dodged bullet both for Marvel Studios and Moon Knight fans.
That is not to say Moon Knight shouldn't receive an adaptation, or even that he shouldn't receive a Netflix adaptation. The issue is that if Moon Knight is going to be introduced to this smaller section of the Marvel Studios universe, then it needs to be in his own series. Unlike The Punisher, who has already been featured in several movies and is essentially Charles Bronson with a superhero outfit, Moon Knight comes with a lot more complexity and other considerations. Squeezing him into the mysticism and martial arts of the upcoming season of Iron Fist would simply have been too much for the series and the new character. Moon Knight deserves his own Netflix series.
Complex Origin And Status
There are many reasons that Moon Knight has remained a cult favorite in comics instead of becoming one of the breakout characters recognized even by individuals who have never read a comic before. First and foremost among these is that he requires some explaining. Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America… all of these heroes can be easily summarized in only a couple of sentences. Their abilities, motives, and personalities are captured in a pitch too short to even fill an elevator ride. Moon Knight has enough personalities to cover a series of articles. One of the essential elements of the character is that he's a fractured mirror, someone whose skills and traits change on a regular basis. You can't just introduce Moon Knight into a story once, you have to introduce him several times and then explain how Marc Spector, Jack Lockley, and Steven Grant all interact (and possibly some more depending on which version of the character you're looking at).
That's only the start of the storytelling demands in presenting Moon Knight to a new audience. His origin is multi-faceted and plenty weird. In order to really get who Moon Knight is viewers have to know about his past as a mercenary. That includes both doing some pretty terrible things for cash while overseas and likely how his rough childhood fed into that. This is only the start, too, because the mercenary skills are useful, but it's a half-dead Egyptian god named Khonshu who actually empowers Marc Spector to become a superhero after returning from the dead. While it's easy for those of us who are Marvel Comics fans to take this knowledge for granted, it's frankly a lot to deal with. When you place that in the context of another superhero's story, one that also features a magical dragon, lost city, and some other outlandish elements, it quickly becomes overwhelming.
Unique Look And World
A lot of the Netflix superheroes have also benefited from outfits that don't require a massive budget. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones just have their own style with no special symbols or armor to worry about. While Daredevil has managed to pull off his best live action look so far, it also required a substantial budget and an entire debut season to achieve. While the Marvel Netflix series consistently attain a higher quality appearance than many network dramas, they also have much more notable budget constraints than their film counterparts. That poses a real problem for Moon Knight, especially when he's sharing only a small portion of another character's budget.
Just consider how poorly adapted the original Iron Fist costume looks in trailers for the upcoming second season. The last thing that Netflix needs is a crazy man in white sheets running around New York City beating people up; that has some… unfortunate connotations. If Moon Knight is going to be done well, then he needs a substantial budget to craft his look and world. Even the simple suited appearance of Mr. Knight will require some fine tailoring and plenty of dry cleaning. If they want to put him in armor or his ghost-punching suit, that will take a lot more. A big part of Moon Knight's appeal is his striking appearance, the radiant white knight that emerges from the black of night. It's better that Moon Knight start with his own series and all of the cash that entails than be shoehorned in with a mediocre take on his appearance.
A Legend In His Own Mind
The biggest reason why Moon Knight should receive his own Netflix series instead of debuting as a guest star on Iron Fist is obvious: Moon Knight is awesome. While I've referred to him as a cult favorite, that favoritism amongst fans is no accident. From his creation by Doug Moench and Don Perlin across iconic runs from beloved comics creators like Bill Sienkiewicz, Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jeff Lemire, Moon Knight has always delivered something unique for readers. His appearance is unique and flexible, a costume that thrives with some core concepts being remapped onto dozens of new designs. His personalities provide endless story possibilities, creating internal and external battles that regularly escalate together. His approach to crime fighting toes the line between superhero combat and vigilante violence, reveling in top-notch action without losing its fantastical edge. Some may accuse the character of being a Batman knockoff, but he is definitely his own superhero.
There is easily enough potential within the character of Moon Knight to fill a standard order of 13 episodes and however many seasons might follow. Introducing him to viewers as second fiddle for Iron Fist doesn't just deliver an unsatisfactory origin and poor costume quality, it does a disservice to the story. That's why we hope Netflix decided to remove Moon Knight from the script in order to save him for their next big series announcement. It's as plain as a white suit at midnight that there's no more deserving character from Marvel Comics than Moon Knight.