Mohamed Diab, who directed four episodes of Moon Knight, including the last two, knew Moon Knight would not be for everyone. It’s a pretty weird show and doesn’t, yet, really connect to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (which, for a lot of others, made it refreshingly appealing). But he’s noticeably ecstatic with the response the series has gotten and can’t wait for more. What will that be? He is sure this isn’t the end of Moon Knight, but doesn’t know if the future will be a film, or another series, or just a major role in someone else’s movie (like Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness).
Ahead, Diab gives us his breakdown of what he hopes for the future of Moon Knight. And how the series hid the reveal of Jake Lockley. And a really frank answer about if Layla El-Faouly is Scarlett Scarab or not.
The world has now seen the entire series. How do you feel?
It’s such a burden to know more than anyone, and everyone is asking about secrets and stuff, so I feel like there’s a burden that is lifted. And any artist in the world, at the end, no matter how confident they are, we always want the stamp from the audience that we did something good.
Well, last time we spoke you were very excited about the final two episodes. I felt like you really wanted to say something.
Oh, absolutely. You make films because you want to communicate with people. You want to talk to them; you want to share experiences with them. So the secret part is something new for me. And from day one I wanted everyone to watch everything. And you were watching midway, and you got excited, and I just wanted … it’s funny that Episode 5 and 6, some people even liked 5 the most or whatever.
Oh, yeah, 5 is great. I feel like the penultimate episode is always the one where the craziest stuff happens.
Absolutely. I agree with you.
Not just reviews, but just the online chatter has been overwhelming positive, but there are also the people who are like, “I don’t get it. This isn’t for me.” But I feel like you knew that was coming. Because this is a weird show. It was not going to be for every single person.
Absolutely. And I want to tell you, today, when we talk with praise about WandaVision or Loki or whatever, when you were talking to Marvel fans, let’s say there are 100 million people, and if you want to do something unique, it means you’re going to alienate some. But you’re going to have diehard fans. And that’s what happened with WandaVision and I have the feeling that this is the same thing with Moon Knight. Some people were waiting for exactly the kind of things that they’re used to, and some people loved the journey that is different and unique, and that’s what I’m proud of. I think we have some diehard fans right now that would love this show more than anything else. So I think if we’re getting almost 90% audience approval, that’s great. That’s more than anyone could think to ask for.
It’s funny because a few days ago, I was talking to Sam Raimi, obviously for Doctor Strange, and he’s the one who brought up Moon Knight. In that, he can’t believe it exists. I thought you might like that.
I like it already because he’s a geek and to hear that, that tells you how this series could be alienating to some people, but we succeeded with this show, as I told you. It’s like 93 percent of the audience like it, which is a great number. And honestly, I’m proud that we gave them a different taste, and that helps keep Marvel alive and keeps them reinventing themselves. If you really think that you’re going to please the people who exactly want the same taste, people are going to get bored at some point.
The Jake Lockley reveal … I feel that’s something that took people by surprise because not everyone knows Moon Knight like they might now Batman, or whatever. So you can still have a true reveal for a large part of the audience.
I love that. And I love how we teased it and how, at the beginning, it could have been Marc, with those blinks. And by the way, the most important thing is we tried as much as we can to be respectful and true to DID [dissociative identity disorder], so for a lot of people who have DID, this could be their experience, jumps in time and those kind of things. And that disorientation is actually made for the audience to feel exactly how the people with DID could feel. So I’m proud of that and I’m proud that Marvel took a chance on being more dramatic, being darker, shooting handheld, a lot of things. The show doesn’t look and doesn’t feel like every Marvel show, and that’s something that we’re super proud of.
The name Scarlet Scarab is never said in the series, but we’re headed there, right?
I want to tell you that this was part of the discussion, and you’re going to find some people that are going to confirm that it’s Scarlet Scarab. For me, I think there’s room to go either there or create our own character.
You know that Marvel, it’s something very important for them to not create anything from fiction.
Everything has to stay from the comic books. For me, I feel like the way we created her is mostly completely creative, though she could be the Scarlet Scarab if we wanted. And by the way, there was a scene that we didn’t shoot that would confirm that she’s Scarlet Scarab, but I just feel it’s better to be left open and maybe play with it in the future, or not.
We got to know Layla through this whole series, you’re right, you could do anything with that character at this point. I feel like there’s more leeway here to do what you want to do.
Yeah. This character, in a way, if we said, “Let’s go to the Scarlet Scarab,” isn’t even vaguely inspired by something in the past. Even the costume, we never thought about anything in the comic books. We completely created that all together, and I love that, and I love what Meghan Kasperlik and the people who designed it, our great costume designer, everyone loves all the costume on the show and I’m so proud of that. So thank you, Meghan. But creating her was such a joy. We didn’t have any references.
Where is this headed? When do you find out if there’s more Moon Knight?
I want to tell you, and this is absolutely true, there’s no games here, that Marvel keeps us in the dark, just like the fans. Today, I was in a meeting with everyone at Marvel. I couldn’t even dare to ask them that question, because I know this is something that no one would know.
I’ve heard from people in the know that with Marvel they know nothing until they know.
Exactly. Absolutely. By the way, lots of actors in the show were acting and they didn’t know anything more than their lines and their character. That’s it.
I’m just wondering if you have a sense of when you might know.
I have a … I can tell you for a fact … not for a fact. Speculation, from my point of view, it would be impossible to waste this character. But the way it’s going to happen? it could be a film. It could be just like WandaVision, the way we saw her becoming a very integral part in another superhero story. Or it could be a Season 2. I have no clue, I swear to you. If you ask me, I wish it’s a film. I love to do it as a film one day.
I hope you get your wish. And there have been unique Marvel movies. And I also think it’s hard to make something completely unique in the MCU, and I think you did it.
That means a lot to me. That’s the best compliment ever. Thank you so much.
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.