“I am vengeance! I am justice!” — Moon Knight
Almost a year ago, I wrote a 2-parter called “7 Marvel Properties that Should Be on TV”, and the first property I discussed was Moon Knight. (If some of the text below sounds familiar, it’s because I “borrowed” from the earlier post.) In fact, there has been talk of a “Moon Knight” series being developed for Netflix since at least April 2015, though I am not aware of any confirmation of them moving into production. Not even a place-holder entry on IMDB. Still, it seems a (super)natural fit with the other Marvel properties that Netflix has been working on. And, naturally, I have a few ideas about who might portray our hero. But, first…
Moon Knight is part Batman, part Punisher, with some unique “issues” and abilities thrown in. Marc Spector is a former U.S. Marine-turned-CIA operative-turned-mercenary who died(?) and was brought back by the Egyptian moon god “Khonshu”, who inspired the Moon Knight persona for fighting crime (and Khonshu’s enemies). He also created for himself the alternate identities of successful financier “Steven Grant” and taxicab driver “Jake Lockley”, both of which serve his purposes as adventurer/vigilante. So, we have a rich guy with deadly skills and fancy toys who fights crime in costume (sound familiar?), who also struggles with keeping his multiple personalities straight; plus, there is the mystical connection with his serving as the “Fist of Khonshu”.
With friends & associates like Jean-Paul ‘Frenchie’ DuChamp and Marlene Alraune, and sometimes with other superheroes (e.g., Avengers) and vigilantes (e.g., Punisher), he has fought mercenaries, serial killers, assassins, mobsters, werewolves, and supervillains. It helps that he (or Khonshu) can increase his strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, durability, healing ability, resistance to pain, and his fractured psyche gives him limited immunity to telepathic control. Of course, he has plenty of other offensive and defensive skills from his training as a Marine, CIA operative, and merc — e.g., detective, pilot, marksman, interrogator, boxer, martial artist, and master of many weapons. His weapons of choice are a truncheon and throwing crescents. The toughest part of being the Moon Knight, though, may be simply holding onto his sanity.
As I recall, the Marc Spector personality is somewhat gruff, whereas Grant is more refined and Lockley is friendly but a bit roguish. Moon Knight is often, though not always, the silent type, usually focused on a mission and/or vengeance, which tends to preoccupy him a lot. On the other hand, it has been ages since I read anything with the character, so I could be a little off. Anyway, as you can gather from this second pic, he is an attractive, well-built white man with brown hair and a scar over his left eye. Marvel’s wiki lists him at 6’2″, 225 lbs., so an athletically-built white guy in the 5’11” to 6’4″ range should work. The fact that he has already spent several years in the U.S. Marines, then in the CIA, then as a mercenary, tells us he was probably in his 30s when he gained his powers (and mission) from Khonshu. Theoretically, he could get all that experience while still in his 20s, but I always felt he was older. I would say anywhere from 30 to 40 would work, but my preference would be early- to mid-30s.
Normally, at this point I would list a few actors and/or athletes that I considered briefly but ruled out for one or more reasons. And, technically, I could have ruled out one on each end of my age parameters this time. But, I decided they were all worth presenting for your consideration. So, here is our six man line-up, in order of oldest to youngest…
You might remember Christopher Gorham (6′,b.1974) from “Odyssey 5” or “Jake 2.0” or “Covert Affairs” or maybe something of another genre. He has also done a little voice work, including as The Flash in a few animated Justice League movies and as the Wizard of Oz in “Once Upon a Time”. He may be on the slim side, but I used a shirtless pic of him so you could see that he’s in good shape. (Or, at least, he was a couple years ago.) And, yes, he is over 40, but he can pass for younger.
Scott Adkins (5’11”,b.1976) should be familiar to genre fans, ‘cuz that’s mostly what he does. For example, he has been in “Mutant X”, Unleashed, Undisputed 2 and Undisputed 3, The Bourne Ultimatum, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Expendables 2, The Legend of Hercules, “Metal Hurlant Chronicles”, Jarhead 3: The Siege, and he’ll be in Doctor Strange. He definitely has the look and the martial arts skills, but his acting is a little stiff. Just turned 40, too.
I have mentioned Dylan Bruce (6′,b.1980) in at least a couple other fan-cast posts. I know him from “Arrow”, “Heroes Reborn”, and “Orphan Black”, but he has also appeared in Unstoppable, “NCIS”, “Motive”, and “American Gothic”. He’s got the look and muscular build we need for MK, and he can do action. I don’t know if he has the acting range, but I’m willing to give him a shot.
Philip Winchester (6’1″,b.1981) is another beefy, square-jawed guy that could do quite well, I think, as our slightly unbalanced vigilante / “Fist of Khonshu”. I know him best from “Strike Back”, but he has also starred in the short-lived “Crusoe” and “The Player”. He also appeared in Solomon Kane, “Warehouse 13”, “Fringe”, “Camelot”, and “24: Live Another Day”. Winchester was classically trained in London, so I’m sure he can pull off the various personalities required.
Toby Kebbell (6’2″,b.1982) may be a bit of a surprise, but I think he could be an interesting choice. We already know he can play the brooding, unpredictable type. You may recall him from Alexander, RocknRolla, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Wrath of the Titans, or 2015’s disappointing Fantastic Four (which I recently reviewed). He was also in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Warcraft, though unrecognizable behind heavy makeup and/or CGI.
Youngest in our list is Oliver Jackson-Cohen (6’3″,b.1986), who I became aware of from his portrayal of a very intense contract killer in Faster (w/ Dwayne Johnson). He had some workout scenes that showed he was in very good shape (though on the lean side), and he became quite familiar with guns, too. He has also appeared in such genre fare as The Raven, “Dracula”, and the upcoming “Emerald City”. Not my first choice, but he could definitely handle the gig.
Well, I’ve given you more choices than usual this time. What do you think? Any of them strike you as a particularly good or bad fit?
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.