‘Moon Knight’: Marc and Steven, Tomb Busters, a Hippo, and More from Episode 4
Dive into the twists and turns of the latest episode.
Marc Spector is dead. Also, Steven Grant is dead. For those watching Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight, they might be surprised to learn the show just killed off the main character, but Moon Knight is anything other than just an ordinary show — this isn’t the end; this is still only just the beginning of Marc and Steven’s journey.
At the end of Episode 4, “The Tomb,” Arthur Harrow shoots Marc (who is in control of the body at the time), leaving him to die in Alexander the Great's tomb. Then, Marc wakes up elsewhere…but where? As far as he knows, he’s been institutionalized, except that things around him look strangely familiar. Then he finds himself face to face with Steve. And then there’s a hippo? That’s only half of the trippy things awaiting viewers at the close of Episode 4.
Killing Marc and Taweret
Was there any hesitation about killing off Marc and Steven? According to Head Writer/Executive Producer Jeremy Slater, absolutely not.
“I knew a show like this needs big swings and it needs to take the audience by surprise,” he tells Marvel.com. What’s more surprising than killing off the main character? But at least wherever Marc and Steve are, and whatever they’re doing, they’ve already made one friend along the way: a hippo.
The Egyptian deity Taweret makes her grand appearance at the end of Episode 4, taking both Marc and Steven by surprise. If you ask Slater, she was honestly the only thing he needed to accomplish with the show.
“Right from the very first week, Marvel provided us with a ton of reference material on Egyptology, and on ancient Egyptian gods and deities,” He continues. “One of those pieces of material was a laminated poster that had like a little kid, cartoon drawings of all the different gods — one of those gods was Taweret. I spent that entire first week of our writers' room, just staring at that. Then finally, at some point, I couldn't take any more. I interrupted whatever we were talking about and I was like, ‘Guys, we have something much more important, which is, how do I get this hippo into the show?’”
Yes, the writer’s room erupted into laughter. “I was like, no, stop laughing. I'm very serious. We're putting her in the show,” Slater continues with a laugh himself. “I think that was the first moment everyone realized, oh, we have permission to get weird, here. We have permission to do some things you wouldn't necessarily get to do if you weren't working at a place like Marvel Studios… This gave me my weird swing. And most importantly, it got my favorite hippo into the show.”
But how she fits into the puzzle for Marc and Steven remains to be seen (if they ever stop screaming).
Turns out, “Steven Grant” is actually a real person — er, a real fictitious person, as he stars in the VHS of Tomb Busters. Suddenly, in Episode 4, the aspect ratio changes, and viewers are treated to a little snippet of Dr. Steven Grant and his trusty sidekick as they head off in search of treasure.
The directors of Episode 4, Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, were thrilled to try out something new while filming this little Tomb Busters interlude.
“It was so much fun, because that vignette, of course, is very deliberately completely different from everything we'd ever shot — in style, in performance, in lighting, and everything,” Moorhead tells Marvel.com. As the group was filming, “everybody had this giant smile on their faces as we were exploring, just being as silly as possible. The performers that we were able to get were having just this joyous time, that we were sad that we weren't able to have another day with them.”
As if Tomb Busters and Steven Grant aren’t enough of a fun, hidden detail for you, the beginning of that following scene is chock full of references to prior episodes of the series. You’ve got a Rubik's cube, cupcakes, chess, marshmallows, even a little Moon Knight figure…the list goes on. It was a fun challenge for the directors to try and squeeze in as many references as possible for eagle-eyed fans.
“What was fun was we had to call up Mohamed and ask, ‘Hey, what can we put in a scene that's really recognizable from your episodes?’ All we had were the dailies of his episodes. We didn't quite know what the other episodes looked like yet. [That scene] is all visuals. It had to be a visual cue. So what are people going to definitely remember from [his] episodes?”
Speaking of visual cues, the directors also wanted to change the look of this scene, clearly indicating Marc was now in a completely different location (and mindset).
“A lot of what we were trying to do was to visually contrast what we were doing. There's a lot of handheld down in the tomb and then he dies and everything is very steady and it's all dark. It's very dark with reflections of water light and all of that. Then it goes to the brightest set you've ever seen that’s all white,” Morehead explains.
“We realized that it wasn't that we'd spent 30 minutes [in Marc and Steven’s world], we’d spent three and a half hours in there. You know, we've got [Episodes] 1, 2 and 3 before us and so we wanted to make sure that it felt like such a gut punch that people would start questioning the reality of the entire show and which one of them is actually supposed to be the real one.”
Meeting Marc and Steven
To the utter shock of both Marc and Steven, the two actually meet. In what is certainly a surprising turn of events, Marc finds Steven in a closed sarcophagi and, after freeing him, finds his alter face to face with him. And they do what anyone would probably do in this situation: hug.
Calling it a moment that they’re “really proud of,” Justin and Aarron love that Marc and Steven “kind of instinctually hug.”
“It's an interesting reaction, especially considering the relationship they've been having with each other, but it feels right. It feels like this breath of relief,” Moorhead continues. “But what that hug is, is it's actually inspired by the end of the Jeff Lemire run of MOON KNIGHT. There's this wonderful moment where he hugs himself. We were so in love with the idea of someone hugging another part of themselves and saying comforting words that we really, really wanted to get that hug moment into one of our episodes and that moment was right.”
Moon Knight is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.
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