Ethan Hawke talks to Marc Spector as Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight.

Who Is the Mysterious New Villain in ‘Moon Knight’?

He has cultlike qualities, apparently.

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Good news, Marvel fans: Moon Knight is officially out. That’s right, mercenary Marc Spector’s MCU debut has come, and with it comes his iconic superhero alter ego Moon Knight quite literally bursting out onto the scene.

Like his comic book counterpart, a close encounter with Egyptian divinity throws Spector into a world of vigilante justice amid his own struggles with dissociative identity disorder. The first Moon Knight episode mainly focuses on Steven Grant, who is a mild-mannered museum worker. We quickly meet Spector by the end, who is his alternate personality and an Avatar of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. The series tackles Spector and Grant’s relationship with DID as the two carry on their new superhero duties. For those who haven’t seen it yet, expect Moon Knight to be part action-packed adventure, part psychological thriller.

Alongside Oscar Isaac’s freshman MCU appearance, fellow Hollywood star Ethan Hawke joins the MCU as Moon Knight’s lead antagonist. Read on for more information about what role he plays, what we know about his character, and the tense encounters he has with Moon Knight throughout the series.

Who does Ethan Hawke play in Moon Knight?

Arthur Harrow is greeted by religious devotees in Moon Knight.

For months, MCU fans knew only two things about Ethan Hawke’s antagonist in Moon Knight: That the legendary Dead Poets Society actor was confirmed for the role, and that Hawke developed a unique interest in Branch Davidians leader David Koresh for the villain. As he told Seth Meyers on Late Night in summer 2021, Hawke specifically “based” his role on the Waco religious leader, who he describes as “great character inspiration.” During that same interview, Hawke sported glasses and long hair that looked far too similar to the real-life cult patriarch’s own look.

Jan. 17’s Moon Knight trailer provided a closer look into Hawke’s character. He plays Arthur Harrow, a one-time antagonist toward Moon Knight in the original comics. Harrow leads a group of religious devotees to the Egyptian deity Ammit, a goddess of justice who uses her powers to judge mortals for all their acts and transgressions, be they past, present, and future. Harrow’s cult seemingly has Ammit’s divine blessing, as she bestows Harrow with the power to judge the “Scales” of anyone’s life. This either assures them salvation or kills them right on the spot.

Harrow has a prior connection with Moon Knight’s patron deity, Khonshu, having formerly served as the god’s own Avatar. He has impeccable psychological insight into others and can tell Grant is troubled by Spector’s appearance in his life (and vice-versa).

In his eyes, Khonshu is a source of disillusionment and an enemy to his goddess’ desires. But despite his seemingly high regard for justice and good, Harrow is unafraid to use his disciplines to kill anyone who gets in his goddess’ way.

Who was the original Arthur Harrow?

Arthur Harrow was one of Moon Knight’s adversaries in a 1985 edition of the original comics. In the series, Dr. Arthur Harrow was a pain theory scientist who had carried out cruel experiments at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration camp. Over the course of the comic, Spector learns Harrow is continuing to carry out his unethical pain experiments on abducted subjects, culminating in a dramatic confrontation.

This version of Harrow, of course, had little to do with religious cults and everything to do with unethical science and Nazi genocide. But the two characters seem to share the same core idea: A man who supposedly brings good to humanity has a dark secret under the surface. So even if MCU’s Harrow has no connection to his comic book counterpart, expect similar themes in Moon Knight.

(image: Marvel Studios)


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Ana Valens
Ana Valens (she/her) is a reporter specializing in queer internet culture, online censorship, and sex workers' rights. Her book "Tumblr Porn" details the rise and fall of Tumblr's LGBTQ-friendly 18+ world, and has been hailed by Autostraddle as "a special little love letter" to queer Tumblr's early history. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her ever-growing tarot collection.