In my opinion, there were 3 big things to come out of the Moon Knight series — Mr. Knight, the reveal of Jake Lockley, and Layla El-Faouly’s debut as the Scarlet Scarab. I remember experiencing these moments for the first time like it was yesterday. Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy) stepping in strong with those golden wings after accepting the duty of being the Egyptian goddess Taweret’s avatar was powerful and looked very similar to another heroine’s entrance.
Scarlet Scarab’s wings look extremely similar to Wonder Woman’s wings in her 2020 sequel Wonder Woman 1984. While Scarlet Scarab’s wings are slightly more bronze than Wonder Woman’s, I can’t help but think that this costume similarity was an intentional choice made by the show’s director Mohamed Diab.
Diab is an Egyptian director and screenwriter who focuses their work on the pressing issues that occur within Egyptian society. Diab is by no means a seasoned resident of the film industry. Prior to directing and writing Moon Knight, he had only worked on one other project — his directorial debut film Cairo 678 (which was released a month before the Egyptian revolution).
He managed to lock in the Marvel Studios gig by writing the entire Moon Knight series from start to finish. Diab’s goal was to center the story around Egypt with the goal of reframing a consistently inaccurate Western depiction of his country, which he believed has been “inauthentically portrayed throughout Hollywood’s history,” as Diab told SFX Magazine.
A recent piece of Western media he took issue with was, you guessed it, Wonder Woman 1984. Diab pointed out that Patty Jenkin’s sequel was an example of “orientalism” with depicted stereotypes in a scene that was supposedly set in Egypt.
“You never see Cairo. You always see Jordan shot for Cairo, Morocco shot for Cairo, sometimes Spain shot for Cairo. This really angers us. I remember seeing Wonder Woman 1984 and there was a big sequence in Egypt and it was a disgrace for us. You had a sheik — that doesn’t make any sense to us. Egypt looked like a country from the Middle Ages. It looked like the desert.”
The appointing of Diab as the director of Moon Knight not only spectacularly brought to life a lesser-known Marvel Comics character but also served as an achievement milestone for the Egyptian community in creating a story that served as an ode to their heritage without locking them in a time capsule — something that Wonder Woman 1984 unabashedly did by using Egypt and its people as props.
And in case you didn’t know, Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight is slightly autistic.
Photos via Marvel/DC/Warner Bros.