We sure live in a strange world, and that strange world has seen fit to be angry about Oscar Isaac being cast as Moon Knight in the upcoming Disney+ series. Why anyone would be upset about this fact is confusing, but it has a ton to do with the character creation and its creator. Quite frankly, Isaac is one of the best actors in the entire world, but it appears as part of the internet is upset at Isaac not being Jewish, due to the character’s origins. Now Moon Knight creator, Alan Zelenetz, has spoken out about this supposed controversy.
Alan Zelenetz seems to fully understand the way of the world and inclusion and commented on the fact of Isaac being cast as Moon Knight. According to Zelenetz, “Moon Knight has to be Jewish — ‘Oh, we’re watching Marvel! The boycott is around the corner.’ I can smell blood in the water already! ‘How could they not make him Jewish? Oscar Isaac is not Jewish, even though he has the name “Isaac.” And they’ve got an Egyptian director — what’s going on here?'” There could be some clear humor in his response to the controversy, but Zelenetz also says, “They’re certainly not bound by any origins.” That is a smart way of looking at current Marvel continuity and how certain characters’ origins may or may not be altered in the grand scheme of things.
The Moon Knight character’s origins aren’t the only thing that could be going through a bit of change for the upcoming Disney+ show, as the villainous Arthur Hallow (played by Ethan Hawke) might also be different from when he was created in the comics by Alan Zelenetz. Zelenetz claimed that he doesn’t even remember creating the said character. Zelenetz added, “So he’s not Jewish and he won’t be Jewish, and Arthur Harrow won’t be the character I created. So what? If he’s not Jewish because there’s a good artistic reason, he’s not Jewish, that’s perfectly OK. I don’t care.” I think I speak for everyone when I say I want to have dinner with this man.
Moon Knight has gone through several iterations and backstories, as many Marvel characters do, but one heavily influenced backstory is that Marc Spector is Jewish. The issue with the origin of Moon Knight is that his backstory is so convoluted. He has a ton of different names which include Marc Spector, Steven Grant, Jake Lockley, just to name a few. The idea is that he also suffers from an identity crisis and multiple personalities, so one of those identities could be Jewish and the rest might not be. Orignal Moon Knight creator, Dough Moench, claimed that making the character have a Jewish background was an “accident.” However, it wasn’t until the end of the first run of Moon Knight that the character was retooled. Alan Zelenetz took over and solidified Spector’s Jewish upbringing.
Alan Zelenetz had been a principal before turning into a comic book writer. He began with writing for Thor and Conan the Barbarian before he was given the reigns to Moon Knight. Zelenetz also stated that making Moon Knight go deeper into his Jewish upbringing was also an accident and not a “conscious Jewish decision.” However, in the earlier issues of Zelenetz’s version of the character, Spector’s father is dying and now he must return home to confront his former life and his rabbi father. The retooled backstory that Zelenetz created is one that has been altered, or more heavily leaned into based on what each writer of the character has done. However, it does sound as if Zelenetz is completely open to artist interpretation and welcomes it.