If a Marvel movie or TV show doesn’t introduce at least one new superhero, could it really be made by Marvel? Well, luckily that’s not a question we’re going to have to answer this time around. The Moon Knight finale which streamed this Wednesday introduces a new superhero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While yes, it is a hero from the comics, it isn’t one who was particularly well-liked among their colleagues.
SPOILERS to follow for episode 6 of Moon Knight!
So as you know if you’ve seen episode 6 of Moon Knight, you know that by the end Layla (May Calamawy) becomes the MCU’s newest superhero. While she refuses to be an avatar for Khonshu, things get desperate enough that she agrees to be an avatar for the much more pleasant hippo-headed goddess Tawaret (Antonia Salib). This transforms her into the Scarlet Scarab. It’s possible we haven’t seen her full range of abilities yet, but among other things we see her able to deflect bullets with her new set of wings, as well as use them as weapons.
Marvel’s website confirms the Moon Knight character has been transformed into the Scarlet Scarab, and that this makes her the MCU’s first Egyptian superhero. The transformation takes place in an interesting scene that sees Calamawy switching back and forth between Layla’s persona and that of the goddess Tawaret. According to Marvel, originally Tawaret actress Antonia Salib was going to be in the scene — using motion capture — but at the last minute director Mohamed Diab decided it made more sense for Calamawy to perform both as Layla and Tawaret.
Diab didn’t give the Moon Knight actress much warning, though. “Mohamed came to me 30 minutes before we started filming, and was, ‘I actually want you to embody Taweret,'” Calamawy said. Thankfully, it turns out the actress thinks it’s better the director waited until the eleventh hour. “Honestly, it’s better that it happened that way,” she said, “because I think if he had told me days in advance, I would have overprepared.”
Scarlet Scarab is an interesting choice for the Moon Knight character’s heroic persona, though her name provides a clue. Calamawy’s character’s full name is Layla El-Faouly, and her last name isn’t too far from that of Abdul Faoul, the Scarlet Scarab of the source material. The male version of the hero has appeared only briefly in Marvel’s comics and more often than not he’s an antagonist. In his first appearance — 1977’s Invaders #23, set during World War II — the Scarab fights the superhero team of the Invaders when he learns they’re allied with the British. He later turns on the Axis when he learns their true intentions, but refuses to join the Invaders. Years later in 1982’s Thor #326, Scarlet Scarab just can’t stop himself from getting in an ill-advised fight with Thor over a stolen Egyptian statue. Scarlet Scarab hasn’t appeared since that Thor comic except in flashbacks, and in one of those flashbacks — in 2014’s All-New Invaders #4 — he inexplicably appears as part of an Axis group of supervillains.
It is, of course, interesting to note that Moon Knight ends with not one, but two heroes connected to the MCU’s pantheon of gods, and we’re poised to see an epic slaughter of gods in July’s Thor: Love and Thunder. Christian Bale will star in the film as Gorr the God Butcher, a villain obsessed with murdering all the gods of creation. Could it be that Moon Knight and Scarlet Scarab might make a guest appearance?